The Synergy Journey started with a passion for small businesses. Nicole Valentine leaped from a career advising Billionaires first as a corporate lawyer at a Wall Street Law firm and then as a General Counsel at a New York Investment Bank and Brokerage Business to invest in her first love - the dreamers, innovators and visionaries of today. Synergy is a market leader in small business development. What makes us great? Our commitment to creating experiences through products, services and events that speak to the unique but universal journey of small business owners and entrepreneurs. We listen. We learn. We observe. We relate. And then we tap into the best brains of our times to create, innovate and deliver on our promise to lift and empower the idea makers to become deal makers.

An Interview with Nicole Valentine (from American Express Open Feature)

Why did you start your business?

Synergy Business Development is a management consultancy that

  1. Serves small-business owners by delivering business planning and strategy tools via the Winly IOS App and #WINNING: The Business Growth Strategy Book
  2. Advises organizations, associations and businesses on designing programs, bootcamps, workshops and technology platforms for small-business growth
  3. Advises and consults corporations, startups and family offices on strategic partnerships, innovation and mergers and acquisitions.

I started from the idea that merging my background in mergers and acquisitions with my passion for small businesses and entrepreneurs would be a great solution for a market that consistently fails and ails due to lack of capital and strategy. Many small-business owners work from home, have no employees and no partners. For small businesses to create jobs, build lasting companies and generate profits, Synergy's big idea is to infuse the market with the mindset of partnering, merging and growing by being strategic.

How has your business grown?

When I started Synergy in 2009 the first book I read was The E Myth: Why Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber. So I knew early on that it was important to build a system and a team. Even though I understood the importance, I was a one-woman show for many years delivering services with strategic partners and other consulting peers.

" Small businesses are a constituency that deserves a champion and a focus. It’s our time. "

Today, I have grown exponentially because of the tools that I created and the network of coaches and programs that use our tools to give business owners training and coaching on how to grow using our “12 Playbooks.” We plan to continue that growth by targeting businesses, venture capitalists, banks and government programs focused on providing technical assistance to the communities of entrepreneurs and business owners they are developing in their networks.

We are also creating more tools and frameworks that enable CEOs to use market data, technology and business best practices to make the best decisions for them at the time of their analysis.

How does your experience as an attorney and acquisitions expert inform your work with small businesses?

When you look at the business lifecycle, there are several phases where it's beneficial to work with advisors who have been there and done that. Successful entrepreneurs can handle the startup for the most part, but help is needed to be truly successful in the phases of growth, expansion and exit.

Because I’ve spent a lot of time engaged in deals, when I work with small businesses on achieving their growth goals, I’m wired to see the finish line and everything it takes to get there. A business owner may not be focused on protecting their intellectual property or understanding the regulatory framework of a country or entering into licensing agreements or keeping track of carbon credits or creating legal structures with tax advantages.

But if a business owner is building a business house that they want to create the most value in and make marketable, it pays to have a general contractor who can spot issues, hire experts and help manifest a dream that has many moving pieces. That’s what I have the capacity and experience to do with small businesses that are committed to expanding beyond their comfort zone.

What would you want other business owners to know about running a business?

I want business owners to know that starting a business is one of the most courageous things you can do. The very decision to take this path is gutsy and brave. Along the way, you're going to find many roadblocks and hurdles that can take you off course. If you are currently working solo, I encourage you to seek out and find a partner or partners to build your business with. You are going to go farther faster when you join forces and team up. Data shows that when a business creates at least one job, the potential for success is greater. Aim to become a partnership, job creator and in the winner's circle you deserve to be in.

When running your business, I would encourage business owners to bring everyone into the strategy conversation. Strategy is best created with diverse insights and vantage points. Ask this question once a week with your team, "How are we growing?" Then create a playbook that puts that growth into action.

How do you see the small business landscape shifting in the coming years?

I really see a need for a system reboot in business and society. There are so many broken and old systems that need to be rethought, reimagined and redone. The small business is the answer to the future of finding solutions in every industry. We just need to break through with our ideas and own those ideas.

I want to see the small business landscape shift in favor of the small business. I’m not content with the failure rate of small businesses and I'm not content with the story of business owners living out of their car to fund their dreams. I want society to see the entrepreneur class as solution providers and open up pathways for the business startup. The government has invested in the housing market, the auto industry—the list goes on. Small businesses are a constituency that deserves a champion and a focus. It’s our time.

Read this article from here : Featured Member: Nicole Valentine, Chief Strategy Officer of Synergy Business Development