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21925 Garrison
Dearborn, MI 48124

Nicole Lemieux-Rever

Who was your first customer and where did you find them?
Our first customer was the city of Dearborn Fire Department. Fire Chief Jack MacArthur and I had worked together when we were both employed with the city of Dearborn. After I left the City, he asked me to guise a strategic development retreat for 25 firefighters.

Where did you find your first employee?
Steve and I had also worked together at the City of Dearborn together and when he retired he came on board.

Have you promoted an intern to employee status, and if so how many times have you done it?
I am in conversation with the Organizational Development Exchange to explore bringing an intern or two onboard. I look forward to growing enough to have the opportunity to bring on interns and transition them to employee status. Stay tuned.

Where have you turned to find capital to grow your company and which institutions have provided it?
As a consulting firm we have very low overhead and we work to keep it that way. We did utilize a small business loan through Comerica Bank. Otherwise we have been self-financed.

What advice would you give to someone who was thinking about opening a business here?
There is a big difference between doing what you love and running a small business. The E-Myth is a great resource for determining if you are a practitioner or business owner or both.

A) Are you coach-able? I think this is the single vital behavior that will determine your long term viability. For many entrepreneurs, myself included, checking my greatest strength (arrogance coupled with single minded determination and I can go it alone mindset) was pivotal for our growth and sustainability. Ironic considering I am in the organizational development business, huh?

B) Have you identified your business model? Learn about business models before spending vast amounts of time on a business plan. Business plans are great for goals setting and for seeking funding. I have learned that you can have an awesome business plan aligned with the wrong business model. No fun.

C) Most businesses fail due to being under-re sourced, not just financially, but personal skills and abilities coupled with lack of a proper social structure makes for frustration, isolation and pain.

D) We created our own incubator space. Think about mutual support opportunities.

If you could change one thing about this region, what would it be?
I think we are on the right track and are focusing on the right things. While corporate health is important to our region, I think small business support is key. If there were one area I would like to see grow, it would be small business supporting small business. When we moved into our current office space, we wanted to create a space that felt warm and inviting. Paint would help accomplish this. Mary of Campbell's paint spent hours with us and even visited our space to help us with color selection and blocking. Did I mention she did not charge of for this? She wanted to support us and we supported her by buying paint from Campbell's instead of a large home improvement store. We have so many opportunities to support each other. This is a mindset and practice.

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