My People Spotlight by Latarsha Horne
Alicia Butler Pierre
Founder & CEO, Equilibria, Inc.
Last month, I mentioned my friend Alicia Butler Pierre. She introduced me to the E-Myth. This month she is the influencer for My People Spotlight. Alicia is the Founder & CEO of Equilibria, Inc. Equilibria is an operations management consulting firm that specializes in providing business infrastructure for fast-growing small businesses.
I always thought the name Equilibria was unique, so I asked Alicia where she got the idea for it. She said the name initially came from an edutainment video game business she had in Louisiana. The goal of the game was to teach people life skills as they navigated through different obstacles. The science behind the game was a combination of astrology and psychology, which together create a powerful tool for self-awareness and growth.
Equilibria is the plural version of the word Equilibrium. Equilibrium is a state of balance. Alicia said, “the idea is to have balance in all aspects of your business,” which almost by design spills over into your personal life. The name is a tribute to her background in chemistry and chemical engineering. In science, reactions are considered unstable until they reach a point of equilibrium or balance, which is what Alicia brings to her clients.
Alicia moved to Atlanta in February 2005, which was six months before Hurricane Katrina. She wanted a career change, and Atlanta had a lot of Fortune 500 companies. She quickly found that people had difficulty connecting the dots between what she was doing as an engineer, and what she wanted to do, which was marketing research.
For months every book, magazine, newspaper, and blog, she came in contact with talked about “how we’re all blessed with natural skills, talents, and abilities.” So, she started thinking, “…what am I naturally good at?”
She had always been good at organizing, so she started Equilibria as a professional organizing company. After a couple of years, she realized she could apply the concepts commercially, so she worked with a group of marketing specialists to rebrand the business. They told her to drop the organizing language. She was doing business infrastructure.
Alicia thinks the most important work she does is bring stability to her clients. She works with clients whose businesses are growing at a face pace, but they don’t have the infrastructure to support the growth. In the beginning, the challenge of running a business is getting the word out about your product or service. Once the company grows, the obstacle becomes supporting the growth. If you don’t have processes and systems in place, your business can fail.
She said most businesses could liken what they sell as vitamins or aspirins. Vitamin companies have clients that come to them proactively. Aspirin companies have either experienced pain or are in the midst of pain right now. Alicia’s clients are in the fire when they come to her. She gives them the aspirin they need to bring a sense of order back to their business.
Alicia’s most significant accomplishment is moving to a city where she knew no one and building a business. She had a comfortable life in New Orleans. She traveled, had a house, rental properties, and a stable job. But, she gave it all up. She said, “everybody thought I was absolutely nuts, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I needed to get out and do something different, and that takes a lot of courage and cahunas.” She “put everything on the line” when she moved to Atlanta. She had no job and no connections.
Alicia said, “when you make a conscious choice to live life on your own terms there are consequences to that, and it can be tempting to go back to that life of comfortability that you once knew.” She’s right. It’s often more comfortable for people to go back than move forward, but she pressed onward.
Alicia is a huge advocate for Junior Achievement of Georgia, which teaches students about financial literacy. She is also involved in some social causes and participates in mentoring events for LinkedIn.
Alicia’s long-term plans are to commercialize her proprietary business infrastructure software and create a licensing program that other consultants can use to help spread the gospel of business infrastructure. Much like QuickBooks is considered the standard for small business accounting and bookkeeping, she wants her software to be the standard for small business infrastructure and operations management.
Alicia has a book coming out soon called Façade, which addresses problems caused by fast growth in small businesses. In a blog post about the book she said:
“You see, when we start our businesses, we spend an exorbitant amount of time, energy and money on branding, publicity, and promotions. These marketing efforts are necessary to get the word out about our products and services. Over time, as a result of your marketing and the great product or service you offer, you may have created an image of your business that lends to it being perceived as bigger and better than what it really is. This, I argue, is the façade of your company. The question I pose to you is whether or not your back office operations match the façade of your company. In other words, does the image your company projects to its customers match the actual experience reported by your customers?”
She said, “…We always want to come across as winners. No one wants to come across as a loser. And, no one wants to be associated with someone who’s failing. But, the reality is that we all go through challenges. So many books teach you why something should be done, but don’t always tell you how to do it, because that’s how they make their money.”
Alicia wants to tell you “a way” that has worked for several companies. You determine if it’s right for you. Façade is scheduled for release in July 2018.
Learn more: https://eqbsystems.com