Business Owners Speak Out: Spotlighting Solon’s Businesses: April 5, 2021

Here’s a collection of interviews from Northeast Ohio business owners with amazing insights into today’s challenges.

ActionCOACH’s Mark Phelps and Rick Phelps virtually sit down with fellow members of the Solon Chamber of Commerce and dives into what’s really happening.

Check out their inspiring stories for tips on how to cope with and successfully recover from this pandemic, and learn how to avoid making common mistakes. Be sure to check out special offers from these businesses. We can all use a little extra help right now!

And, most importantly, visit the company websites. Reach out to those who offer services you can use. Let’s support each other and get through this together!

Duffy’s Flowers – Owner, Sandy Duffy

Duffy’s Flowers is a family-owned business since the 1970’s. They love helping people express themselves with flowers. They get you a personal touch and provide a high quality, fresh product.

Mark Phelps (MP): Who is your target audience?
Sandy Duffy (SD): People who want to express themselves. We make bride’s dreams come true as well as help someone mourn the loss of a loved one. Most of our customers are between 30 and 60 years old. Everyone has visions and we try to capture the vision for them.

MP: What has been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business?
SD: More online orders versus customers coming in the store. Customers choose what they want based on pictures on our website and we assemble each order individually.

MP: What are one or two actions you have taken to make a difference?
SD:  We offer hands free delivery and use secure packaging. We keep the store sanitized and clean and are happy to catch everyone in our store with their mask on.

MP: It has been said that smart people learn from their mistakes and wise people learn from the mistakes of others. What are some mistakes you have made over the years that other entrepreneurs could learn from?
SD: I’ve learned not to pass off inferior products and not to let anything go beyond its shelf life. I know how much product can move in a week or move in a few days and make sure not to overstock.

MP: What is most inspiring to you today?
SD: New trends and styles. Keeping up with the in colors and decorative colors and the seasonal colors.

Contact: Connect with Duffy’s Flowers online at www.duffysflowersandplants.com or by phone 440-248-8880. Mention this interview and get 10% off your next purchase.

Saint Martin De Porres – VP of Work Study Program, Shameka Jones Taylor

Saint Martin is a part of a network called Cristo Rey. Saint Martin Cleveland provides quality college preparatory education to students in their families who otherwise couldn’t afford it. This is possible, in part, because of their corporate work study program. Students get classroom learning four days a week and gain work experience on the fifth day. Saint Martin takes to heart five pillars that define who they are as a network and as a school: work, study, search, lead, and pray.

Mark Phelps (MP): Who is your target audience?
Shameka Jones Taylor (SJT): There are two targets. Firstly, we are looking for families from limited economic means who have beautiful, brilliant, bright young people who just because of their economic status are missing out on opportunities. Second, we are looking to partner with businesses committed to the principles of community, economic empowerment, diversity, equity and inclusion, and really looking a developing a pipeline of talent for the next generation.

MP: What has been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business?
SJT: Two things have happened. The greatest impact was on our work program. Companies closed or began having their employees work remotely so our students no longer had a work study to go to. Wanting to maximize the student’s workday, we developed a training module for our students to take part in at the school. And then partners like Hyland Software shared a wonderful gift called OnBase training valued at hundreds of thousands of dollars. They trained our students on how to utilize the software, do the basics, and become administrators.

MP: What are one or two actions you have taken to make a difference?
SJT:  We utilize the gift of time. We’ve focused on professional development of our student’s hard and soft skills. For instance, students are learning about running meetings. Instead of calling it a class, we call it their job team meeting. They show up for their job team meeting with their supervisor and learn the different facets of running a meeting (i.e. being the timekeeper, facilitating, note taking, etc.). We took what was really a big upset in the way we operate our normal business operations and then flipped it on its head and said: “Okay, this is a gift of time. We’re going to utilize this gift.”

MP: It has been said that smart people learn from their mistakes and wise people learn from the mistakes of others. What are some mistakes you have made over the years that other entrepreneurs could learn from?
SJT: Think about the way you utilize your time and take intentional pause breaks. The resent moments allow you to be ever more present, creative, and solution oriented.

MP: What is most inspiring to you today?
SJT: Our students. When I think about what and who they are, where they come from, how they’ve travailed, how they have stood in the midst of all that is going on. Now they continue to persevere. That’s inspiring to me.

Contact: Connect with Saint Martin De Porres online at www.saintmartincleveland.org or by phone: 216-299-0833. Shameka can be emailed at sjonestaylor@stmdphs.org. Learn more about their work study program by viewing their brochure here.

Redwood Financial Network – Managing Director, Bill Gordon

Redwood Financial Network provides personally tailored financial advisory services. Headquartered in Solon, Redwood does not have an agenda and instead prioritizes being fully engaged in their client’s goals and values. This allows Redwood to provide customized wealth management strategies with multiple options.

Mark Phelps (MP): Who is your target customer?
Bill Gordon (BG): We work with small businesses anywhere from a one-person company to a company with hundreds of employees. We offer services and support for businesses throughout their lifecycle. We can benefit businesses just starting out when they are looking for financing, businesses establishing their accounting procedures, businesses looking for profit management, to businesses planning for transition.

MP: What has been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business?
BG: The greatest change has been how we interact with clients. We are supporting and meeting with clients virtually when necessary or preferred.

MP: What are one or two actions you have taken to make a difference?
BG: Being available and reaching out. We are offering alternative methods of reviewing and talking through things with clients.

MP: It has been said that smart people learn from their mistakes and wise people learn from the mistakes of others. What are some mistakes you have made over the years that other entrepreneurs could learn from?
BG: Time management is critical. Don’t let the day dictate what you are doing. Plan your days out and line up business priorities each and every day.

MP: What is most inspiring to you today?
BG: The business community has shown strong camaraderie and a willingness to come together and help one another.

Contact: Connect with the team at Redwood Financial Network by phone: 440-287-5020 or visit their website: www.redwoodfn.com and learn about their Retirement Benchmarking offer.