Meet Business Woman Lisa Brown-Morton, President and CEO of NonProfit HR
1. What or who has been your greatest influence in business and why?
My parents, really. They epitomize excellence and hard work. Two values that I have deeply embraced and that have led to my success professionally.
2. What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date?
Honestly, creating and building my firm has been my greatest professional accomplishment. Prior to me starting Nonprofit HR in 2000, there were no consulting firms anywhere in the U.S. that focused exclusively on addressing the HR needs of nonprofit organizations. The HR and management consulting worlds simply didn’t care about nonprofits unless they were large hospital systems and universities. To some extent that’s still true. We took the plunge into this space when no one thought it made good business sense to invest in and focus exclusively on nonprofits. We did and have built an entire business serving this sector.
3. What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to our readers?
In order to grow your firm, you have to learn to delegate! Don’t try to control everything as an entrepreneur. While it may feel counter-inituitive because, of course, you want to run your own business and do things your way, the growth of your business is dependent on connecting yourself to talented individuals who can latch onto your vision, lend their knowledge and expertise to what you’re trying to build and take your ideas further than you ever imagined!
4. What has been the most effective marketing initiatives or programs you have used to promote your business?
That’s hard to say. Until late last year (12 years into being in business), we had never really engaged the services of a marketing firm and didn’t have a formal marketing strategy. We’ve grown fairly organically and by doing excellent work. If I had to narrow it down to one marketing initiative, I would have to say our rebranding did it. After our 10th anniversary, we made the strategic decision to take the lid off of our growth. We needed to reinvent ourselves and restate our purpose and the potential of our impact to those organizations we were trying to target. Rebranding helped us do that consistently and in a way that supported our history and commitment to excellence.
5. What one thing have you learned as a small business owner that has served you well over the years?
To not be all things to all people. Our success has come from identifying an unmet/underserved need and sticking to providing that service in a consistent, high-quality way. We don’t do accounting. We’re not lawyers. We’re HR professionals committed to strengthening the HR capacity of the nonprofit sector. That’s all we do, we commit all of our resources to this space and we do it well.
6. Are there any resources or tools you’d like to share with other small business owners that have helped you run your business? If yes, please describe (and include links if available).
Depending on where you are with your business, I recommend connecting with your local chamber of commerce, the Small Business Administration (S.C.O.R.E) and finding like-minded business professionals via LinkedIn and even MeetUp.
Reading books like: First, Break All the Rules by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman; Surrounded by Geniuses by Dr. Alan S. Gregerman, and Practically Radical by William Taylor. They’re all excellent books that will inspire you to break out of the box and do something different!
7. Do you have any new projects coming up (or have you just completed a big project ~ reached a milestone, etc.)? If so, please tell us about it.
We’re excited about several new initiatives that we’re working on in support of the nonprofit sector’s talent management needs but due to the fact that they are in development stage, I’d rather not discuss them just yet.
I am also excited about the fact that we successfully completed our rebranding efforts earlier this year! We can already see the difference in our position in the market place and have seen a steady uptick in new business coming in the door!
8. What do you do for fun/relaxation?
I’m a spa fanatic and I have traveled fairly extensively around the world. I’ve been known to be quite a shopper but who isn’t, right? All vices that I am complete unashamed about! Lol
9. What is Number One Business Goal you plan to accomplish over the next year?
To create a disruptive, sector-changing solution that will address the recruitment and retention needs of the nonprofit sector and cause sector leads to look completely differently at the purpose and value of talent!
10. You want to write a book on
What would happen to the nonprofit sector and American society if it made a serious investment in talent and leadership development.
11. Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
If you’re considering starting your own business, follow your gut and your passion, learn how to write a business plan, and connect yourself to successful people. Align talents and passions to an unmet need either with the individual consumer or other businesses and get on the path to entrepreneurship!
12. What’s the best way for our readers to connect with you (feel free to include the links to your social networks and websites)?
On LinkedIn – http://www.linkedin.com/company/nonprofit-hr?trk=company_logo
On Nonprofit HR – http://www.nonprofithr.com/about-us/our-team/morton/