Meet Deborah Flate, owner of Dialogue Consulting and Featured Business Owner at SCORE Chicago this week. Learn how she started and what tips she has for your success.
What is your company’s elevator pitch?
Our client-focused sales training programs help interior design manufacturers and showrooms get the steady pipeline of clients they need to grow and be profitable. “We bring that boost of adrenaline to your company, helping you achieve the pinnacle of success in the design market.”
What inspired you to start your business?
After working in almost all aspects of my industry and spending 18 years in high-end design showrooms, I realized I had a ability to analyze and figure out the shortest and best route for businesses to achieve success and high profitability. I wanted to share that with a bigger audience and help as many companies as I could that were open to new ways of thinking to grow their business.
Who are your clients and give an example of how you served that person or business?
We serve furniture manufacturers, design showrooms, sales executives and salespeople in the commercial interior design industry. We offer email sales courses, in person workshops and personal coaching to these organizations and individuals. I also give motivational speeches at sales meetings and trade shows for these audiences.
For example, we worked with several regions of a major furniture manufacturer to retrain its sales people to the new ways and processes for selling in an internet world.
What is your biggest business challenge?
Like most solo-prenuers, balancing client work and regular sales/marketing activities along with other every day things one is faced with can be very challenging. I also find being disciplined and focused are an additional challenge. Sorting out what’s important can be tough. There are great resources out there that can help you for very low or no cost ways to keep you on track. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, as business owners can often feel, but finding those resources can help level off that feeling quickly.
Who is your Mentor and how they have helped you in your business?
Peg Corwin is my mentor. I was incredibly lucky to be referred to Peg by another SCORE counselor who was very helpful with a friend’s business. My first meeting with Peg was SO dynamic that it truly revised my course for my business. It was a match made in heaven. Peg has helped me with all my challenges such as social media, and business planning. Her kind prompting has been amazing in keeping me on track and focused on the right things for growing my business and taking it to the next level. And to put the cherry on top, she encourages me even when I feel defeated! I’d be in a very different place in my business if it weren’t for Peg.
What advice would you give other entrepreneurs?
I started my business in 2001. Economically it was a very different market. Today businesses are more cautious with their resourses. What I learned in the 2009 downturn was to make sure I set myself apart from other training and marketing companies. To find a niche large enough to fulfill your business goals, then find out what the marketplace needs and fill that need. The biggest lesson I have learned is what YOU think is important and what your potential customer thinks is important may be two different things. Find out what’s important to them.
What is your website for further info?
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Disclaimer: SCORE Chicago helps small business owners manage and grow their businesses. We help startups write business plans and launch. Nevertheless, our involvement should not be considered as an endorsement.