Monday 6 April 2015

Interview with Stingray Advisory Group LLC Owner and Co-Owner of Gold Leaf Designs LLC Leandra Williams

Leandra Williams is the owner of Stingray Advisory Group LLC and co-owner of Gold Leaf Designs LLC. The companies dynamic solutions allow business to reach the next level of growth by focusing on key areas of developing marketing strategy development, financial review and strategic planning.  

1.Tell us a little bit about yourself and your entrepreneurial journey.

Leandra Williams
I have always had a passion for learning. I obtained my Bachelors degree with a dual major in Business Administration & Computer Technology. After completing that program, I earned my Masters of Business Administration with a Strategic Business Management concentration. I knew that I wanted to have a speciality focus as well so I looked for a program that was of interest to me and could add additional value to my, at that time, current skill set. That led me to completing a Forensic Accounting certification program. While I was in school, I was working in the corporate world in banking and finance. During that time, I experienced the economic turn back in 2008. Nonetheless, I had the opportunity to work in several different areas as I was promoted within the organization. I worked with business clients a relationship manager and was able to learn about different industries, their strengths and the challenges they were facing. As I was completing my forensic accounting program, I was evaluating my career path and my next steps. The corporate world really wasnt the ideal fit for me and the culture was not a match. I knew that I could be doing more with my talents and abilities. After conversations with family and trusted colleagues, I went to the drawing board to figure out if I branched out on my own, what would my company look like, who would it serve and how would we operate. From that, Stingray Advisory Group & Gold Leaf Designs were formed. Though they are unique entities, they have a great synergy based on the clientele each company serves. They have provided me with the ability to bring my interests and passions into the workplace everyday.

2.Lets discuss how you help businesses. Exactly what is Stingray Advisory Group consulting?

Stingray Advisory Group assists people who either have an idea that they are looking to get off the ground or existing companies who want to take their business to the next level. We create dynamic customized solutions for business growth. Our main focus areas are: strategic planning, fraud preventiontraining, marketing concept development & implementation and website creation. Its very rewarding being able to work hand-in-hand with fellow entrepreneurs and business owners and be impactful in the success of their operations.

3.Whats the common misconception business owners have about expanding and increasing their revenue?

One common misconception is that theres only one way to do it-by spending money. Each business is unique. We are able to really learn more about the clients we work with, where theyre at today and what their goals are. The answer might be increasing marketing or it may be to review their current marketing efforts because they are missing their target audience. There may be ways to reduce expenditures, increase revenue or reallocate resources. We love being able to really analysis an organizations position and figure out how to best meet their needs and help them take that next step.

4.What has been your biggest business challenge as a business advisor?

One of our biggest challenges as advisors is separating ourselves from the previous perception of consultants. Unfortunately the term consultantcan have a negative connotation these days, though unfair. We pride ourselves on developing long-term relationships with our clients and being accessible, reliable partners. We are hands-on when it comes to the implementation of the solutions we recommend. Clients can be confident that we will be with them every step of the way. We dont just provide a recommendation without the tools, guidance and support to see it through.

5.Youre the owner of Stingray Advisory Group and co-owner of Gold Leaf Designs. How do you manage all of your personal and business activities?

Time management is crucial for me. I am the type of personal that writes to-do lists, prioritizes tasks, use calendars and reminders, all of those types of things. I like being organized, which is good, because it would be very challenging to keep everything in place otherwise. I think you can always make time for whats important, whether thats completing a business project or spending time with family and friends. I fully believe in a work-life balance.

6.What do you see as the business issues advisors should be addressing over the next one?

All business issues are important however the biggest issue that were working to address with clients is around the importance of fraud prevention and risk management measures. Unfortunately fraud is an area that is a growing concern however it tends to be something small businesses in particular are reactive to versus proactive. When fraud takes place in a small business, it is typically under-reported and can be detrimental to their operations. We are working to increase awareness of this issue with our clients and help them take necessary steps to identify the potential risks and mitigate them as best possible.

7.What would you like to tell professionals trying to build their business?

To determine where their strengths and interests lie up front. As entrepreneurs, we can easily take too much on our plates and try to manage everything. Its just not realistic or healthy to try and operate efficiently that way long-term. I can certainly understand financially hindrances initially. Being strategic in your focus and understanding what you can realistically do based on not only your abilities but passion, will help highlight what needs to be delegated or outsourced. Utilizing resources and assistance when needed can really help set your business up for long-term success.

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