Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal and business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Lisa Mininni, President of Excellerate Associates, located in Livonia, MI, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

For over 20 years, Excellerate Associates has shown businesses how to scale and create Cultures of Distinction through its proprietary system. Our ideal clients are leaders who are life-long learners, make a significant contribution through their products and services, and generate revenues of $500k to $200M.

Tell us about yourself

One cold December day, I was driving down the freeway wondering if starting a business and writing a book)I made the "right" decision. Just several months earlier, I had completed 18 years in the Corporate world, dismantling a division where I worked as an Executive. I was thinking back about what a successful corporate career I had as an executive navigating significant organizational change through mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, and closures. While a corporate career was familiar, starting a business was an entirely different challenge.

At that moment, I saw something pop up from the freeway, and I instinctively crossed my hands over my face and heard a big whooshing sound and dinging going around in my front seat. I placed my hands on the steering wheel to see a shattered windshield, a softball-sized hole in the windshield, and a 4 ft 5 lb semi-truck tire iron in the front seat of my car. I navigated to the side of the road and called the police. While waiting for them to arrive, I got out of the car to inspect the damage. There was a 6-inch gash in the steel hood of my car that changed the trajectory of the tire iron, missing me by 4 inches.

When each one of the three police officers came on the scene that day, they said, lady, you're on this earth for a reason. Just moments before, I had been asking if starting a business (and writing a book) was the right decision. I got the answer from three officers who said I must be on this earth for a reason.

I wrote the book, Me, Myself, and Why? The Secrets to Navigating Change, which became a best seller. To expand our Contribution to the World, in 2017, I renovated a building that became the Business Innovation Lab CoWorking & Conference Center. The center is also the Excellerate Associates headquarters, expands our hybrid learning for leaders, is a meeting place for our mentoring groups, and is a hub for company retreats, training, and meetings.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is showing thousands of business owners all over the world a proven system to scale their businesses in alignment with their Contributions to the World. When they get connected to the contribution their company is in the world, align their teams, and implement systems, they become unstoppable.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

One of the most challenging things about being a business owner is brand recognition. There is a lot that goes into developing a brand that becomes known as a trusted resource. And it has been the biggest challenge.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

The top 3 tips I'd give anyone looking to start, run, and grow a business are:

  1. Be a life-long learner. The biggest investment should be in your and your team's continuous development. Once you think it gets changed, it opens up new possibilities: Every. Single. Time.
  2. It almost always takes longer than you think. As with many entrepreneurs, a high sense of urgency is a blessing and a curse. Successful entrepreneurs learn the art of goal setting and estimating the time it takes to get things done with and through others.
  3. Understand how people and business systems work together. Building a team and systems gives any business owner more freedom when done well. Understanding your (and your team member's) human wiring is key to aligning and maximizing their strengths. When you understand the environment in which someone best thrives, you can create high-performance teams. When you also create business systems, you give your company the foundation and leverage it needs to scale.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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