Going with the Flow Won’t Always Lead to Success

In an attempt to grow her network and surround herself with successful women Justyna Kedra wasn’t interested in doing things the traditional way. Justyna says, “The goal was to connect female entrepreneurs that have successful businesses globally, but are not on the “Top 100 Influential People on Planet Earth” list… yet!” So she founded We Rule, a digital platform dedicated to connecting entrepreneurs, business opportunities and accredited investors from all around the world. Today, more than 350 members and contributors collaborate to tell the entrepreneur story through the eyes of women entrepreneurs who are on the journey to achieving success.

An interview with Julie Gareleck, CEO & Managing Partner, Junction Creative Solutions (Junction) is featured on the site.  Julie provided her perspective on entrepreneurship, the meaning of success, and empowering women to build scalable businesses.

Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone.  You have to be willing to take big risks without the expectation of rewards and work harder than is often humanly possible,” says Julie Gareleck, Founder and CEO Junction Creative Solutions (Junction).  “It takes blood, sweat, and tears. I was raised by entrepreneurs. I grew up watching my parents work insanely long hours to build a business. While my friends were on Spring Break, I was scrubbing tile floors with a toothbrush in their restaurant. It wasn’t glamorous but it ignited a passion for building something greater than what we started with. As an entrepreneur, you have to be willing to do the things that no one else is willing to do.”

Junction is a hybrid firm, with the intellectual capital of a management consulting firm and the creative execution of an advertising agency. More than eight years ago, Julie set out with the intention to create impact for her clients and has since facilitated more than 225 brands, 100 of which are companies in the Fortune 1000, do just that. Success follows the execution of a clear and meaningful strategy, a plan with clear goals and objectives that allows for flexibility in order to respond to inevitable shifts in the marketplace and course corrections for changing assumptions. “You have to be able to react and adapt to those changes. In 20 years of working with entrepreneurs, I have yet to see one client who was successful “going with the flow”, notes Gareleck. As the marketing landscape changes and consumer expectations evolve, it’s critical to remain ahead of trends.

Success is a journey, not a destination. The pathway is constantly evolving with new and sometimes unforeseen twist and turns; challenging the entrepreneur to alter their route in order to respond to the dynamic environment, using one accomplishment to set the stage for meeting the next objective. “Some would call it perseverance or being tenacious, I would say that I just don’t know how to give up.”

In 2015, Forbes reported that while 30% of small businesses are women-owned, only 2% of women-owned businesses break the $1 Million mark. When asked by We Rule Interviewer, Christina Blackburn: “Why do you think that female owned businesses are a VERY small percentage (that has not been growing) of businesses that get funded by venture capital? What can we do to change that?” Julie responded, “I don’t think it’s a question of how do you increase the percentage of businesses backed by venture capital but how do we empower women entrepreneurs to build a business that is truly scalable. A business has to be investable before we can increase those percentages.”

To read the entire interview: http://we-rule.com/services#/julie-junction-creative-solutions/

Sustainable Growth: Myth, Legend or Luck

“Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning,” said Benjamin Franklin more than 200 years ago. The thought is as true today as it was at the very beginning of our country. Sustainable growth, the realistic growth of a company over time, is often a very challenging feat. Grow too quickly and a company can out-pace its ability to fund the rapid progress. Move too slowly and stagnation can threaten the ongoing viability of an organization in an aggressive and dynamic marketplace where rapidly changing economic and consumer trends prevail.

Discovering a successful formula can be elusive. Such legends of business and industry like; IBM, Apple and HP have their share of lessons learned even though they often occupy the very pinnacle of the successful list. Each share similar moments of flat-out failure and misstep, straying aimlessly from a well formed strategy for growth in order to achieve unrealistic goals of expansion. “Companies that grow for the sake of growth or that expand into areas outside their core business strategy often stumble. On the other hand, companies that build scale for the benefit of their customers and shareholders more often succeed over time.” says Jamie Dimon, President, and CEO of JPMorgan Chase.

The emergence of Facebook, Twitter, and other notable technology companies challenged traditional thought processes associated with launching and growing a business. Their survival and rise to profitability seemed almost mythical. With seemingly little initial attention to any predetermined path to profitability in those beginning years, their existence was predicted to be short lived as monetization of any product or service is the critical element to sustainability in any market.

While there is a benefit to being at the right place with the right product and services at the optimal time, often considered luck, it is often not a valid strategy for sustainable growth. Paying acute attention to the trends in customer expectations and the ever changing competitive environment presents unique challenges to businesses. As we face the possibility of an economic downturn in the next 5 years, it is of critical importance to revisit your growth strategy or develop one.

Strategy isn’t the big idea, but rather a systematic approach on how to meet your goals and objectives. It identifies the important and often overlooked elements necessary to achieve success. Hiring the right people, establishing consistent and efficient processes focused on attainable benchmarks are all essential to achieving successful growth. The right strategic partner can give you the insights and solutions that will help you reach your goals and objective.  An honest, outside perspective can prove beneficial to testing the viability of the strategy. Be wary of those consultants who “tell you what you want to hear” and focus on identifying the partner that will “tell you what you need to hear.”

How do you characterize your business’s approach to sustainable growth; myth, legend or luck?