“We help company leaders recognize that the most important components of the company are the employees and the customers.” As leaders, they must be intentional about creating the kind of culture that dignifies both”. –  Allyson & Derek Young, Founders of YMG Enterprises, LLC

What inspired you to start YMG Enterprises, LLC?

Allyson: We started YMG Enterprises, because we had an opportunity to combine over 40 years of corporate experience working in executive leadership, to help CEO’s understand and develop strategies for creating a healthy corporate culture.

Derek: We realized that we could transfer what we did for two employers into a viable set of services for a wide array of corporate, government, education, non-profit and religious organizations from various sectors.  We realized that our success in shaping culture for one or two employers could translate into helping multiple organizations create a legendary culture.  We wanted to expand our belief that amazing things happen when we combine culture and strategy.

What has been a great example of a company you worked with that implemented a positive workplace culture strategy? 

Allyson & Derek: Several years ago, we were introduced to a medium sized services company with several hundred employees located in five locations.   Even though the six major departments within the company were tasked with working collaboratively to serve their customers, they had allowed silo-thinking and disrespectful communication to ruin the quality of their environment and lessen the impact of their service.  Fortunately, the senior leaders of the group were open to outside support.  Following a deep dive culture assessment with leaders and front-line employees from every department, we  were able to design a targeted culture strategy that addressed the most prevailing culture killers.  Using the input of the members of the organization we delivered an 18-month, quarterly training program that systematically helped leaders and front-line employees practice and review the impact of new behaviors that promoted teamwork and respect.  The multi-layered partnership accelerated how quickly each member of the team accepted the new approach.

What does a typical day look like for your team?

Allyson: We have been in business together for 13 years.  We assess each project to determine the best way to engage. There are times when Derek is the project team lead and other times I may lead an engagement. On larger contracts, we work together.

Derek: While each day is different, our typical day includes a mixture of new client development, program design, business management and knowledge-building.

How do you manage work-life balance?

Derek: If you think about the time you spend working, driving to and from work and thinking about work–possibly 60-80 hours a week—balance is practically impossible. If you have life goals, it will be challenging to have balance. If you have children or aging parents it will be hard to have balance.  We encourage our clients to avoid looking for balance and choose to look for quality relationships in every area of their life.

Allyson: When it comes to how we handle work-life balance, we value quality time with each other. For example, one of us may have to be out of town for a week, so we ensure that we schedule time together when the other returns. We take the time to spend with our family on Sundays after church, by celebrating all birthdays, attending their sports and special events and helping them excel in school.

Could you share what you loved most about your NBIC experience?  

Allyson: We heard about the NBIC’s business plan contest and entered. We learned more about the NBIC during the competition.  We decided to become one of the NBIC “Biz Owners” and set up our office at the Incubation Center.  We were there for 3 years when we determined that our business is everywhere we are, so we inquired about how we could continue being a part of the program without maintaining an office within the Incubation Center. The Growth Enterprises team established a unique set of terms to which we agreed and eventually they decided to create the “Incubator Without Walls” program for “Biz Owners” who did not necessarily require office space. As members of the “Incubator Without Walls” program, we were  able to continue receiving the coaching and mentoring, and continue benefiting from the camaraderie with other “Biz” Owners.

Derek: Most people are subject matter experts who are trying to become entrepreneurs. Therefore, it is important to be in a network of like-minded people. It is extremely valuable to have an experienced business partner remain focused on your progress and growth.

Is there one business resource or tip you would give to readers just starting out in their business?

Allyson: The first thing I would tell aspiring entrepreneurs is to understand the need to be properly structured. Don’t believe the hype that all you need are business cards. An entrepreneur must learn how to become a legal established entity according to the structure selected, whether sole proprietorship, LLC or corporation. The average person has no exposure to what it means to own a company from the perspective of legal structure. It is important and necessary to seek the advice of an attorney and participate in various workshops which teach entrepreneurs the requirements of owning a business.

Lastly, what can Music City expect from YMG in 2017?

Derek:  YMG will continue to ‘sharpen our own saw’ in the areas of client assessment, program development and business partnerships.  We look forward to offering our most popular training series in an online format to help a broader group of individuals and organizations benefit from the lessons we have learned.  We hope to establish new partnerships with leaders who are seeking consulting, training and speaking services that will help them build a legendary culture.