Entrepreneur Spotlight: Brandi C. Shelton-12/3/2014-Yura Bryant

Entrepreneur Spotlight: Brandi C. Shelton

At Entrepreneurial Ambitions, my focus is to not only educate my readers about the real world of entrepreneurship but also recognize those individuals deep in the trenches of entrepreneurship. This recognition will be called Entrepreneur Spotlight, where we spotlight entrepreneurs excelling in the world of entrepreneurship. Starting off our very first spotlight recognition will be Brandi C. Shelton of Utilize Consulting Service and Management Group (UCSMG), located in Southfield, Michigan. But before I go any further in detailing who is Brandi C. Shelton and what is UCSMG; I will let her have the honor of doing so.

Q. Who is Brandi Shelton?

A. Hard Question to answer. But in retrospect, I am a person in love with business. Brandi is a person that eats, sleeps and breathes business. So much so that my own children conduct business. My children conduct business from negotiations; to understanding client/needs and even defining what support looks like even when doing homework. All my friends and family know that business is very important to me. My children see this importance every day, with every call and lost night of sleep. Brandi C. is business!

Q. What made you pursue entrepreneurship?

A. I believe I was selected. Lol, funny because I never really thought of working for myself. But I have always had a passion for fixing things. I still get jokes saying I am the Olivia Pope of business.

I just really love when things are in Devine order (a quote from Frankie Darcell). Devine order when working for yourself, is the ability of understanding the mission of what you need versus what you want. Being the boss still has the ability to stop you from doing what is right. How? Easy, you call the shots. But do you follow them. Entrepreneurship is a passionate gift of devotion to business not for money but for purpose.

Q. What is UCSMG?

A. UCSMG is an organization the looks to create structure while educating the CEO. Not with regular information, but with the ability to see when things are going right and/or wrong. CEO’s always see money first. But what about those unknown items or queues of when success is at the door and you are not ready. Why not? What is stopping you? How do you go with no gas? Lol. Well call us, we will show you the difference.

Focusing on the elements of what growth may look like and giving you the tools to assist in the growth process is just the start. Recognizing when to open those gifts and start the process is the other. A business can take over you. But if you know peaks and valleys before they come then you will be better prepared. UCSMG is the tool that works with the CEO in all business operational components that directly/indirectly affect the organization.

Q. How was the transition from party/promotion entertainment, to more traditional businesses?

A. The transition was easy because we still focused on business. The need of the consumer, the demand of the result of that need and much more. The only thing that changed was the way we met the need. Instead of a party it’s now in clear line deliverables and meetings/sessions, educating professionals and working with their team to execute the final result.

Q. How does UCSMG differ from other consulting businesses?

A. The difference is that we don’t take every client. We focus on one type of client at a time. Exclusivity is what is offered to set the tone that we care about the clients’ vision. So we don’t have 10 of this 5 of that. We have only 1 type of that client’s business type. In addition, we can support a client in multiple ventures with a price tag that doesn’t give you a stroke every time you receive an invoice.

Q. What does your target client look like?

A. A target client for me is one that has at least 70% of the vision and is ready to apply it. With a willingness to accept criticism, make changes, apply changes and create sustainable plans for growth. Industries are both service and product based. Our current client base is Education, Art, Production, Child based organization, Low Profit, Human Resources, Adult daycare, Children foster home and Fashion.

Q. How do you help people find the most effective marketing approach that will assist their business in being recognized?

A. First getting them to understand the industry, timing, marketing requirements, graphic layout for the industry and understanding what they need to offer versus want to offer.

After those elements are set we work on targets, timelines and execution of plan. Then watch week to week then month to month. Making adjustments when needed to ensure coverage.

Q. What common issues do businesses have when it comes to branding?

A. Understanding what branding is.. Why it’s important and how it affects you and the organization.

Branding is no longer the look it’s the message with the look. Looks change but what you stand for is the primary focus and goal when you are Branding….

Q. How do you manage your own brand?

A. Focusing on the messaging daily. I work directly to provide services and then I turn to my team to cover the whole process. It’s a general request to finish what I started. Just like in sports, you need a team to control the outcome. Without the team there is nothing. But even a team has responsibilities. So each one of us is responsible for something and we ensure those duties are held up and if we are unsure we regroup and start over.

Daily Group Me conversations, everyone has access to the email accounts, weekly conference calls and bi-weekly in person meetings. But I am always just a call away….my team knows if they text me even at 5 in the morning, I am up and ready to help. I awake to do business.

Q. What challenges do you face as a provider of consulting services, if any?

A. My only challenge is the belief of, “why should I invest this money in your services?” “Yes, I know I don’t know the answer, but I can research it.” You can do the research but not always understand the information collected. So the business owner spends time (wasting time) trying to figure out something we already know.

Q. What brings you the most satisfaction as being a provider of consulting services?

A. The smile when the work is done and the project is progressively moving. Exciting every time. The other is when the client gets their first check. Priceless.

Q. What does the future hold for UCSMG/ Brandi C. Shelton?

A. We have Split the company in 3. We sold a portion of the company to 2 other businesses but we still own a majority stake. We did this so that Utilize is stronger as a brand. The other companies are our sisters and are direct links to the industries they support. The other owners are dedicated to ensuring the businesses grow.

Q. Is there any advice you would like to give to those wanting to become entrepreneurs or even those who are already entrepreneurs?

A. Advice, hmm. Simple, believe in not just what you do but why you do. There are others that will always try to take that belief away. But at the end of the day you have to look at yourself. So if you don’t believe in it, it’s pointless. Your mission, goal and purpose is your real dream. No matter what that dream needs you. So listen, learn, think, grow, focus and develop.

You can contact Brandi Shelton at the following:
Website- http://www.ucsmg.com/
Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/UCSMGrp
Twitter- https://twitter.com/ucsmg
Google+- https://plus.google.com/100169334872405012928/posts
Linkedin- https://www.linkedin.com/pub/brandic-248-795-5375-shelton/19/523/a75
Instagram- http://instagram.com/ucsmg

A Special Message from Val Pak for the Small Business

8 Ultimate Motivation Tips for Small Businesses

make the impossible possible with motivation

Even the best of us can get a little run down from time to time. You’ve been working hard to meet the needs of customers in your community day in and day out. It’s no wonder you’re tired! During times like these, sometimes it can be a challenge to find that energy or motivation for business, whether you are a local business owner or an employee.

With the holiday season fast approaching, it’s important to kick your small business into high gear to rope in those precious holiday sales. So if you are feeling the motivation slump, never fear, we’ve searched high and low to bring you the best motivation tips to help you out during the busy season. Whether it’s the holiday rush or not, the next time you feel a little run down, try one of these tips.

 1.      Revisit the ‘why’ behind your company

To help you break out of the daily “just get through the to-do list” mindset, take a minute to think about the why behind your business. Why did you start your company? Reflecting on this question can help reignite the passion you had at the beginning of your business endeavor, and that is a powerful motivator. This exercise might also help you re-align your goals for future success!

2.      Picture the future

Did you know that the process of planning a vacation lifts your mood just as much as the vacation itself? Apply that philosophy to your business. Plan ahead for the next few months, especially since we’re approaching the new year. Looking ahead for the year to come and all the good things it presents can motivate you to work hard now in preparation.

3.      Seek feedback from customers

Spend a little more time with your customers. Find out what they want and need as well as what they like about your business, products and services. Hearing their positive feedback or ideas for growth can boost your work motivation. Bonus: you’ll gain valuable customer insight for future campaigns and business decisions.

4.      Share with employees

As a small business owner, you may feel burdened with all of the knowledge and insight you have into your business. Let go of some of that burden by sharing the ups and downs of the business with your employees, when appropriate. You’ll feel more engaged with your business support system and your employees will feel more included and motivated. It’s a win-win.

5.      Set up a company contest

Nothing motivates like some good old-fashioned competition, so organize a contest for you and your employees during the holiday season. Pick an objective or a goal for you and your employees to work towards and a time frame. Then, select appropriate prizes to reward the winners.

6.      Break your routine

Your motivation might be hiding just beyond your normal routine, so break it! This could mean adding an exercise regimen, changing up your route to work, or re-decorating your office. Think big or small to shake up your routine today.

7.      Take a little time off

Nothing helps you re-align yourself and find your motivation like a little time away. Schedule a long weekend or a full vacation to relax and recharge. Even a half-day could do the trick. The same goes for your employees. Consider giving them a surprise afternoon off or an extra vacation day during the holidays.

8.      Throw a holiday party

Finally, stimulate motivation with a little company bonding during a party. Celebrate this season or any holiday together for some down time to get to know each other. Have fun!

What is the best motivational tip you’ve ever heard?

– See more at: http://www.valpak.com/advertise/how-to-stay-motivated-for-your-business/#sthash.x7OFH5ZZ.dpuf

Hello world!

Party Planner and Event Promoter Becomes Powerhouse Business Consultant

Brandi Shelton Small business owners have a lot to learn, a lot of things to get up and running and a lot of responsibilities. Having a person to help guide them through the minefield of entrepreneurship is a great benefit. Brandi Shelton is just such a consultant. Shelton is the owner of Utilize Consulting Service and Management Group (UCSMG), which specializes in business management and career coaching. Shelton started UCSMG in 2002. Prior to that she worked as a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agent. Shelton discovered that she was pregnant which caused her some physical issues that caused her to have to change to an office position in the Human Resources department for the TSA. The TSA has a very structured and regimented operation system and Shelton discovered that the new position wasn’t going to work for her. “You can’t be creative with the TSA. I need to be able to use my brain. Since this was shortly after 9-11, it was a very strict environment.” Shelton’s then boyfriend was starting an event management business and Shelton helped him with the organization of it. “I dealt with the contracts, the venues, the vendors… Whatever it was, I handled it.” Gif of kerry Washing to as Olivia Pope from the popular TV show "Scandal".  From AwesomelyLuvie.com Eventually, Shelton ventured out with her own business. She expanded her offerings to include business management, resume writing, staffing, branding, coaching and myriad of other service. The transition did not come without some small difficulties. “I’m a very laid back person so people didn’t take me seriously at first. People thought this was a hobby for me but that is because I love and enjoy what I do. It took me actually moving my business out of my home and into an office building for people to see that I was a serious business person and that, yes, I am charging money for what I do”. Shelton also threw a launch party signifying the official start of her brand. The video of the event can be seen on the UCSMG YouTube channel. Shelton invested about $8000 into the event. “I sent out 250 invitations and 175 guests showed up! I ended up getting three clients back-to-back as a result of the party.” Photo: Created by Sharon Moore Since Shelton started working out of the home, she knows the benefits of being an entrepreneur. “It is necessary. It allows you to grow. When you work for a company for 40 years, you lose yourself. You work all your life and retire, then what?” Shelton also says everyone has a gift. A person should be able to do what they love and get paid for it. Now, Shelton’s business has grown so much that she has split off two segments of her business. Create Life Events, (the event management business), and Staffing 4 U, (the human resource service), will be separate from the business services of UCSMG and will officially launch in January of 2015. Her ultimate goal is to grow her business(es) bigger. “I really want to get to the point where I can have a team of 25 people and pay them all $40-50 thousand a year. We’re growing and we’ll get there. I have a great team so far.” Shelton prides herself in being a benefit to people. She works to give clients the information that they need to succeed. Shelton advises business owners “Take a look at yourself. You have to be able to take constructive and professional criticism. Don’t assume that you have everything in order and that you can’t learn something new. Don’t get stuck. Do something. There is a lot of information out there to learn from. If I can give you the information you NEED, I am going to do that. If I don’t know it, I will pull out a book or a podcast and figure it out.” For more about Brandi Shelton and Utilize Consulting Service Management Group, follow their posts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Google+. You can also use the hashtag #1start1move1triumph