The Pop Quiz, Monday is a fun little exam that we love to give to savvy business owners. The examination is not a surprise after all since the interviewee already knew about the questions in advance. However, we can always pretend and have fun with the scenario of a young entrepreneur sitting in class nervously biting on their pencil. They are ready to take a pop quiz on a chapter that they were supposed to read the night before. Instead, they played Metroid all night on their SNES (Oops, this was me in high school). The real purpose of the pop quiz is that this is a fun way to introduce business tips from real-world experiences that you cannot learn in a classroom. We want to thank our entrepreneur for being a good sport and volunteering their time to answer a few questions to help our community grow from their knowledge.
I want to introduce you to our guest today who will be taking our Pop Quiz Monday.
1. Can you please tell everyone your name?
L. Tia Blount
2. Tell us about your business and what you do?
I’ve worked with numerous for-profit and non-profit organizations, that are passionate about their vision, but I observed common problems that are often-times overlooked. There are three distinct challenges I’ve witnessed throughout my professional career that has helped shape the concept for my business and the solutions we offer.
1) We can’t see the forest for the trees. Organizations hire amazingly talented people to focus on every detail of a particular program, project or product. With so much time spent “in the weeds,” they sometimes lose sight of the big picture. The result: launching programs and initiatives with little to no real impact; experiencing flat or declining sales, and watching dwindling levels of customer engagement. Saving Solutions helps businesses get laser-focused on their “why” and we build strategies, processes, and tools designed to support them in ensuring that all of their efforts are in line with their “why.”
SOLUTIONS: Strategic planning, integrated marketing, and communications, process improvements, project review and consulting, etc.
2) It’s too expensive to effectively tell our story. We believe resources shouldn’t be a significant barrier to individuals and organizations telling their stories in meaningful ways. Saving Solutions helps businesses segment their audiences; develop messages and stories that resonate with target audiences; and ensure that those messages reach desired audiences.
SOLUTIONS: Stakeholder analyses, copywriting (website content, social media, blogs, ad copy, brochures, press releases, etc.), message development and training, etc.
3) We know what our brand is…we think. Many organizations can tell you who they are and what they do. Where it gets fuzzy is when you ask them, “why should people care?” Branding helps organizations get to the core of that response. And that response often leads to increased funding and even greater impact. Strong branding is both internal and external facing, dictating how a company behaves in relation to its staff, customers and other key stakeholder groups. Saving Solutions helps businesses create and/or refine their brand(s), appropriately position their brand(s) in the market, and support organizations in transforming their corporate culture in the process.
SOLUTIONS: Branding, rebranding, brand enhancement, brand positioning, brand ambassador program development, and brand ambassador training.
3. Why did you want to become an entrepreneur?
I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit; however, I lacked the confidence to be an entrepreneur. My path to developing that confidence was far from straight and narrow. Hell, it was filled with potholes, transformational leadership programs, detours, executive and life coaches, and a host of “zen master Jedi mind tricks” that I swear helped me push, stretch and lean into the discomfort. Then, when the student was ready, the challenge appeared.
“You’re going to make a great CEO one day.”
Those were the words uttered by my last boss when I was negotiating a retention bonus, new job title and finite scope of work leading up to a corporate merger. My job, and that of many others would be lost due to the merger. Instead of sulking and scrambling to line up my next gig, I used this pivotal point in my career to plan my exit strategy. I took a fledgling consultancy established in 2012, and that only saw clients on an ad-hoc basis and turned it into a fully operational boutique firm. It wasn’t easy but, I finally took the leap of faith, and I’ve been enjoying the feeling of the air beneath my wings ever since.
4. What are the challenging aspects of running a business?
Running a business has been one of the most significant challenges in my life. Each day brings a new problem and a diverse set of responsibilities. Yesterday I was doing business development and writing a proposal. Today I’m working on building a Customer Relationship Management platform while simultaneously managing a client’s brand on social media. Tomorrow I’ll be scouting talent for a new project that starts in about a month. When resources permit, I outsource various aspects of my operations (i.e., bookkeeping, business development research, etc.) so it frees up my time to focus on what I’m great at. Believe it or not, I finally bit the bullet and outsourced my social media, because it suffered as I was building online and social media campaigns for my clients. Lesson learned. Course corrected.
5. What do you love most about your job?
I love that I can be as creative and think as big as my imagination will allow. I LOVE helping clients do the same. Thinking outside the box has helped me connect clients with non-traditional partners and has led to some pretty cool solutions to business and marketing challenges such as innovative storytelling on a dime.
6. How do you have fun at work (team building, pranks, etc.)?
I work from just about anywhere I want, and I use those locations as opportunities for inspiration and networking. Not being tied to a desk is exciting for me and it keeps my creative juices flowing. I also have fun engaging with my clients and partners through team-building exercises and off-site meetings.
7. What would be one piece of advice that you’d give to a new business owner?
Go for it. Take calculated risks. Be dogged in your approach. Fail fast but, fail forward. Learn, grow and partner when you don’t have the expertise. Don’t look back unless you’re using it as an opportunity to document lessons learned and make course corrections. Look forward and keep grinding.
Thank you for taking our pop quiz today. You get an A+ for effort. You can learn more about our interviewee and their business by visiting them on the web: