In life and business there are trailblazers – those who cultivate the course of uncharted territories – and followers who travel established courses. Just as antiquated methods can lead to business failure, innovation can be vital to business success.
BlackEnterprise.com recently spoke with emerging business owner, Ethel J. Davis – principal of VZD Capital Management. She is the first African American female to own 100% of a Registered Investment Advisory firm in the Midwest, and one of only a few within the U.S. Davis started her firm in 2012 and is creating a path to success for others to follow.
Here are some success tactics Davis shared with us:
Fiduciary Responsibility. We all have fiduciary responsibilities: to our employees, employers, communities and families. Each day you are creating a legacy that will be analyzed and reviewed for years to come. Your standard should be one of excellence. This realization is why Davis chose to name her company after her deceased parents, a daily reminder that she is carrying out a legacy of success for them and for future generations. While customizing client portfolios to honor their legacies, Davis believes in having “skin in the game” – this is also her rationale for being a fee-based versus commission-driven advisor.
Kill the Ego. You don’t make it to the top alone. It takes a support team to make the dream come true. Whatever the current level of success, you can’t be so deep in the business that you can’t grow the business. Surrounding herself with mentors has enabled Davis to receive multiple business accolades and recognition. Remember: you are the rainmaker. When you hit a plateau, it’s time for change. Investigate more efficient procedures, implement more cost-effective processes, learn to delegate responsibilities, and ask for help in areas you know could use improvement. To get a different output, you may need to change your input.
Passion over Money. As a professional, the decisions you make can’t be solely based on the greatest source of revenue. When you make choices based on what’s best for your customers, it will lead to greater success and result in higher revenue. Take leaps of faith by following the path predestined for you. When you pursue your passion and have the right intentions, everything else will follow.
Know the Value of Your Value. Whether you provide goods, services; or both, your price should be based on value. Look for fresh ways to differentiate yourself from competitors and give more value to clients. Consumers are willing to pay for quality vs. quantity and you must be able to effectively communicate your value add. Also, it isn’t a good practice to enter the market at a low price point. Cheap prices can make customers feel like they are getting a reduced service. Remember the term ‘you get what you pay for’? Know the value of your business and skill-sets, and don’t be afraid to charge a comparable fee. You must set the standard as an industry leader and let others follow in your footsteps.
About Ethel J Davis. Ethel J. Davis is the CEO and portfolio manager of VZD Capital Management LLC. She brings 25 years of investment experience from respected firms – American Century, Fidelity Investments, Charles Schwab & Co, Inc., and Paragon Capital Management LLC. Being a fee-based investment advisor, Davis’ compensation is tied solely to her ability to grow her client’s assets under management.
Marquita Miller is the founder and CEO of Five Star Tax and Business Solutions – a full service accounting firm in Kansas City, Missouri. A small business expert contributor on CBS & FOX morning shows, Miller is a published author, business strategist, motivational speaker and well known advocate for entrepreneurship. A recipient of Kansas City’s Influential Woman and Woman Who Means Business award, Miller is also a conference speaker and workshop facilitator for TD Jakes Ministries; www.marquitamiller.com; Twitter:@MarquitaMMiller; www.facebook.com/MarquitaMMiller