Kevin Price, Host of the Price of Business on Business Talk 1110 AM KTEK (on Bloomberg’s home in Houston) recently interviewed Amy H. Fulford.
About the interviewee
Amy is the Founder and Managing Partner of enlight, a boutique consulting firm that helps companies grow, improve profitability and align teams to execute. Before founding enlight, Amy gained real world experience at Alcoa Inc., the Boston Consulting Group, Procter & Gamble and a regional bank and earned an MBA in Strategy and Finance from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Tell me about your firm (number of employees, location, type of companies you work with, etc.).
I founded in enlight in 2005 to bring a new approach to client engagement in professional services. Most of our clients are middle market privately held companies – either family businesses, private equity portfolio companies or investor led businesses. We work across all industries, and we seek clients that really want to roll up their sleeves and figure out how to take their businesses to the next level. We are located in Cleveland, OH and employs a staff of six professionals.
Tell us about what it means to you to “put customers first”?
For us, the client is at the center of everything we do. We constantly remind our staff of the following quote from Steven Covey: “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” We want to make sure our clients get the most value from our help. For us, it starts with our values.
Our values are unique for a consulting firm, but they reflect who we are and how we work. We actively demonstrate them internally and externally every day. Our values are:
-Enter with Grace
-Learn with Humility
-Collaborate with Respect
-Communicate with Candor
-Act with Conviction
-Advise with Honor
What mistake do businesses make when it comes to taking care of customers?
The biggest mistake that business make is forgetting that customers are the lifeblood of every business. A mentor of mine used to always point out that customers are the only people consistently putting money into a business, and without them we will ultimately fail.
When we think of a business strategy at enlight, we include three factors: 1) your target customers, 2) the unique value customers get from doing business with you and 3) the business model for making a profit delivering that value to customers. So, we bring everything back to customers at the end of the day.
When businesses forget that customers are the lifeblood of every business, they focus on all the wrong stuff: they cut the wrong costs, they drop the wrong benefits and services and they lose sight of the importance of building authentic relationships with customers.
What is your firm doing to demonstrate your beliefs in this principle?
Here’s how we live this principle every day:
Networking: We always make time to help out those in our network. Always.
Proposals: For proposals we focus on what the client really needs from our project. We first try to identify the client’s desired Outcome – what do they need to happen as a result of this project. That determines the scope, deliverables and timing of our work.
Engagement Structure: All of our engagements begin with us investing time to understand their business and its context. We interview employees, review internal documents and compile our findings to demonstrate what we’ve learned about them.
Day-to-day Interactions: We take the time to understand the other person’s perspective and context before jumping to conclusions or quick answers that don’t actually apply to their situation.