Entrepreneur Interview – Jordan C Lofton
After completing her Bachelor’s in Business Management from the University of Georgia, Terry College of Business, Jordan began her career in consulting. Starting with one of the Big 4 IT Consulting firms, Jordan quickly found herself engaged in the firm’s two largest Telecommunications, Media, and Entertainment projects. During her time in the Big 4 Jordan had the unique experience to see a project from cradle to grave, spanning multiple roles and supporting as many as 14 applications and a client base that spread a three state region.
Jordan was known for her strong work ethic, attention to detail, creativity, and commitment to her team and clients. After 4.5 years of learning her craft in such areas as project management, business process design, training, quality assurance, and business analysis, Jordan left the Big 4 to go independent. In doing so, her goal was to continue to build relationships across the industry, as well as to engage herself in new and challenging roles.
It was during this time that the first conversations of creating a consulting firm formed. Conversations with colleagues and clients about what the consulting experience “should be like” began to drum up ideas for what is now Golden Source Consultants. When Jordan entered Duke’s Cross Continental MBA program the dream of pursuing entrepreneurship and in building a consulting firm that provided the very best to its clients and employees was realized. After conversations in each of the international residencies, Jordan talked through project management and process challenges that classmates were facing. It became a regular occurrence to “talk shop” and to help brainstorm creative strategies.
It was in July 2012, that Jordan finally made the move to create Golden Source Consultants. After graduating with her Duke MBA with a Strategy Concentration, Jordan’s focus has been on building out the Golden Source toolset, to ensure that the entire GSC team comes to the table with not just professional certifications, but with consulting skills that are superior. Her commitment to her team and to her clients is to always exceed expectations and develop the organization through a golden quality.
- What is your business/Business Name? What does your business do?
Golden Source Consultants is a boutique management consulting firm, with a mission to raise the bar on quality and delivery for our clients by developing the next generation of management consultants. It is our belief that the model of the Big 4 consulting firms, while scaling for any client challenge, has over time eroded the basic value that consultants have. Namely, to come in and deliver a short term project more quickly and efficiently than the business.
The focus of Golden Source Consultants offerings is intentionally narrow, but with broad application. Our firm delivers project management, business process design, strategy, and training development and facilitation. These areas of focus are chosen because they are the pulse of any business, and drive value and excellence throughout the entire organization.
Our model for delivering these services is also unique. The firm is built to identify and grow Millennial talent to become the next and best generation of consultants. The vague career paths and titles are gone, the personal values and needs of our team considered, and the team is invested in for the long term rather than expecting high turnover. Our managers and above, are chosen because of their demonstrated excellence and their excitement to work as a mentor to build something bigger than their own legacy. In creating a work environment where the value of each individual is never lost, each consultant becomes eager to deliver more for GSC clients, partners, and peers because it is work they see meaning in and enjoy doing.
- Why did you get into this field? What opportunities did you see?
I spent 4.5 years in the Big 4 IT consulting world, and 2 years as an independent contractor. I entered the field straight out of undergrad. I must say during my time in the Big 4 I learned many valuable skills and I was given the opportunity to be a part of and lead things that many people wait their whole careers for.
What I saw was an opportunity to do things better for the client and for the consultants. I saw an opportunity to identify and grow talent for a long term career, and the ability for my clients to harness that expertise that is grown with them in mind.
If GSC is successful, we will change the way all management consulting firms do business…for the better.
- What have been your biggest challenges?
I think that all of the challenges Golden Source Consultants has faced in our beginnings really boil down to one thing. People don’t believe that management consulting can change. It’s sad to say, but most people believe that the show the “House of Lies” is either the way consulting is or should be.
What the industry was founded on was brilliant thinkers like Edwin Booz who said “Start with character.” Or James O. McKinsey, who left his academic career and became known for providing management advice. These were the pioneers in our field. They were partners first, and the money came in because they provided value. Would they be proud of the legacy we now have?
The challenge now is to change the way consultants think about consulting and how businesses think about using consultants. At Golden Source Consultants, the challenge we give ourselves is to be that model, so that we affect change within our own industry.
- What has been your greatest reward?
My greatest reward is my team and their successes. It has been truly humbling to have the caliber of people we have take a step to join a startup, and also believe in our mission. When I see their faces light up about the training, a new project, client feedback, or a step forward in the business, it takes whatever that feeling of personal accomplishment I have and magnifies it exponentially as a victory for the whole team.
That is a close second to hearing a client say they are excited and surprised by the high quality we brought to their project. By going back to the basics of producing extraordinary work consistently I think it takes our clients by surprise. They really think our mission is just a sales pitch, but when they see it in action we have never left without a “Thank You.”
- If you could change something, what would it be?
I see the business grow and change every day. I think as a business owner and leader I am accustomed to change, so I never get to comfortable in any one moment. I am always eager to tackle the next challenge and pursue the next goal.
If I could change any one thing about GSC to have the biggest impact, I would have to say to spend more time one on one with my team and client to hear their feedback. With all of the growth this personal time sometimes gets scheduled “as I have time”. My clients and my team, ARE my business, so I would spend more time listening and planning for their needs.
- If you could give a new entrepreneur advice, what would it be?
Don’t get lost in the noise. You will have so many people giving you advice, offering to help, asking you questions, needing you to do something, requiring a document, a form, to file for a permit, review a contract…the list is never ending. It is easy to lose focus.
Remember your goal, remember your mission, and then find ways each day to finish tasks that help you accomplish it. If a task is not going to help you move forward then either deprioritize it, or eliminate it.
- Social Media. Yay or Nay?
I believe Social Media will play a key role in the growth of GSC, but I think we have to be careful in how we use it. Our blog, The LION’s Den, is the best way for the company to showcase our thought leadership. The entire team can contribute and show how we think. It feels more natural than something I might have printed and bound for marketing collateral. It has the potential to reach a larger audience than I might target.
I believe as our team grows, the Millennials will continue to find new ways to communicate with fellow consultants through Social Media. That is actually one area that in the next year I see a great group forming and getting excited about talking about GSC and their experience with the company through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other Social Media.
- How do you market your products?
Golden Source Consultants is all about quality, quality, quality. That means the growth plan is about first proving we can provide that, then proving we can reproduce that. That has been our focus in year one and two. This means word of mouth has been our best marketing so far.
Next year, we will get a little more targeted and begin to take our marketing to the next level. I don’t want to give away the big reveal, but there is a lot in the works for 2015 on many fronts. The marketing has to reflect our quality and core values, so I know our market will really recognize and appreciate that when it is revealed.
- Sell me your product/service.
Have you ever used a management consulting firm who came in with a big promise and a big team, and were let down with the results? Did you feel you received the value you paid for with each consultant you worked with or was it a hit or miss experience? Did you feel like you were teaching the consultant your business rather than them providing insight into it? Did you feel like once you signed the contract you could not see the end in sight for the work?
Golden Source Consultants focuses on one problem at a time through projects that last no more than six months. It’s not that we want to leave you after six months, but that we want to solve one problem then the next and the next. We stay focused on our goal to deliver exceptional value that the business maintains, not the consultants.
Our team is trained extensively to ensure that each consultant meets our strict internal standards and can deliver consistently in each of our core areas. Training doesn’t stop after employment, and it doesn’t start on your project. We continually invest in our team’s development, so they invest in you.
- How can people get in touch with you? What’s your website/Contact information?
404-692-5540 Office Line