State Your Business
“Old Business Models No Longer Work”—Wendy Muhammad, entrepreneur
We’d like to introduce you to a serial entrepreneur Wendy Muhammad who, determined to help other entrepreneurs, launched The John Edward Group (named after her father) and has trained thousands of entrepreneurs and emerging leaders and managed over $200 million in Projects.
Wendy is currently a senior executive and the director of business affairs of the Minimally Invasive Vascular Centers where she has worked to develop a progressive new business model for outpatient surgical center that has revolutionized the delivery of sub-surgical specialty vascular services to the community. She has always dreamed of owning her own business and providing opportunities.
“I've been focused on this since I was a child. I used to read the Kiplingler' Business Letter when my Mom would bring it home from work and help my Dad to figure out how to run his horse breeding business…at least he let me think I was helping, she said. “I would go to school and in my mind, I’d pretend that school was my business. I always saw myself as a businesswoman.”
Today, her dream has evolved into a track record and experience that expands several industries including entertainment, healthcare, insurance, government, investment banking, retail, real estate and more.
Wendy, who began her career with Price Waterhouse Coopers, is also on the Board of Directors of Cornhusker Capital, a Chicago based, middle market Investment Banking Firm and is on the Board of Advisors for DRW Industrial, a Chicago based Construction and Engineering Firm.
Her motto is that “Old Business Models No Longer Work.” Below, she answers a few questions from BeanSoupTimes.com publisher Toure Muhammad.
What do you mean that old business models no longer work?
The old ways of doing business are almost obsolete. Everything is rapidly changing, from how we sell a product or service, how it’s marketed, who represents our brands and even internal operations like human resource polices and quality control metrics. There was a time when each industry had its corporate leaders that defined what, where, when and how business was done. And in order to be successful in that particular industry, you had to structure your business and processes like the industry leaders. Today, instead of striving for conformity, business owners have to strive to be unique and authentic in order to be successful. In fact, the more unique and cutting edge a business is, the more wildly successful they often become. You have businesses and individuals making millions of dollars selling products and services in a manner that baffles trained business professionals. Today just a simple tweak in a traditional business model can give you the edge over your competitors. Whereas, in the past, that same simple tweak may have caused your business to fail. This change widens the point of entry for those who want to go into business for themselves and loosens the standards that have held many at bay for years.
Tell us about the John Edward Group and why you started it.
I started this company, and many others, simply because I wanted to have my own space to flex my business muscles, per se. I have always had confidence in my own ideas and abilities.
You’ve mentored so many businesses; tell us about one that impacted you the most and why?
I look at every experience as an additional building block and an opportunity to learn and explore. Each business has its own special place in my personal development. But the businesses that have forced me to stretch and take risks have been the most impactful. For example, I spent some time doing Consulting work in the Entertainment Industry, which really taught me a lot about setting personal professional standards as well as, protecting my brand and proprietary intangible assets. My current venture in the healthcare space has been extremely fulfilling, in that I have been able to help people gain access to services that they would either have limited or no access to. It also gave me an opportunity to tweak a traditional business model and experience the expansion of opportunity.
Did you always know you’d be a business owner?
I did. As a little girl, I wanted to own an NBA Basketball Team and a hotel. It was just what I always wanted to do. When working jobs, I would look at myself as a corporation and handle projects and assignments like a business owner. That has always been my prospective. Whether I was successful or not, I was always evaluating what I needed to do and who I needed to be in order to take myself to that next level.
What has been your best business decision?
I have made quite a few significant and impactful business decisions. I think the most impactful decision was moving to Chicago at a young age. I always wanted to live there and just kind of followed the dream. Chicago is an amazing city with a plethora of businesses and diversity. Few cities are fortunate enough to experience the corporate diversity like Chicago. Many cities have one or two major industries like automotive or entertainment; but Chicago offered me a thriving access to every major industry. I could not have constructed a better way to develop my career.
Who are some of your business heroes?
Wow there is so many. I learned a long time ago to see and learn from the talents of others. So, there are many unsung heroes, per se, who have motivated me. Growing up, one of my Uncles and his family owned and operated a daycare that they still own and operate today. I would watch their dedication and how they got up a 5:00am (even if they were tired or just plain didn’t feel like it) and did whatever they had to do to make their business a success. That stuck with me. In terms, of major corporate moguls of I think are game changers; I admire R. Donahue Peebles, Oprah Winfrey, Mark Cuban and Tony Robbins to name a few.
How lucky are you and why?
There are some people who would call me extremely lucky. I believe that I am extremely blessed and divinely guided. Every life experience that I have ever had, dating back to the schools I went to as a child, to my parents and their desire for me to have amazing experiences, to my educational and professional experiences. They are all experiences that I could not have chosen for myself. But they all enhanced who I am and helped me to become unique and successful.
If you were 80 years old, what would you tell your children?
Know yourself and be yourself.
Tell us about your new website.
I put together what I call a Multi-Brand website that consolidates some of the things that I do as a businessperson. It allows potential business professionals to gain an insight on the type of person they are seeking to do business with. The website is www.WendyMuhammad.com.
What are your current projects?
The healthcare model that we have been developing is currently very exciting. I am working in the Venture Capital space that requires a real separation between facts and emotions. That’s always fun.
Lifestyle Specialist & Media Personality, Maisha Wynn, Produces Her 4th Lifestyle Series at Bloomingdale’s: “Your Beauty, Our Creativity!”
In honor of Women’s History Month, Lifestyle Specialist & Media Personality, Maisha Wynn, partnered with Bloomingdale’s for a phenomenal event: “Your Beauty, Our Creativity” to celebrate women from all walks of life. Through Wynn’s quarterly lifestyle series, she is able to inspire and impact others to be their best self! Her beautiful attendees felt like Hollywood celebrities from having their pictures taken on the red carpet to learning from top beauty experts how to increase their personal brand.
Along with her talented team: Polly Iordanova, Jo Malone; Kelvin Lu, Bobbi Brown; Nikki Hall, Benefit; Joann Madden, LaMer; Christian Van Brimmer, Illamasqua; Kimberly Tamme; Clarins; Wynn shared three winning ways she keeps her temple radiant from head to toe. Wynn’s attendees left the lifestyle series energized and enlightened on how to enhance their outer beauty.
The life investment for this lifestyle series was $125 which included a $50 Bloomingdale’s gift card. Ten percent of the sales from total purchases made during the series went to North Lawndale Employment Network (NLEN); an amazing nonprofit assisting returning citizen find jobs and keep jobs.
Maisha Wynn is a Chicago-based Lifestyle Specialist with Live To Wynn. A boutique consulting firm that offers practical and aspirational guidance for individuals who want to improve the quality of their lives. Recently, Live To Wynn was featured on FOX-32 and in Ebony Magazine sharing five wynning tips to keep a family motivated to work out. For more info visit her website at www.livetowynn.com.