Brian chats with Ciara Stockeland, a serial entrepreneur who has owned and operated businesses since she was a teenager. On the episode, Ciara shares her best tips as an inventory and cash flow expert that can help all types of entrepreneurs build better businesses. She also opens up about the lessons she learned the hard way after she built a seven-figure retail business that she felt trapped in.
Mission-driven businesses are bold.
Ciara defines a mission-driven business as one that takes initiative in the world. It also allows the people behind it to live intentionally, be bold, and be intentional.
“A mission-driven business really has a strong purpose behind every action and thought,” Ciara said.
Follow your gifts and talents.
Ciara started her first business when she was just a teenager, eventually growing her skillset to grow a retail franchise business and later a subscription box for retailers. Through the subscription box business, Ciara met many inventory-based business owners who had a lot of questions that she could answer. Initially, she was reluctant to coach other business owners, but realizing that it was her gift motivated her to become a coach and consultant.
“There’s a lot of different reasons that we fight what we’re called to do,” Ciara said. “But when we realize and give in and be intentional with our gifts and talents, it just leads to so much more joy and contentment, which produces revenue, funnily enough, because we’re not struggling anymore trying to create something that everyone else demands of us.”
Know your numbers.
Entrepreneurs and businesses must know their numbers and understand what those numbers mean. If you run an inventory-based business, Ciara recommends learning your numbers for sales, cost of goods, gross margin, expenses, and net profit.
“You need to understand what each of those mean and how they work together,” she said. “Once you understand that, you can make really good decisions, build a good foundation, and grow or not grow.”
Don’t be the smart person in the room.
Ciara advises surrounding yourself with people who are smarter than you. While you may be a little uncomfortable or nervous, you’ll grow from experiences that are just a little bit away from what you typically know or do.
“When you’re in a storm in your life or your business, you’ll have really good people that you can go to,” Ciara said. “If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re going to be in a lot of trouble.”
You always have options.
Sometimes, running a business can feel like you’re at the extremes of having to go all in on something or quit something. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, Ciara wants you to remember that you always have options and try and simplify what you have to do by taking one thing out at a time.
“Get to the root of what the opportunity is,” she said. “In your business life, it’ll help to be able to look at the big picture and not be overwhelmed but to drill down.”
Resources + Links
About Brian and the Mission Driven Business Podcast
Brian Thompson, JD/CFP, is a tax attorney and certified financial planner who specializes in providing comprehensive financial planning to LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs who run mission-driven businesses. The Mission Driven Business podcast was born out of his passion for helping social entrepreneurs create businesses with purpose and profit.
On the podcast, Brian talks with diverse entrepreneurs and the people who support them. Listeners hear stories of experiences, strength, and hope and get practical advice to help them build businesses that might just change the world, too.