What is your background and how long have you been involved with this industry?
I worked in media as a journalist, higher education as a career counselor, then UPS for 12 years in Communication, Training & Development & Crisis Management. I left UPS 14 years ago and started my company, Developing Professionals, in 2004.
When I started my company, I offered training in communications and had about five different training programs that I offered. Since then, I have created more than 50 training programs with customized workbooks, under the areas of Communication, Customer Service, Human Resources, Leadership, Management, and Teamwork.
I have a BA in Journalism, a Master’s in Student Personnel Administration and a Master’s in Organizational Communication & Development. I have been working in the field of Human Resources & Communication now for 30 years.
Where are you located?
My office is located in Lancaster, NY. We started in 2004 and Developing Professionals has grown to become one of the leading training providers in the Erie County area. Listed annually in Business First’s Top 10 list, the company is ranked as one of the top Workforce Development Providers.
What are you trying to accomplish with your business venture?
My focus is trying to help individuals and organizations reach their fullest potential through training and organizational development consulting.
I do this by providing customized training programs to help individuals with skill and behavioral competency for growth, by creating and providing communication tools and deliverables for organizations that help with goal attainment and to improve efficiencies, and by providing one-on-one and group coaching to help individuals become more self-aware, develop a plan for development, and provide guidance to create a path for personal or professional success.
How did your idea come about? How did you get started in your business?
I was working for a company doing training & development and a variety of other HR work. I loved doing the training but as the organization shifted, less of my time was dedicated to training and focused on other duties that I was less interested in doing. I saw first-hand when you invest in people and provide great training throughout the employment cycle how much more productive and satisfied people are. I wanted to be able to focus all of my energies on training and building effective curricula. So I decided to quit and start a training & development company that offered customized solutions to organizations that could truly make a difference.
How did you organize your team?
I am a one-person entity. Part of my desire to start my own company was to be able to manage all parts of the business where I could be the person directly connected to my clients during all points of contact. My model is to be an extension of an organization’s team and provide the resources that they currently don’t have in-house.
What were some of your concerns as a start up?
Like many other start-ups – will I have customers to sustain me, where will they come from and how will they find out about me? I always tell individuals to focus on strengths and talents and not weaknesses or things that drain you. I know that one of my challenges would be my lack of desire to do “selling” or “solicitating.” I also didn’t know what I didn’t know so I know there were going to be things that I would have to learn along the way in this journey.
What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
The best part about being an entrepreneur is having the flexibility and latitude to do what you know will make the greatest impact on those that you serve. I enjoy being able to partner with organizations, helping them with their challenges, and then create interactive training sessions or programs that will help their staff and their business.
There are so many great organizations here in our community. I love being able to have a connection with so many of them and hopefully making a small positive difference in their lives.
As a startup entrepreneur, what type of lessons could you give to inventors and people with new ideas as to how to bring their ideas to fruition?
If you have a creative idea, you need to first ask yourself, “who would this help and why do people need it?” Once you answer that question, you then need to develop a business plan that would map out your strategy. It sets your course and helps you stay on the right path. It takes the idea to the implementation phase.
When I started my company, I had a 50-page business plan. By following my plan, within a year, I achieved all of my business goals. Every year I have a one-page strategic plan that I use as my compass. It helps me take my creative ideas to the marketplace with a solid structure in place.
What are the top 3 skills you believe are needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
- Communication/Interpersonal Skills
- Time Management/Organization Skills
- Strategic Skills
Are you familiar with any of the laws regarding patent, trademark law or licensing and how they affect your business?
No, that’s why I have LoTempio Law! Seriously, I know what I don’t know, and I try to hire or work with vendors who have the expertise that will help me with my business and keep me protected from any liabilities or exposures.
What is one of your favorite books that inspired you the most?
There are so many – depending on where I am in my life, a book inspires me in the moment. I believe books find you, you don’t find them – I have a full library of books that validate this! I can say my favorite author is Matthew Kelly. I have read all of his books and he has transformed me into the woman and professional I am today.
How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?
It has enriched it in so many ways! I have more balance. I can spend more time with the people I love. I am more connected and present in the world. Every day I get up and thank God for the talents and blessings he has given me. Because I am the captain of my ship, I can say yes to what is good for me and no to what is bad. This alleviates stress in my life which helps to create happier and healthier relationships.
What was the best advice/wisdom you were ever given?
“This too shall pass” both in good times and in bad. I am a person of quotes, so this is another area that is hard to single just one out. One of my favorites in a professional setting is, “When I give you feedback, that means I care. When I stop giving you feedback, that means I stopped caring.” And one of my favorites when it comes to personal character,
“when you talk about someone else, it doesn’t define them, it defines you.”
And finally, any words of advice for success for people who are just starting out as entrepreneurs?
Know what your talents are and find a lane that allows you to use them. Know your values – what is most important to you. It he
lps you make the right decisions along the way. Follow your passion and listen to your inner voice – both will guide and protect you.
To learn more about Lori Miller and Developing Professionals, please visit her website at www.developingprofessionals.com. You can also pick up a copy of her book, “The WOW Factor – 7 Secrets to Great Presentations,” available here in both print and e-book formats.
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