Continuing in our tradition of profiling women business leaders, today marks the start of an interview series featuring female leaders who actively participate in the Women Grow Business community online and off. If you’re an active community member who would like to be featured, check the Women Grow Business group for the link to the interview questions.
Today’s featured business leader is Tara Rethore, who consistently contributes articles to the blog, and is one of most popular guest experts in the Women Grow Business Twitter chats that we hold every second Monday of the month.
As CEO of M. Beacon Enterprises, Tara works with mid-sized businesses to develop strategic priorities at multiple levels and solve complex problems. You can contact her directly on Twitter or LinkedIn.
More About Tara and her business
Established in 2001, M Beacon Enterprises is a boutique management consultancy.
They work with mid-sized organizations and their leaders to define and execute their strategies better. Typically, that means ensuring the right decisions and actions are taken to take those businesses where they want to go, or get over a hump. They work collaboratively rather than “writing reports that sit on the shelf.”
When asked what separates them from the pack, Tara responded: “We’re creating real strategies that people can actually do, while knowing why they are doing these things, and what’s the end game. In short, we take strategy off the page and into action – Strategy For Real.”
Part One of Our Interview with Tara Rethore
Tara was the first of the 33 regular contributors in the community to answer our call, as usual. Here’s what she had to say.
Why did you become a small business owner?
Initially, out of necessity: pay the bills.
Later, I took my own advice and created a more deliberate strategic business offering. I love to build things from scratch and do new things, often. Solving problems – helping others to articulate their objectives and then, to achieve them – that floats my boat.
And, I don’t think a single approach fits everyone.
As a small business owner, I have impact and I get flexibility. The impact is for my clients; the flexibility lets me solve problems in a way that best suits the situation. Flexibility also lets me do the other things that are important to me, without any loss of impact or value for my clients.
What’s the most critical step you took in order to grow your business?
Shifting from ‘pay the bills’ to a more deliberate, strategic approach. Articulating what I do, defining those things carefully, and knowing what value I offer, also guides the choices I make. I know equally well what I do and what I don’t do.
An objective of ‘paying the bills’ – while still important – caused me to take on projects or assignments that did not always suit my capabilities – or fuel my passion. It’s also hard for folks to help me via referrals if they can’t really describe what I do. “Solving problems” is great; everyone has problems, right? But it’s also not helpful – what kinds of problems? What does that look like? I had to be clear and discriminating in that.
Share what you’ve learned from your biggest success in business.
I’m hopeful that my biggest success is yet to come! To date, I’ve learned to make room for opportunities. I have a strategy and I pursue it in a focused way.
But, I also look for things that create options for the future.
That’s part of how I manage uncertainty; I can’t know what will be, but I can be open to the possibilities. One part of me is always scanning the horizon. But, I’ve also learned that focus means reflecting on the ‘possible’ with specific strategic criteria in mind.
- In what way does this opportunity help me to achieve my objectives?
- What new options might it create for later?
- How much time and energy am I willing to invest to determine if it’s the right fit or will bear fruit?
- The most important way Tara uses technology in her business
- What her biggest business failure was and how she recovered
- Tara’s critical tip that could help you become more successful, faster
- How Tara’s use of social media positively impacts her business