Creating a personal brand takes patience and perseverance, especially when transforming an identity from a top corporate executive to an owner of a strategic business consulting company, as Elizabeth Duncan-Hawker can testify to.
Today she is the successful owner of Red Hawk Strategic Solutions. But when Elizabeth was just beginning, it was a job in retail sales at age 16 that started her career. She worked her way through college at Old Dominion University, at the same time becoming one of the top commissioned salespeople at the retail organization.
This developed into a corporate career that resulted in a love for growing new programs and rolling out needed items into marketplaces. Once her kids were in college, Elizabeth continued that love for “thinking bigger” and “pushing the bruise” as a business owner, working with other entrepreneurs and sales managers to get them to growth mode. Her passion to help others grow clients by mapping out a plan is what led her to start the Red Hawk Strategic Solutions in December 2015.
Success didn’t come quickly. It took phone calls, coffees, lunches, networking, social media blitzes, speaking engagements, founding a women’s forum, listening to the community, offering to jump in when there was a need, and tapping into decades of contacts and vendors, to get where she is today: leading a successful business that provides Strategic Growth Consulting and training for organizations who need to breathe life into their business plan and salespeople.
“We meet with clients and provide a custom strategy that grows their products or services,” Duncan-Hawker said. “A free consultation starts the process to see if this is a strong fit. Sometimes an owner is close to hitting their marketplace for growth and just needs fine-tuning and that’s when it is fun to see them guided back on track. Other times, a refocus of the service or product line is needed to better meet the market they are trying to reach. Sometimes, their employee engagement or retention is what is holding them back from gaining growth. We can do a discovery on what barriers are in the way. Strategies and tactics drive the ability to gain more clients. We love to help businesses gain and retain more clients as well as increase referrals.”
One of those was a local fitness business with three locations. The owner realized he needed to expand his offerings to create another revenue stream. Together with Elizabeth Duncan-Hawker, they established a strategic plan to create a Medical Nutrition Therapy business within his primary business. He had great results, with the strategic business model continuing to exceed revenue projections by 40% for the past two years.
“I’ve come to realize that people need more help than they are aware of and don’t always know where to turn in business. Think of it this way. When you learned to swim you needed a coach, who helped you nail it correctly in a short period of time to become confident and skilled. Owning a business is no different. Hiring a talented strategist growth person to lead you through the waters can save you time and frustration plus you won’t look silly doggie-paddling when you should be gliding through the pool.”
Her future plan is to expand training offerings to businesses to include professional networking for growth and customer service to build loyalty.