Eunice Joshua Clarke is the Founder and CEO of Clarke Executive Services Group LLC. Ms. Clarke has over 25 years of professional experience as a business owner, executive, and administrator. We interviewed her to know more about her journey.
What motivated you to start Clarke Executive Services Group.? How did the idea come about?
Through the years, business owners shared with me that they were frustrated with some employees not working as efficiently as they hoped. Those inefficiencies resulted in high operational and labor costs. Some studies indicate that many full-time employees perform, on average, three hours of "real work" per day. When I saw this on various levels, I thought, what can reduce small businesses' inefficiencies that have caused many to close? If you get highly talented, well-trained teams, companies improve their odds of staying around longer. And if you diagnose and solve problems with systems, processes, and workflow, even better. Thus, Clarke was born.
What was your mission at the beginning of starting your business?
From the start, it was to build a boutique firm that was a one-stop-shop for small- and medium-sized businesses to solve team and daily business management problems. I created two companies before –personal management and music publishing – and I fell in love with the notion of having my own company. I've been successful in corporate, but being an entrepreneur struck the right chord for me. Having my own company allows me to be creative and help others see their vision.
What do you attribute your success to? Is there a trait you have or a person who helped you along the way?
For me, it was a combination of things, including people who supported me and my vision from the start, my curiosity and intense longing to find ways to help others see beyond the everyday things they do, and good old-fashioned stubbornness and not giving up. With Clarke, I want to help businesses build something that they can take to legacy. While many folks dream of the day that they plan for retirement and the sale of their companies, seeing generational wealth in their futures would be amazing. That's cool to think about – having an indelible mark on the world.
When times get tough, what would you say motivates you to keep going?
To not hit the snooze button and to keep fighting for your goals. What motivates me is the drive to do what my mom, Joyce Joshua, told me long ago. She said not to rely on others to carve my niche or get where I want to go, not where others think I should. I was always that "reach for the moon, you may land among the stars" kind of person, even as a little girl, so always finding ways to do what I want to do has been in my DNA.
Employees are one of the most important players to succeed in business. What do you look for in an employee?
What I look for in an employee is someone who has tenacity, is not afraid to try new things, is relentless in finding answers, has initiative, is honest, trustworthy, is a great team member, and gives all they can to get things done. As Clarke is a company that strives for top-notch and brave hard workers, I like professional people that enjoy learning, growing, and having fun. You want great people to work for you so your clients know they can depend on your company and everyone on your team.
Have you ever gotten a disappointed client or customer? If so, how did you handle the situation?
You will have clients who may not want to continue with your services for a myriad of reasons. Clients may not want to continue because it seems like too much work, some that don't think you worked fast or hard enough for them, and others that want you to read their minds, but you just can't. Some clients are so used to doing everything themselves that they don't trust the process or others helping them. We handle the situation to respect where they are and then guide them to where they want to be. We remind them of the reasons they started their business in the first place.
Is there any resource or resources that helped you on your journey to becoming a business owner?
I'm a bit of a Google nerd, so when I was thinking about starting another business, I searched for careers that complemented my operations, administrative, and management background. I also found great info through online business magazines, including Forbes, Inc., Black Enterprise, Entrepreneur, HBR, etc. Conferences and asking tons of questions from other entrepreneurs, experts, and other pros were instrumental in grounding me solidly in the business I chose to pursue.
What are the three best pieces of advice that you would give to anyone starting a business?
What do they need to know from the very beginning? One is to be patient with yourself and your business. As business owners, we want results and success to happen right now. We want our success story to be immediately attainable, but that is just not how it works. You are building a business that will potentially provide people with something that will hopefully better their lives. Nurture your business and take it easy on yourself; you will get there.
The second advice I'd give is not to give up if something doesn't work out the way you planned. Focusing on your vision will assist in getting you back to the basics to build a legacy and generational wealth.
The third piece of advice, get away from naysayers. You can't get caught up in negative things you hear. It's your dream, idea, and hard work that will get you where you want to go. And if you decide not to go forward with that business, try something else; nothing wrong with going for more than one dream.