Today on The Chic Perspectives Show I had on Established Entrepreneurs Lisa Owen, President & Benefit Specialist, CORE Benefit Solutions, LLC www.corebenefitsga.com and Gina Ragsdale, Founder/President/Southern DemolitionÂ www.southerndemo.com. Both experts in their field, Lisa and Gina shared their stories about starting and building success entrepreneurial enterprises.
Lisa Owen is the founding partner and President of CORE Benefit Solutions, a benefits brokerage firm specializing in health benefits planning and marketing for corporations and individuals. Â Lisa has 15+ years of experience in the employee benefits arena for both corporations and individuals.Â Her business knowledge and industry expertise, paired with innovative ideas and commitment to client satisfaction, have earned notable credibility in the industry.
Lisa talked about how she started down this path in college with a degree in a related field (risk management) and a college internship in a related field which evolved into a part-time position while in college.
She highly recommends college student get real world experience as early as possible in their fieldÂ to help them apply context to college assignments and also evaluate if the potential profession is a good fit.
As a Benefits Specialist and broker for corporations and individuals, Lisaâ€™s company helps corporations of all sizes establish or re-vamp the benefits package (encompassing medical, dental, disability, and workers comp) they offer employees and also serve as an employerâ€™s HR administrative arm as needed.
In addition, CORE Benefits works with individuals who may be self-employed, college students, or out of work looking for individual health benefits options outside the traditional group plan.Â They provide clients guidance and market alternatives for benefits plans and make sure that they have the most cost competitive health benefits package available.
The company can serve anyone who needs assistance with health benefits.Â Typical clients are mid-size market employers (2-500 employees).
Lisa shared some of the key differentiators that have helped her company stand out –
1. The Importance of Maintaining Ongoing Client Relations
- Her philosophy is that the client should feel that they are your only client in terms of the service and time that you give them.Â Educate yourself on the client and remind yourself of their situation each time before you meet with them.Â As your client base builds, do not take this personal touch for granted.
- Make a point to contact clients you have not been in touch with through the year to check in and make sure everything is okay
- To the extent possible, treat all clients equally, regardless of size.
2. Build strategic partnerships and alliances
- Strategic partners are one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies available
- Strategic partners also provide a good sounding board when you need to devise creative solutions for a client or for your business
- Network, network, network!Â Make sure you have a team within your company or alliances with other firms that can assist you with business development.
3. Structure your business so that it can adapt to change
- This is probably the most important point for an entrepreneur in this line of business to be able to do right now with the new health care reform law.
- Shortly after passage of the new health care reform law, we began discussing how we will adapt to changes and diversify ourselves so that we can survive the upcoming changes.
- Think positively about change and what you will learn both professionally and personally from it.
Checkout CORE Benefits @ www.corebenefitsga.com
and also become a friend on @ Facebook
and link up with Lisa @ Lisa Owen
My next guest was Gina Ragsdale, Founder/President/Southern Demolition and Environmental www.southerndemo.com
Gina is a native of Sandy Springs, and graduated from Terry College of Business at University of Georgia with a Risk Management Degree. She cited the strong emotional family support from her parents, Gene and Beadie Cambardella, who always encouraged her to â€œdo something I likeâ€.
Her husband was also supportive in pursuing a demolition and environmental services company. Now a working mother of one, Gina juggles the demands of existing demolition projects, growing complimentary lines of business, and a full family life like a pro.
Gina talked about how it all started with a request from a neighbor to tear down a house. She quickly realized that the determination of asbestos and proper removal was as equally important environmentally as the disposal of the debris. She became an asbestos inspector in 2007 and then became a licensed asbestos abatement contractor in the state of Georgia.
Sheâ€™s now estimating demolition projects, inspecting and supervising the removal of asbestos, applying for permits, coordinating the installation of erosion controls, advising the client of permitting and site plan requirements, and deconstructing re-usable building products.
Her company is focused on the diversion of materials from the landfill â€“ everything from usable light fixtures to hardwood floorings to bricks to mantles to cabinets to appliances.
Gina recently started a retail outlet for architectural elements and bricks. The company is called â€œThe Deconstructed Houseâ€ www.thedeconstructedhouse.com and is her new â€œbabyâ€.
She talked about the treasures she finds deconstructing wood and other salvageable items from houses and structures.
Gina gave great advice when it comes to doing demolition work – First itâ€™s important it is to hire licensed, insured contractors. If the quote is too good to be true, it probably is – so make sure to ask for references.
Also ask for detailed quotes. Make sure that you as the owner is compliant not only with local permitting requirement but state requirements as well. Just because you have a permit doesnâ€Ÿt mean all Environmental regulations are being met.
Gina talked about how important it is to encourage legislators to mandate reuse of materials. Nationally, the US manufactures and disposes of approx. 11 million tons of asphalt shingles, which is approx. 8% of the total building-related waste stream. Mandating use of recycled shingles in road paving applications could ultimately significantly reduce the negative environmental impact associated with the extraction, transportation and processing of virgin materials.
You can find more about about Ginaâ€™s businesses:
Southern Demolition and Environmental at www.southerndemo.com
The Deconstructed House is www.thedeconstructedhouse.com
Thank you to my fabulous guests and to our wonderful listeners.
Until next time wishing you all Chic Success,