Define Success Coaching & Facilitation
After cultivating a seed of inspiration for about 15 years, Gloria Witt decided to take the leap of faith and launch her business. Define Success Coaching & Facilitation opened in 2014 to create breakthrough opportunities for executives and leaders.
“We help them reflect on how they think so that they can make intentional decisions to achieve desired, measurable results,” Witt explained.
She knew for a long time that helping companies align their business objectives to achieve organizational results was what she wanted to do. However, for a while, other responsibilities, such as her children, took priority. Witt’s patience continued to be tested as she got started.
“I spent about a year really operating a hobby,” Witt said. “I now have a great appreciation and understanding for why so many entrepreneurs go out of business within the first few years—lack of long-term funding.”
She recommends securing your first customer before taking the leap. Nonetheless, Witt was persistent in building her dream, and today Define Success provides solutions for several of the nation’s leading non-profits and partners with commercial and government agencies from the local to the national level.
“Cultivating new relationships can take several years for those who are not ‘naturally connected,’ she said. “However, the hurdle also provides an opportunity for small businesses to ‘think outside of the box’ and cultivate customers outside of the region. This is what I had to do to transition from launching the business to securing a client base.”
As a sole proprietor, Witt describes herself as a COE—chief officer of everything.
“At the end of the day, success is fueled by consistent discipline, showing up, and asking for referrals to grow the business,” she reflected.
She hopes to continue seeing more small and mid-sized companies invest in developing its leaders. “Employees leave managers, not companies, and disengaged employees and turnover are business costs. Better leaders,” Witt explained, “means better retention and inclusion and, ultimately, improved productivity and innovation.”
Southern Provisions Company
As brick and mortar stores struggle for survival, Rebekah Moody has taken an innovative approach to engaging potential customers of Southern Provisions Company (SoProCo), a fabric and home goods boutique. It also operates its facilities as event venues for weddings, large parties and other private events.
“People, as a whole, are uncomfortable walking into a small, high-end boutique business,” Moody said. “They feel as if they have to buy something as an entrance fee. On the converse, when one goes to a wedding and interacts with our brand, like our drapes, furniture, tablecloths, they have an invitation that grants them permission into our space. As a result, we impact more people in a positive way through events than by solely being a store.”
SoProCo has two venues, its Warehouse space holds up to 160 people and its newest building, the Storehouse, accommodates up to 40.
Moody said that despite receiving criticism, she does not regret her decision to move her company out of a retail strip in order to own the company’s buildings.
“By owning our properties, we have the ability to leverage our assets to grow at a quicker pace,” she said. “We have more flexibility in our brand and we have a tangible asset that affords us an exit strategy.”
The company began with a combination of passion and identifying a need.
“I started SoProCo because I love fabrics and I was not able to find products I wanted to use in my home when I was decorating,” Moody said. “This was not a spark that took off quickly; it has been a decade of long hours, slow growth, and reinvesting every dollar made back into the company.”
Building the business required steady dedication.
“Success is not accomplished overnight,” Moody reflected. “Over the past 10 years, I have learned that rarely does a giant leap lead to a win. Typically, it is lots of small steps that move you toward your desired goal.”
Workers don’t have to move to Seattle or Silicon Valley to impact the tech industry — they can do so right here in the Lynchburg Region thanks to entrepreneurs like Carroll Moon, co-founder and CTO of CloudFit Software. The company serves local clients in addition to Fortune 500 customers and its leadership team boasts an average of over 15 years at Microsoft, managing cloud operations.
Moon said the decision to leverage his experience to serve clients was, in part, fueled by a desire to bring great jobs to the region he calls home.
“I proudly call it ‘Blue Collar Brilliance’—lots of brilliant people with great hearts and strong work ethic,” Moon said. “They just need an opportunity to show what they are capable of without being required to move away.”
The cloud is hot right now, and CloudFit is the first company of its kind—a “managed scenario company,” helping clients move quickly and run effectively in the cloud. The company mission is to “improve the lives of our customers and team members by providing selfless, accountable human and technology services that simplify the complex digital world.” Services include strategic consulting for modern cloud operations, helping develop and implement cloud applications, and managed solutions to support critical business systems.
Moon helped found the company in 2018 out of a desire to solve problems for the industry. Since then, it has grown to over 60 employees across 11 states, including a large office in Louisville, Ky., with customers around the globe.
And, because the new company has made acquisitions, “we are a 12-year-old company on paper,” Moon explained.
His keys to success as an entrepreneur are simple: “Trust God. Prioritize people — great people are the key. It sounds cliché, but it is true. Be humble. Serve (don’t sell) customers. And be accountable.”
BlueStone Business Coaching
Shauna Parsons built up her father’s small concrete business into a thriving company with a solid reputation, growing Evergreen Basement Systems to 50 employees after taking it over in 2001. But in 2016, Parsons sold the company so that she could focus on her passion.
“Even while I was still operating Evergreen, I took the time to help my business owner neighbors when I could,” Parsons said. “I was fortunate to have a business mentor who gave me tons of business knowledge and perspective, so I wanted to share that anytime I could.”
BlueStone Business Coach now helps business owners, many of whom are contractors and small manufacturers who can benefit from Parsons’ unique industry perspective.
“When I was operating Evergreen, there was a point when I transitioned from working tons of hours and wearing myself out, to working much smarter and really running my business, instead of it running me,” she explained. “When that happened my world opened up, things got so much bigger, and not just my business but my future, my thinking, my quality of life. … This was so huge for me and my business and that’s why I am so honored to be able to share it with other business owners to help them grow.”
Parsons also currently manages Rhino Foundations, which pours concrete walls. “It just seems I can’t stay away from concrete,” she said. “It’s in my blood.”
She said she enjoys the tight business culture in the Lynchburg Region, “where people treat each other like old friends.” It’s a supportive culture that encourages true economic development.
“The best thing a business owner can do for their community is to build a strong, stable business,” Parsons said. “A business that creates good jobs, builds their team up, provides great products/services, pays taxes and is a good community presence. … I get to play a part by using my knowledge and experience to help business owners build their businesses with the support of someone who has been there.”