In the dynamic world of Human Resource Consulting, leaders are constantly seeking innovative strategies to enhance organizational performance. Sharitta Marshall, the CEO of Visionary Development Consulting, stands as a beacon in this industry. With a firm rooted in the niche segment of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), Marshall has carved a unique space for herself and her business in the HR landscape.
Visionary Development Consulting, under Marshall’s leadership, has been instrumental in guiding organizations to harness the potential of ERGs, ensuring that they are not just tokenistic entities but powerful drivers of change, inclusivity, and business growth. As the CEO, Sharitta brings a blend of passion, expertise, and a forward-thinking approach, making her a sought-after consultant in the realm of HR.
When the opportunity arose for Sharitta to participate in the training titled “The Funding Formula”, it was seen as a chance to further elevate the capabilities of her firm and to bring even more value to her clients. The following case study delves into her experiences, insights, and the transformative impact of the training on Visionary Development Consulting.
Discovering “The Funding Formula”
Sharitta Marshall’s introduction to “The Funding Formula” training was serendipitous. While browsing TikTok, she came across the Mental Money podcast videos. The content resonated deeply with her, especially the emphasis on strategic planning as it pertained to funding. “I had looked at grants before and felt overwhelmed,” Sharitta recalls. The traditional grant application process seemed daunting, filled with questions that seemed challenging. However, the approach presented in the training videos was different – it was structured, logical, and most importantly, it aligned with how Sharitta’s brain processed information.
Sharitta’s previous experiences with grant applications were not particularly encouraging. She candidly shares, “I applied to a few that didn’t require detailed essay questions because I couldn’t decipher what they were seeking in a response.” For her, the simpler the application – like a dropdown menu – the better. The mere thought of providing extensive documentation or answering intricate questions deterred her. “I felt that being a black-owned business should have been enough,” she expresses, highlighting the challenges faced by minority entrepreneurs.
Interestingly, “The Funding Formula” was the first program of its kind that Sharitta came across. It was only after joining that she noticed other similar programs. But what set this training apart for her was its affordability and value proposition. As an entrepreneur on a tight budget, Sharitta was cautious about where she invested her money. “I can’t just throw money at things and hope for the best,” she states, emphasizing her sensible approach to business investments.
The results of the training were transformative. Not only did Sharitta secure a grant before the program concluded, but she also found the process of applying to multiple grants less intimidating and more streamlined. “Before the training, I might have applied to one grant. But after building out my proposal during the program, I could easily apply to several, increasing my chances of success,” she reflects.
In essence, “The Funding Formula” training demystified the grant application process for Sharitta, equipping her with the tools and confidence to navigate the funding landscape more effectively.
Navigating the Training
Sharitta’s entry into “The Funding Formula” program was met with a sense of familiarity. The structure of the program seamlessly fit into her schedule and work style. “It was conducive to how I work,” she recalls. With a rich background in the corporate world, specifically in project and program management within the tech sector, and an MBA in international business and marketing, Sharitta found the program’s content easy to digest. “For me, it was one of the easier programs I’ve been in because of my experience,” she notes, acknowledging that those without her background might face a steeper learning curve.
One of the standout modules for Sharitta was the financial projections. The module’s design, which she describes as “plug and play,” allowed her to easily tailor it to her business’s specifics. Even with her proficiency in Excel, this feature was an advantage. However, she did face a challenge due to the niche nature of her business. “I didn’t have a starting basis to use,” she mentions. Fortunately, her partner Chezie, operating in a similar market, provided a base model that she could adapt.
The depth of the financial projections module was particularly enlightening for Sharitta. “It’s one thing to see money in paragraph form… but when you outline individual line items, and see where your costs, expenses, projected revenue, and growth are, it makes it a lot more real,” she reflects. This granular view of her finances not only made her business’s potential tangible but also showcased the possibility of achieving a high profit margin within a year.
Feedback was another crucial component of the program that Sharitta appreciated. The opportunity to have one-on-one sessions, ensuring her understanding and alignment with her goals, was invaluable. “Making sure I had data to back up what I’m doing to show proof of concept was essential,” she emphasizes, pointing out that even with an operational business and revenue stream, demonstrating proof of concept remains vital.
In essence, “The Funding Formula” was not just a training program for Sharitta. It was a mirror reflecting the potential of her business, a guide helping her navigate the intricacies of funding, and a mentor ensuring she stayed on the right path.
Challenges & Overcoming
Every transformative journey is punctuated with challenges, and Sharitta’s experience with “The Funding Formula” was no exception. One of the most significant obstacles she faced was establishing the numbers for her financial projections’ basis. “It was truly a production,” she recalls, highlighting the difficulty she faced in this area. This challenge was amplified by her lack of confidence in the numbers she was producing. However, in what she describes as “kind of a miracle,” Sharitta was able to obtain a baseline number from a peer in her niche market. This not only bolstered her confidence but also made her projections feel more tangible and grounded in reality.
Beyond the program, Sharitta acknowledges that one of her ongoing challenges is securing additional funding and getting in front of the right decision-makers. “The biggest hurdle is still getting in front of the people that will say yes,” she admits. However, the training equipped her with robust talking points for her proposal, enabling her to articulate her business’s sustainability and profitability potential more convincingly. She emphasizes the importance of communicating what’s needed to realize that potential.
When reflecting on how her approach to funding has evolved post-training, Sharitta reveals a significant shift in her mindset. Initially hesitant about investors for equity, she now has a clearer perspective. “I was on the fence about investors for equity,” she shares, indicating her previous reservations. But her stance has since evolved, with her now being absolutely closed off to the idea. “Now, I don’t want investment for equity at this point,” she clarifies.
In sum, Sharitta’s journey through “The Funding Formula” was a blend of challenges and revelations. While she grappled with certain aspects of the training, her perseverance, coupled with the program’s structured approach, allowed her to emerge with a clearer vision and a more strategic approach to funding.
Results & Transformation
Sharitta’s journey through “The Funding Formula” culminated in tangible outcomes and a profound transformation in her approach to business. One of the most significant milestones she achieved was crafting a comprehensive proposal and business plan. “Holy Shxt,” she exclaimed, emphasizing the magnitude of this accomplishment. This wasn’t just about having documents in hand; it was about the newfound confidence she felt in articulating her business and the possibilities it opened up from a funding perspective.
A pivotal aspect of her experience was the mentorship she received. The accessibility of a mentor who was readily available for calls, document reviews, and feedback was invaluable. This guidance wasn’t just about refining her proposal; it was also about pointing her toward new opportunities. “When opportunities for grants would come up, my mentor would ping me, suggesting it might be a good fit,” Sharitta recalls. In the hustle and bustle of entrepreneurship, having someone looking out for her was a bonus. “Even though I’m doing everything, I can’t catch everything,” she admits, emphasizing the importance of this support.
The camaraderie within her cohort, which she affectionately refers to as the “ragtag crew of three,” was another highlight. This tight-knit group provided a sounding board for ideas, offering constructive feedback and mutual support. “We could push back on perspectives or ideas, and it was received in the spirit of everyone’s success,” she reflects.
Sharitta’s efforts and the skills she honed during the training bore fruit when she won her first grant, the “Next Up Grant” awarded by One Next League, a testament to her hard work and the efficacy of the program. But the accolades didn’t stop there. In a subsequent conversation about her ongoing projects, Sharitta was approached with an exciting proposition: to join the board of a tech company.
In essence, Sharitta’s experience with “The Funding Formula” was transformative, not just in terms of the knowledge she gained but also in the tangible results she achieved. With a blend of determination, mentorship, and the right training, she has set herself on a trajectory of continued success.
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