#TruthMoment: Covid Kicked Our Butt
After opening our doors in 2016, we, like many other businesses in 2020, were hit with the realization that we had to make some drastic changes in order to keep our doors open.
As startup founders, we must be transparent about our ups AND downs, and surviving the Covid-19 shutdown is something that our company will never forget.
We Closed Three Companies in One Week
“I dreaded checking my email during March of 2020. We went from booked and busy, to cancelled and closed in a matter of seven days.” -Dr. Brandi, CEO Millennial Ventures
Being in the B2B service based industry is amazing, until all of your clients close their doors for months at a time. Our team decide to lean-in to the discomfort of it all, and that strategy helped us re-imagine who we were and how we should move forward.
Remote, Virtual, and Digital Oh My!
We had no choice but to close our doors. From March 15th to June 15th our teams took time to be still, reflect, and innovate. Letting go of the daily grind helped us realize that our business models were heavily reliant on in-person service delivery. We were not leveraging technology to optimize our processes or services nearly as much as we should have.
The ReLaunch Game Plan
“We had to think of a way to generate revenue fast. The only way we were able to pivot was to think about how we could serve the market in a relevant way.”
Many people don't know that our Founder and CEO, Dr. Brandi Baldwin is formally trained in organizational psychology, leadership dynamics, and #diversity and inclusion. After the social and civil unrest of 2020 hit global stages, requests for DEI training were flooding her inbox. Rather than taking on clients as a personal consultant, Dr. Brandi came to the team with a big idea. "How about we launch a DEI consulting firm? Can we get it launched in three weeks?".
The team was up for the challenge and made a plan for launch. The focus would be on what Dr. Brandi called DEI innovation. "I don't want to be another random DEI firm. If we're gonna do this, we have to be different. We have to lead the industry." In three weeks, the Millennial Ventures team launched the Calling All Allies Project, an #international DEI #innovation and organizational equity firm who, in less than one year, served companies like Merck, Fast Company, SalesForce, and Keller Williams Realty.
From Resuscitation to Resurrection
After a huge success in building the Calling All Allies Project (CAAP), the team was re-energized and our bottom line wasn't at the bottom anymore. We finally had some breathing room to figure out how to resuscitate the other brands. Here's how it went.
Center for Millennial Engagement- We closed our doors and are relaunching in 2021 with a new national mentorship program that will help thousands of millennials get access to #leadership positions at the world's best organization.
Colorcast Podcast Network- Our 2021 launch was severely delayed, but the lapse in time helped us refine our idea. We're now developing the technology to bring this better idea to fruition. The final name won't be "Colorcast" either. We'd love to tell you, but we have to keep it on the hush for now.
Leader-ish Media Group- We're still focusing on bringing diverse thought leadership to the masses, and in the last year, we decided to use our Founder as our first client! LOL. We launched her Diversity & Confusion Podcast, and helped her publish her second book, "AuthenticAlly: Ditch the Guilt, Stop Performing, and Take Purposeful Action as an Ally for Racial Equity". We launched the "Leader-ish Podcast" in September of 2021, and signed our first external thought leader and author, Jenaya White. Her book, Confident Queen Journal has already become an Amazon best seller since coming on board.
Calling All Allies Project- The Calling All Allies Project has had a successful year and transitioning to scale its services to reach more companies in need of DEI support. The firm is hosting its first virtual conference aimed at helping HR, DEI, and recruiting leaders create strategies for positive change around workplace inclusion.
A Message for Other Founders
If there was any advice that we'd give to other founders, it'd be to lean-in to the beautiful messiness of business building. Many times, in death (totally a metaphor), there is an opportunity for resurrection. In our case, we stepped back and watched our beloved entities "die". We didn't try to keep them alive, we believed in a bigger and better resurrection.
Today, we've resolved that no matter what happens, we will find a way to keep our eyes set like a flint on our ultimate purpose.