This story is about...
Female Entrepreneur: Lynn Armstrong
Company: Lynear Thinking Strategy & Communications Consulting Ltd
Industry: Business Consulting
She started her business because: I decided that change was needed in my life
What motivated you to start your business?
In 2005, I decided that change was needed in my life. I had been a corporate planner and writer, working through mergers, convergers, restructures and other forms of corporate change. I had created a compendium of communications including annual reports, business plans, corporate strategy documents, speeches, presentations and facilitated hundreds of strategy sessions with boards, executives and senior managers.
I was the voice behind the conversation. My job was to lead the conversation about the future, managing the trek up the proverbial mountain, and write it down so that others could see it too. During the course of my corporate career, I learned how strategy was created and implemented, how the human spirit can soar or not depending on the air quality at the top of the mountain, and the importance of leadership, culture and organisation. It was invaluable experience.
However, it became clear to me that during the course of this time, my own voice had been lost. I had created a voiceless compendium of corporate communications. So I began to rediscover my own voice, putting place a strategy and a plan with a timeline of one year. I committed to changing my job, my health and even my hair.
I hired an executive coach and dedicated myself to writing every day for the purpose of listening to my own thoughts. I also dedicated myself to committed three defiant acts, and avoiding rooms with no doors.
This process brought me to the conclusion that to follow my own path was the only path for me.
Tell us about your business…
I created the concept of Lynear Thinking in 1996 as a freelance writing business. In 2011, after making the decision to leave my corporate career, I incorporated Lynear Thinking.
Lynear Thinking is dedicated to offering professional management services to small and emerging businesses and social entrepreneurs. Services include strategic planning and strategy development, business communications, performance management, and business management.
What is a day in the life of you like?
My days are really broken into 3 activities: educating the business community and building relationships, marketing, and delivery.
I make it a goal to make contact with 2 – 3 new people a week, either in person, or by way of social networks. In addition, I publish articles on LInkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other sites about Lynear Thinking (www.lynearthinking.blogspot.com).
I spend about 6 hours / day writing and creating experiences that help my clients move forward in their business ventures.
What have been your biggest challenges so far with running your business?
The biggest challenge is education. Small and emerging businesses and social enterprises are not used to having access to professional services that they can afford. Very often, these business owners try to do everything themselves, or they ignore some functions all together (like business plans), or they tend to pay too much for some services because they do not have a clear view of their own strategy and plan. So the largest part of what I must overcome is helping small and emerging and social entrepreneurs understand what they need and that they can indeed have it.
Refining my own message has been a challenge for me, ironically, since this is what I do for a living. As an entrepreneur, this has helped me to stand in the shoes of my clients and empathise with them so that I can help them get out of their own way. I had to learn to get out of my own way as well in order to refine my message about what I do, who I do it for, and what makes it different.
Since my business is about providing professional corporate services at a small business price, overhead and cost management are important. I must ensure that my business model walks the talk of affordability so that I can deliver to my clients and serve that market.
Having access to professional services that I need is a challenge, like all other small business.
Finally, remaining motivated is a challenge sometimes. Especially since I am an extrovert.
How did you overcome these challenges?
Networking and getting involved in the community has given me a natural forum to talk about Lynear Thinking and how I can help. In addition, standing in my client’s shoes as an entrepreneur has helped me to understand their worlds. This in turn has helped me to better communicate the value that I can provide to them.
To overcome the resource capacity challenge, I seek out partnerships and working relationships that add to my business offering. I choose based on the skill set that they offer and their values and philosophy on work quality, customer service and experience excellence. In addition, getting it in writing is a necessity with each client and partner.
In order to maintain motivation, I exercise and eat well. I teach group fitness classes at a local gym. This not only feeds my passion for health, balance and wellness, it also feeds my passion to help others achieve their goals. When I am teaching a class, I am focused on helping them, and that is the best feeling.
I also write and blog regularly about my experiences. I have rules though. I do not whine or complain in my writing. I commit to standing outside of the experience as an observer and explore what it means and what the solutions are. This approach not only clears my mind, it also serves as a communication vehicle that I share with my audiences.
What have you found to be the most effective way to get new clients?
The most effective way to get new clients is through networking, relationship building and by delivering great work. People talk about things that impress them and also things that don’t. My goal is to create experiences that move people to action. When I do that, people talk.
What advice would you give to other business owners?
Get connected with the community and build relationships. Also, commit to being the absolute best in your field every single time and do not settle for less. Work only with people who share the same level of commitment as you do. Finally, surround yourself with positive people, as well as people who will tell you the truth.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
I find ways to regenerate myself and do things that I love to do, such as exercising, having coffee with a friend, or creating something. I love to write creatively, so I have projects on the go all the time. I also love to redecorate and paint, so if I am really down, I might start a new painting project just to get a new outlook and perspective. In my experience, standing still and accepting feeling bad is the worse thing that a person can do.
What’s your favourite quote?
Love always and forever.
Who inspires you?
My daughters inspire me to live authentically. I have always wanted to inspire them to be self-sufficient and independent. In my quest to demonstrate that for them, I have learned more from them than what I may have taught them myself. I am also inspired by the women in my family who were and are pioneers in their own right, leaders, and business women.
Do you have a business philosophy?
To work with purpose, for purpose.
Get in touch…
Twitter Name: @lynearthinking
Facebook Fanpage: www.facebook.com/lynearlynn