An Interview with Aundrea Y. Wilcox: Author, Executive Director & Senior Business Counselor
Sylvia: Welcome Aundrea. Please give our readers an introduction of yourself and a little about your book.
Aundrea: Hello Sylvia. My name is Aundrea Y. Wilcox. I earned my MBA from Brenau University in Gainesville, Georgia, USA. I am currently the Senior Business Counselor of the Tennessee Small Business Development Center (TSBDC) at East Tennessee State University (ETSU) Kingsport Affiliate Office, and Executive Director of the Kingsport Office of Small Business Development & Entrepreneurship (KOSBE) at the Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce, Tennessee. I have provided technical assistance to over 700 individuals or businesses.
My first book, “Startup Savvy” is a jam-packed with relate able real-world entrepreneurial stories combined with rock solid advice to help you optimize your small business success!
Sylvia: Well, we have something in common as I work in nonprofit as well as a Project Director and business consultant for the Women’s Business Center in Mobile, AL and partially funded by Small Business Administration. Small world! In addition, I read a description of your book and sound very informational, a must read for business owners. What inspired you to write your first book?
Aundrea: Since80% of small businesses fail before they reach the five-year mark, my book is especially for new businesses—any business in business for less than five years—and older businesses that need a serious kick in the pants!
Sylvia: I am aware of that statistic; so very startling but true! Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Aundrea: Starting a business is tough. Surviving the start up phase is even tougher. An alarming number of small businesses do not manage to stay afloat beyond five years, because of unplanned and misdirected spending; short-sighted planning; under- and over-reaction to competitor moves; ineffective marketing; and because the owners fail to perform in functions they genuinely believe they are experts, whether it is finance and administration, marketing and sales, personnel and compensation, or management and operations.
It takes real guts to throw a steady paycheck overboard and become your own boss. If entrepreneurs and small business owners will commit to doing just some of the things discussed in this book, in the early years of starting their business, they will increase the likelihood of attaining their dream of long-term small business success and subsequent profitability. Also, small businesses can avoid some of the leading screw-ups and blunders that others have made along the painful path to business ownership and success, although some of the fumbles and missteps presented in this book are what got triumphant small businesses where they are today.
Sylvia: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Aundrea: Never give up.
Sylvia: What marketing techniques have you used to sell your books and which ones have been most successful?
Aundrea: I have used everything from direct mail, advertising, trade show exhibits, Internet, to group presentations. I have had the most success with group presentations. It is important to build trust and credibility before you can start selling. When I speak to a group, participants get to know and understand the real me. When I am done with my presentation, I don’t have to sell. Afterwards, participants approach me and ask me how they can get my book.
Sylvia: Why should we buy your book?
Aundrea: Read “Startup Savvy” and steer clear of common pitfalls and mistakes; learn from real entrepreneurs about some behind the scenes aspects of starting and running a small business; save yourself considerable pain, money and precious time; outperform and outlast your competition. In the final chapter of the book, I have developed a series of tactics called my 40-Day Survive to Five Campaign specifically designed to increase small business survival rates.
Sylvia: Is there a special place that you prefer when you write?
Aundrea: I do my best work when I am at home alone, in front of the fireplace.
Sylvia: Sound cozy! What projects are you currently working on?
Aundrea: Now, I am working on my next book especially for women business owners and professional women.
Sylvia: What is your POWER WORD? Why this word?
Aundrea: EXECUTE. Saying and doing are two different things. In most cases, execution is the difference between success and failure.
Sylvia: Nice word. Can anybody start a business with no money?
Aundrea: Why would you do something so stupid?! It’s like going to a bar without your wallet or purse. You can’t buy. When you go into business without money, you can’t serve—not well anyway. If you want your customer’s first experience with you to be pleasant, you’re going to have to spend some money, whether for packaging, a well-done and presentable menu, bagging and labeling, or a professional-looking invoice or receipt as a minimum.
If you have no money of your own to properly start a business, you have no business being in business, or attempting to borrow money to start a business. Get your finances in order BEFORE you start a business.
Sylvia: I agree that you need to get your finances in order before launching a business, in fact that is one of the top tips that I advise when counseling with clients.
Aundrea, thank you for sharing your expertise! Please share your social media and book contact information.
Aundrea: Thank you as well Sylvia. To learn more about me and my book, visit:
- Website: www.startupsavvy.biz
- Facebook: www.facebookcom/startupsavvy
- LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/aundreaywilcox
- YouTube: www.youtube.com/startupsavvy
- Twitter: www.twitter.com/StartupSavvy