At Entrepreneurial Ambitions, my focus is to not only educate my readers about the real world of entrepreneurship but also recognize those individuals deep in the trenches of entrepreneurship. This recognition will be called Entrepreneur Spotlight, where we spotlight entrepreneurs excelling in the world of entrepreneurship. Starting off our very first spotlight recognition will be Brandi C. Shelton of Utilize Consulting Service and Management Group (UCSMG), located in Southfield, Michigan. But before I go any further in detailing who is Brandi C. Shelton and what is UCSMG; I will let her have the honor of doing so.
Q. Who is Brandi Shelton?
A. Hard Question to answer. But in retrospect, I am a person in love with business. Brandi is a person that eats, sleeps and breathes business. So much so that my own children conduct business. My children conduct business from negotiations; to understanding client/needs and even defining what support looks like even when doing homework. All my friends and family know that business is very important to me. My children see this importance every day, with every call and lost night of sleep. Brandi C. is business!
Q. What made you pursue entrepreneurship?
A. I believe I was selected. Lol, funny because I never really thought of working for myself. But I have always had a passion for fixing things. I still get jokes saying I am the Olivia Pope of business.
I just really love when things are in Devine order (a quote from Frankie Darcell). Devine order when working for yourself, is the ability of understanding the mission of what you need versus what you want. Being the boss still has the ability to stop you from doing what is right. How? Easy, you call the shots. But do you follow them. Entrepreneurship is a passionate gift of devotion to business not for money but for purpose.
Q. What is UCSMG?
A. UCSMG is an organization the looks to create structure while educating the CEO. Not with regular information, but with the ability to see when things are going right and/or wrong. CEO’s always see money first. But what about those unknown items or queues of when success is at the door and you are not ready. Why not? What is stopping you? How do you go with no gas? Lol. Well call us, we will show you the difference.
Focusing on the elements of what growth may look like and giving you the tools to assist in the growth process is just the start. Recognizing when to open those gifts and start the process is the other. A business can take over you. But if you know peaks and valleys before they come then you will be better prepared. UCSMG is the tool that works with the CEO in all business operational components that directly/indirectly affect the organization.
Q. How was the transition from party/promotion entertainment, to more traditional businesses?
A. The transition was easy because we still focused on business. The need of the consumer, the demand of the result of that need and much more. The only thing that changed was the way we met the need. Instead of a party it’s now in clear line deliverables and meetings/sessions, educating professionals and working with their team to execute the final result.
Q. How does UCSMG differ from other consulting businesses?
A. The difference is that we don’t take every client. We focus on one type of client at a time. Exclusivity is what is offered to set the tone that we care about the clients’ vision. So we don’t have 10 of this 5 of that. We have only 1 type of that client’s business type. In addition, we can support a client in multiple ventures with a price tag that doesn’t give you a stroke every time you receive an invoice.
Q. What does your target client look like?
A. A target client for me is one that has at least 70% of the vision and is ready to apply it. With a willingness to accept criticism, make changes, apply changes and create sustainable plans for growth. Industries are both service and product based. Our current client base is Education, Art, Production, Child based organization, Low Profit, Human Resources, Adult daycare, Children foster home and Fashion.
Q. How do you help people find the most effective marketing approach that will assist their business in being recognized?
A. First getting them to understand the industry, timing, marketing requirements, graphic layout for the industry and understanding what they need to offer versus want to offer.
After those elements are set we work on targets, timelines and execution of plan. Then watch week to week then month to month. Making adjustments when needed to ensure coverage.
Q. What common issues do businesses have when it comes to branding?
A. Understanding what branding is.. Why it’s important and how it affects you and the organization.
Branding is no longer the look it’s the message with the look. Looks change but what you stand for is the primary focus and goal when you are Branding….
Q. How do you manage your own brand?
A. Focusing on the messaging daily. I work directly to provide services and then I turn to my team to cover the whole process. It’s a general request to finish what I started. Just like in sports, you need a team to control the outcome. Without the team there is nothing. But even a team has responsibilities. So each one of us is responsible for something and we ensure those duties are held up and if we are unsure we regroup and start over.
Daily Group Me conversations, everyone has access to the email accounts, weekly conference calls and bi-weekly in person meetings. But I am always just a call away….my team knows if they text me even at 5 in the morning, I am up and ready to help. I awake to do business.
Q. What challenges do you face as a provider of consulting services, if any?
A. My only challenge is the belief of, “why should I invest this money in your services?” “Yes, I know I don’t know the answer, but I can research it.” You can do the research but not always understand the information collected. So the business owner spends time (wasting time) trying to figure out something we already know.
Q. What brings you the most satisfaction as being a provider of consulting services?
A. The smile when the work is done and the project is progressively moving. Exciting every time. The other is when the client gets their first check. Priceless.
Q. What does the future hold for UCSMG/ Brandi C. Shelton?
A. We have Split the company in 3. We sold a portion of the company to 2 other businesses but we still own a majority stake. We did this so that Utilize is stronger as a brand. The other companies are our sisters and are direct links to the industries they support. The other owners are dedicated to ensuring the businesses grow.
Q. Is there any advice you would like to give to those wanting to become entrepreneurs or even those who are already entrepreneurs?
A. Advice, hmm. Simple, believe in not just what you do but why you do. There are others that will always try to take that belief away. But at the end of the day you have to look at yourself. So if you don’t believe in it, it’s pointless. Your mission, goal and purpose is your real dream. No matter what that dream needs you. So listen, learn, think, grow, focus and develop.
You can contact Brandi Shelton at the following: