Soaring Independent is a black female-owned home care cooperative in Dane County, WI. Georgia Allen and Josezette Bridges are the faces of this co-op, striving to offer quality home care services to elderly people and individuals with mobility issues. After being fed up with low wages, high turnover and low-quality care, Allen and a group of colleagues started thinking about creating a business of their own. With the worker-owned concept, they knew that would increase the quality of employees in their business and the quality of care for their clients.
What’s The #1 Piece Of Advice You Have For Black Women Starting New Businesses?
Network.. Network, and keep expanding your network. You are the value of your network!
What Is Your Morning Routine?
Georgia- Prayer, my daughter and I stand in prayer together, we affirm that the day is going to be moving in the right direction and our steps are ordered.
Josezette- Affirmations with my son and morning talk with my mother.
Has Your Product/Service Gone Through Iterations And Changes? What Was Your Strategy For Learning From Customers And Improving The Product?
Georgia- Where I started to where I am now is totally different. What I’ve learned in business is you have to be very agile, meaning you have to be receptive to the community you’re serving and the impact you can make.
How Did You Acquire The Necessary Capital Required To Scale Your Business And Get To This Level?
We are still in capital sourcing, one ordered step at a time.
What Area Of Your Business Did You Have The Least Experience In When You Started? How Did You Handle The Learning Curve And Ensure The Business Succeeded In That Area?
[Casual laugh]…..all of it. We were skilled in our niche, but business as a whole has opened up many learning opportunities. We thought it would be enough to just know parts of business operations,, but that’s not enough. In regards to the areas we lacked we intentionally sought after mentors and advisers. In the areas we needed to develop, we attended several classes and programs.
What Advice Do You Have For Women Trying To Cross Cultural Lines To Grow Their Business? Can You Speak To This From Both A Race And Class Perspective?
Yes, this is something that comes up a lot. For me (Georgia), it was leaving a lower class and stepping into a higher class in a predominantly white industry and releasing the shame around holding that space while keeping my values & morals tied to the roots.
Tell Us About Your First Big Deal And How You Achieved It? (This Can Be A Retail Distribution Deal, Large-Scale Contract, Sponsorship Or Funding Round)
We received our 1st seed from Madison Cooperative Development Coalition in May 2019 which was a giant boost, not only to our mission, but to our network. Overall it was amazing for us to obtain mentors and business support.
If You Can Share One Message To Inspire Black Women In Business, What Would It Be?
Work together while not minimizing your network opportunity. And when the opportunity comes- TAKE IT. Challenge your norm. There’s so much to learn from different perspectives- don’t knock the opportunity to learn from them.
How Have Relationships Impacted Your Business? What Advice Would You Give Entrepreneurs About How To Manage Business Relationships? What Relationship Skills Are Most Important For Business Success?
Relationships have been monumental to our business and personal development. You will meet so many people along the way and you will learn how to check your intuition on how to being the right people into your circle. With every new relationship, even the person at the post office, plant a seed that will grow as a way to help support your business.
Can You Tell Us About A Great Failure Or Disappointment That You Learned Or Benefited Greatly From In Your Business?
There is no such thing as failure- there will be the outcome you desire or the lesson you will need to learn. Failure is stopping or giving up. Soaring Independent Co-op has had many disappointments in lack of partnerships and failures in securing the necessary capital to develop and efficiently operate our business. We always keep our eyes on what is unseen knowing what value we bring to the table and owning it takes many tries to perfecting a unique business model.
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