Insights from RVA’s Women Entrepreneurs: Ryann Lofchie
Posted on 07.09.18
Recently, Keiter hosted a panel discussion focusing on RVA’s women entrepreneurs. Our panelists included Susan Johnson, founder and chief executive officer of BizCents; Kim Mahan, founder and chief executive officer of Maxx Potential; and Ryann Lofchie, chief executive officer of The Frontier Project and Frontier Academy. Each of the panelists shared their unique and inspiring stories of how they began their business, successes and failures, and business tips for new entrepreneurs.
In this article, we feature highlights of comments from our panelist, Ryann Lofchie, chief executive officer of The Frontier Project, a creative consulting firm that specializes in guiding organizations through change. With Ryann’s vision, determination, and passion, The Frontier Project has grown from one business line to an entire portfolio—and was recognized as one of the top 50 fastest growing companies by the Virginia Chamber of Commerce.
Q: There is a stereotype that women are risk adverse. Obviously, our panelists, and many women entrepreneurs in RVA and across the country, are proof that this incorrect.
Would you discuss the importance of taking risks—being flexible strategically in meeting your goals and growing your company?
A: I actually had the opportunity to do some research into this topic from a consulting engagement here at The Frontier Project. Women are not generally risk adverse—however, we tend to approach risk or problems differently than men. Our preference is to collect opinions and advice before making a decision.
Personally, I’m not risk adverse at all but I take a more conservative approach when deciding to move in a new business direction or hiring new people, for example. My approach has always been to take smart risks. So for me, that means I work really hard to ensure the company has a firm financial foundation. As long as our foundation is sound, we can explore new services or business offerings without jeopardizing the company as a whole. For example, we designed healthcare consulting services and invested time and resources trying to get it off the ground. We were passionate about this new business line and focused on its success. It turned out that the timing for it was off and healthcare companies were just not interested. We had to close the door on our idea which was unfortunate but our business as a whole was not affected.
I’m a firm believer that as an entrepreneur you need to take risks in order to thrive and survive. You’re going to make mistakes and that’s ok—learn from them. Keep your foundation strong and you’ll be able to balance the risk and opportunity.
Q: Raising capital is critical to the success of any new business startup or expansion.
Can you discuss your process to acquire capital and to what extent did any single factor drive your need for additional capital and influence the amount of capital you ultimately sought to raise?
A: Actually, I have not gone the route of a capital raise for The Frontier Project. For me, in my personal finances and my business finances, I prefer to avoid debt. When I took ownership of the company, it was struggling. My focus was to stay out of debt and grow the business so it could stand on its own. A capital raise was just not something I ever considered. We’re in a great place financially right now. I wouldn’t rule out funding in the future but it’s an area that I just haven’t explored at this point.
If you’re considering a capital raise, my advice would be to really educate yourself on how it works and the amount you truly need. And listen to your gut—on this subject and other business decisions. You know what is right for your business…follow your instincts.
Keiter is focused on supporting emerging businesses and their owners to successfully manage and grow their businesses. Interested in joining us for future EmergingRVA educational and networking events? Contact us. 804.747.0000 | firstname.lastname@example.org