October 22, 2014
When Peter Hill Design, an award-winning creative firm established in 1994 by Peter Hill, transitioned to Junius, she had business savvy, but no formal business intensive education. Her solid art direction skills enabled the agency to retain top client relationships through the transition and increase their client list by 33%. She also achieved a 45% increase in sales during the first year of ownership, followed by steady profitability increases each year.
For St. Paul resident Junius, the opportunity to participate in Emerging Leaders as part of a national structure with proven results was perfectly timed. The program accepts businesses that have been established for at least three years – it’s not for start-ups. “Because my fellow students and colleagues are at similar places in our businesses, we share a lot of the same challenges and goals even though our industries vary greatly,” notes Junius.
During the eight-month 100-hour executive intensive entrepreneurship education series, Junius worked with experienced mentors, developed connections with peers and completed business analysis, strategy and plans specific to her business. In summarizing the program Junius said, “This structure provided the right mix to build my business skills and effectively put a growth plan in place for Peter Hill Design.”
“I now have a business mentor and access to 15 other Minneapolis program graduates through structured CEO mentoring groups,“ she continues. Through these mentors, the program intentionally sets the groundwork for ongoing resources and networking. Post graduation, Junius believes that her plan for Peter Hill Design is supported through a more thorough understanding of financial goals, how to find the right employees that fit the culture and how to operate efficiently to best serve their clients.
With the peace of mind a solid business plan can bring, the outreach to an external audience becomes more sought-after and attainable. As a woman-owned and small business, Junius continues to participate in community and professional organizations like Women’s Entrepreneurs Minnesota (WeMN), Women In Networking (WIN), the Saint Paul Chamber of Commerce and the American Institute of Graphic Artists (AIGA). She notes, “Through the program, I’ve gained the support, direction and confidence to carry out my vision. It was a worthwhile and invaluable experience.”
About the Small Business Administration’s Emerging Leaders Program
Minneapolis is one of 27 cities participating in the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2014 Emerging Leaders (formerly e200) executive-level intensive entrepreneurship training initiative for small business owners. In its seventh consecutive year, the initiative has trained more than 2,000 promising small business owners in underserved communities, and continues to expand its impact helping small businesses grow and create jobs. Emerging Leaders is considered a mini-MBA type of training with the case study being the owner’s business, but it does require a major time commitment of the CEO.