Starting a business is a big achievement for many entrepreneurs, but maintaining one is the larger challenge. There are many standard challenges that face every business whether they are large or small. It is not easy running a company, especially in a fast-paced, ever-changing business world. Technology advances, new hiring strategies, and now, political changes coming with the new administration, all add to the existing business challenges that entrepreneurs, business owners, and executives have to deal with.
Maximizing profits, minimizing expenses and finding talented staff to keep things moving seem to be top challenges for both SMBs and large corporations. We have been interviewing companies from around the world to discover what challenges they are facing in their businesses. We also asked each company to share business advice they would give to a younger version of themselves.
Below is our interview with Christine Galib, Co-Founder at Bridges to Wealth:
What does your company do?
Bridges to Wealth closes the wealth gap by empowering youth and adults with vital business literacy, entrepreneurship, and investment management knowledge and life skills. Our model is a simple, low-cost, and community-focused strategy that leverages schools and community centers and empowers peer-to-peer networks in a "train-the-trainer" way. With curricula designed by faculty at Wharton and the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, Bridges to Wealth creates sustainable communities of wealth, increases participants' investment returns, and develops critical thinking and professional skills. Bridges to Wealth currently partners with The Village School in Houston to offer a pioneering and rigorous Entrepreneurship Diploma (ED) to high school students. ED participants graduate high school with their own viable, design-thought business that meets a community need, as well as practical knowledge and skills in leadership development, negotiations, financial literacy, strategy and marketing, and private equity and venture capital.
What is your role? What do you enjoy most about your role?
I'm a Co-Founder, Curriculum & Instructor Director, and Instructor at Bridges to Wealth. I love what I do! I combine my core value of doing well by doing good, with my passions for education, business literacy and entrepreneurship. I've actually been involved in starting three businesses; prior to Bridges to Wealth, I co-founded an investment management group for non-profits at Morgan Stanley and founded Plan My Plate, my health and wellness consulting business. I love supporting individuals as they start and manage their businesses, set and achieve their investing goals, and discover and unleash their inner, mindful entrepreneur! Best of all, I love when my students become comfortable pushing themselves out of their comfort zones, learning from failure and using it as feedback (I call it "failing forward"), and applying this mindset to creatively and sustainably innovating our world.
What are the biggest challenges in your business right now?
Right now, our biggest challenge is scale. We are a nationwide business, with program and school sites in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, California, Connecticut, and Texas. Our program follows a "train-the-trainer" model, where teachers, community leaders, or parent ambassadors attend an intensive training session and then return to their communities to implement the Bridges to Wealth curricula in a way that best serves their community. We offer ongoing support as teachers, community leaders, and parent ambassadors build their community of wealth. Scaling nationwide has involved coordinated and consistent marketing efforts, as well as building the necessary internal infrastructure to support the increasing demand for business literacy classes as Bridges to Wealth grows.
If you could go back in time, what business advice would you give to a younger version of yourself?
Trust, and reflect on, the process - as non-linear as it might be! Every day as an entrepreneur is an adventure, and you have to be prepared for anything at a moment's notice. To do this, teach yourself to be an empathetic listener and life-long learner so you can better serve clients' needs. When I started Plan My Plate, I did my research, ran the numbers, and sought feedback from mentors. My path took me from the boardroom to the classroom, where I taught biology, health and wellness, and mindfulness at Boys' Latin of Philadelphia Charter School. I pursued my MSEd from Penn GSE and learned from professors with whom I would later co-found Bridges to Wealth. As an entrepreneur, working with the next generation of innovators, I love what I do: my "work" is setting the stage so that my students and clients can make the magic.