NAWBO KC: From Corporate Life to Entrepreneurship

(Photo courtesy of NAWBO-KC on LinkedIn)

Making the leap from a corporate job to starting a company of your own isn’t easy. But about 5.5 million new businesses were started in 2023, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

What makes people want to start a business? For Cenetric founder and CEO Brittany Fugate, a rash of layoffs at Sprint gave her the push she needed. After hearing from a friend that he had lost his job there, she started Cenetric within a week. She wanted to create jobs for her colleagues to share their expertise and support their families – and job creation is  still one of her top goals today.

NAWBO KC: From Corporate Life to Entrepreneurship


Insights from a panel of experienced entrepreneurs

Fugate recently shared her story at a breakfast with the Kansas City chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO). She spoke alongside two fellow business leaders – Kali Buchanan, owner of Kali Buchanan Interior Design, and Sandy Brown, owner of The Employer’s Resource.

The panelists discussed a number of issues facing business owners and how some of the choices they made helped them grow their companies. All the speakers said they were glad they had aligned early on with accountants so they could keep a close eye on financials as they grew.

They said setting an annual budget and metrics is key to running a small business, as well as breaking down those metrics into quarterly goals. Weekly meetings to monitor the indicators are crucial to staying on track.

Fugate shared one thing she wishes she’d done differently with the crowd: connected sooner with the right group of people. After finding experienced mentors to help her navigate the challenges of business ownership, she was able to start avoiding some of the pitfalls and find wins faster.

Fugate was lucky to have several mentors along the way, including her Helzberg Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program (HEMP) mentor, Matthew Mellor. Fugate shared that a great mentor doesn’t have to be in the same industry as you, but they should connect and align with your values.

If you’re looking for guidance in your growing business, Fugate recommends KCSourceLink as a great place to start, as well as the many local Kansas and Missouri agencies and organizations designed to help entrepreneurs. The Women’s Business Center at the Enterprise Center of Johnson County is a wonderful resource for women business owners in the Kansas City area.

And don’t count out the value of networking and joining area organizations. That’s why Cenetric is an involved member of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and other local chambers of commerce, including Olathe, Overland Park, and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Greater Kansas City.

Fugate cautioned the crowd not to think of networking as making a sales pitch. She recommends thinking of it as an opportunity to cultivate relationships, keeping in mind how you can help your new connections – either yourself or by putting them in contact with someone else in your network.


Cenetric brings IT services to growing businesses like yours

If IT troubles are one of your entrepreneurial challenges, the Cenetric team can help. Do you need responsive, expert IT services you can trust — or do you have a unique technology challenge to tackle? Let’s talk about it. Whether you’re in Kansas City or beyond, Cenetric has the experience to take care of all your IT needs.

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