NYCEDC Bronx Graduation Speech

NYCEDC Next Level Bronx Grads 2016.jpg-largeDuring Interise’s first graduation of 2017, we were lucky enough to hear Next Level Bronx grad Sheila McQueen speak to her class and those attending the celebration.

Sheila recently completed the StreetWise™ ‘MBA’ program through NYCEDC, equipping her with the knowledge and skills to sustainably grow her business. In her speech, Sheila addressed the ways the program shifted her mindset for running her own business as well as hard skills she learned in class.

Read below for the full speech!


Graduation Speech – January 2017
By: Sheila McQueen, President of Scrub Clean Maintenance Corp. in Bronx, NY

The StreetWise™ ‘MBA’ first recommended reading assignment, “The E- Myth Revisited” by Michael E. Gerber, addressed the 95% success rate of franchise operations and the 80% failure rate of small businesses. This was major eye opener for me, explaining a lot of the problems and frustrations I was experiencing due to a lack of operational systems. The beginning of the program focused on our goals and visions, then what, when, and how we planned on getting there. There was a particular emphasis placed on utilizing and implementing Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, and Time-Based (SMART) tactics, in achieving these visions and goals as part of our business strategy. This was a challenge (and still is) for me, because it requires me to be PRO- ACTIVE, not RE-ACTIVE.

This program made me realize the importance of a solid foundation, the importance of a system, and the need for accountability and responsibility from everyone, including myself, in order to generate business growth. It’s also important to share my vision for the company so the staff can feel a part of the success. I no longer fear the words “financial statement” or “tax returns”. These once year-ending reports submitted by my accountant and filed away or sent for re- certifications, will now be viewed in depth. Furthermore, I now will know way ahead of time how I’m doing financially because I will also be “managing by my numbers”, as per one of the other assigned readings.

I’ve had the pleasure of sharing and trading business ideas and opportunities with my classmates and bonding with my CEO Mentor group peers. Especially, as we FINALLY got through the dreaded Elevator Pitch. I say dreaded, because we all struggled with it. But now, I have a tag line – If it’s dirty, Scrub will clean it! There were many lasting impressions made on me from the Elevator Pitches, including Top Level Pest Control, uses Thermal Heating for bed bug treatment; S & D moving, emphasis on customer satisfaction with up front pricing; and Mass Ideation, telling your story using digital technology. I will continue to use my cohorts as a business source and forward them any opportunities presented to me.

Lucy Christensen did an awesome job in the running of this program. The entire program, including the expectations, rules and responsibilities , guest speakers, program curriculum , materials, etc., was well presented and provided. Including coffee and donuts each session!!!!! The instructor, Danielle from Inspire, was phenomenal. The preparation of the growth plan was very challenging. Honestly, my first two drafts were submitted just to get it done. However, after my second conference call (and imaginary red lining all over my report), I realized that Danielle was very serious in the development of a real business tool to use and follow. My final “AHA” moment came after hours and days of re-writing and re-thinking my business growth plan.

I’ve participated in another intensive business development program, however, I really got much more out of this one because of the following:
#1. Learning Materials: The books, assigned readings and assignments were instrumental learning tools.
#2. Guest Speakers: The guests, two for me in particular, made me realize that 1: It is ok to be where you are. This helped me realize that business is not just about sales. It’s ok to leave the sales alone, for now, and focus on my systems. It didn’t mean I was a failure if I didn’t reach a certain financial threshold. And 2: I must think about my financial statements and tax returns as documents for future borrowing needs. If my focus is solely on tax payments and not business growth, my documents will reflect negatively to a financial intuition in obtaining a loan in the future.
#3: I also noted the importance of updating your business profile as I watched a guest procurement officer search each one of us as we spoke.

To my group :
There were no pretenses here. We all respected each other, and the need to help one another was genuine. Our mentor group held us accountable for specific assignments. Moreover, it gave us the opportunity to bond outside of the classroom – I will miss our meet up place, AppleBee’s !!! Most importantly, I felt this program was truly about assisting the small businesses in their growth. The program was intense but not impossible. The consistency and constant follow- up with Danielle and Lucy made us accountable for the assignments. They didn’t have to do that, but it was so appreciated! At the ending of this program, I realized I’m actually at the beginning of my journey towards growth. I now have 2 visual charts on the back of my office door as a constant and daily reminder of the accountability expected for myself and my team, in pursuit of my vision and dreams.