CEO Insights: 5 Essential Bits of Advice for Every Entrepreneur
Read our latest installment of CEO Insights for SMBs with entrepreneur Y'vonne Ormond, CEO and Founder of 5P Consulting. Hear her inspiring story of building a small business, learn what advice she has for other entrepreneurs, and find out how her business is reaching high growth with Salesforce Essentials. Ormond says Essentials is a platform that fits the needs of small businesses of every shape and size with a cadence that feels like it was made for larger enterprise level organizations.
Y’vonne Ormond is CEO and Founder of 5P Consulting, a business transformation consulting firm that aims to improve business productivity through process and technology. 5P Consulting currently uses Salesforce Essentials as its CRM solution.
We sat down with Y’vonne to hear her inspiring story of building a small business, learn what advice she has for other entrepreneurs, and to find out how her business is reaching high growth with Salesforce Essentials.
Q: How did life lead you to entrepreneurship?
I’ve been in the technology industry for 25 years. I’m a business-facing technologist, which basically means I have a background in finance and business. However, I stumbled into being a software engineer early on in my career. This resulted in a passion for data and solution creativity.After hitting the 20-year mark of working for enterprise-size organizations, I decided I needed a change. I experienced some life-threatening health challenges – all while taking care of my two sons with their own unique needs. A culmination of it all really made me stop and reflect on what I really wanted to do on a daily basis and the people I do it with.
As a mom to two boys (now 15 and 10 years old), I realized I didn’t want to be traveling for the rest of my career. I wanted to be home at dinner at 5 p.m., part of their educational and sports activities. I wanted to be at my eldest son’s rugby game and my youngest son’s classroom field trips. I just wanted to be there for them and appreciate some of the simple, yet finer moments as a mom, like mom carpooling. So, I decided it was time for me to create something bigger than me with a mission that I could stand by each and every day. I wanted to use this as a springboard for creating an environment that would help other parents, like myself, spend time with their families while still making a living doing something they were truly passionate about, too.
As you get older and see life quickly pass by before your eyes, you start to realize just how precious – and fragile – this life really is. That’s why, if I was going to have to spend time at work, I was determined to do it my way. So I became an entrepreneur.
Q: How did you get the idea for your business?
I wanted to start a different kind of consulting firm; specifically, a firm focused on delighting customers and providing an autonomous environment that gives creative freedom to my team. I did not want our drivers to be sales or product utilization; I wanted our drivers to be feelings and action-driven, for example:
- Do you feel good about the work you’re doing?
- Do you feel good about the team you work with?
- Do you feel good about the value you provide in your client solutions?
- Do you feel good about the mission of giving back?
Our team is action- and results-focused with a framework that provides transparency to our clients, so they never have to guess where their project is at or where their money has been spent. We create a culture of partnership with our clients all the way to the point of delivery.
In addition, I wanted the extra revenue that we developed to go to the use of giving back to the community, specifically to people that can’t afford it (non-profits).
I’ve done a variety of non-profit work and have led a handful of non-profit organizations, so I’ve seen how hard it is for non-profits to make an impact. You can’t just drive people on passion. You need some business expertise and funding to help you scale your social mission. I see this as a gap in the non-profit section. At this point in my career, I love helping; 5P Consulting does by providing pro-bono services to one non-profit organization per quarter.
The lives of my children, my brother, and I have all have benefited from these wonderful passion-driven causes and organizations, so I truly enjoy helping these non-profits move forward.
Q: How has technology helped you as a leader – and your organization as a whole?
As a small business owner working with all sizes of clients, our 5P team always looks for technology that isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. That’s why I love Salesforce Essentials, Salesforce’s CRM for small business. It’s a platform that fits the needs of small businesses of every shape and size with a cadence that makes us feel like we run like a larger enterprise level organization.
Salesforce Essentials has been phenomenal for my business. It’s increased our productivity tenfold and has given us a cost-effective way to operate like a larger organization at the scale of a small business.
Our business is unique. We don’t have any sales people on staff. Our sales team is actually called a “design-to-delivery team.” Every person has a business-technical delivery background. This means the people who you meet in the pre-sales environment are the same people who deliver your projects.
No one was trained to do sales. Our challenge was always getting people adjusted to the mindset of growing business. Now, with Salesforce Essentials powering our business, we’ve achieved three amazing things for our business:
- We have a process. Nothing gets lost in email anymore and we can see each relationship the team is nurturing. This allows us to jump in and help each other and bring in some business development cadence.
- We have data. The reports and dashboards features in Salesforce Essentials are wonderful. I can go in and see all our business metrics – financials, opportunities, leads, conversion probability, etc. – all with just a few simple clicks.
- We have transparency. Having this level of visibility across the entire team has been a real game-changer for us. It motivates the team to grow business because everyone can see what’s going on at 5P Consulting at any time. This business-critical information is accessible to everyone.
Q: What’s your essential advice to entrepreneurs who are just starting out?
I’m a second-time entrepreneur. I’ve learned a lot since I started my first business. Here are five things that every entrepreneur just starting out should absolutely know:
- Don’t worry too much about cash flow. You have to invest money and time into your business. You can’t just work based on outcome alone. You’ve got to go with the flow and let the universe work itself out. It will for you – with patience. If you focus only on the numbers and constantly think, “I’m losing money” or “I’m not making enough money,” you will get anxious and stop focusing on your clients’ happiness. Sure, you can have a plan, but be organic with the way you execute that plan. Avoid just thinking about the outcome.
- You’re going to take on debt. Every entrepreneur does. That ’s how you grow in the beginning – and sometimes even for a while. It will balance itself out over time.
- The services industry is unpredictable. You will have periods of time where you don’t close any deals. It can be frustrating – or terrifying – depending on how you look at it. This is why it’s important to have multiple streams of revenue for your business, in addition to the revenue coming from services or products. Take the time to build out an acclaimed revenue strategy for your small business early on.
- When you network, do so with building relationships in mind. Never network with an outcome-based mindset. Ask how you can help someone, not what they can do for you. Be in the moment and have a meaningful conversation. This is what real networking is all about.
- Don’t be scared. When someone fires you or just doesn’t like you in general, for one reason or another – even if that reason is not justified – look at it as just one step along your unique business journey. Take the lessons you’ve learned from those experience and move along. Be open to continuous improvement. Getting there takes a lot of risks, but it’ll be worth it in the end. Just avoid the temptation to let fear get in the way.
What’s the most essential business advice you’ve gotten? Share it on Twitter and tag @SalesforceSMB, or on LinkedIn and tag @Salesforce for Small Business. Doing so will give you a chance to win an Essentials Gift Box. See official rules here.
Want to experience the same level of business transformation and productivity that Y’vonne has had with 5P Consulting? Start your journey with Salesforce Essentials today.
Salesforce can help you find customers, win their business, and keep them happy, so you can grow faster than ever. Learn more about our small business CRM solutions by following us on Twitter at @SalesforceSMB or on LinkedIn at Salesforce for Small Business. Join the conversation today with #SalesforceEssentials.