Andrea C. Mayorca, 28, is from Venezuela (and now lives between Miami, Florida and New York). She started her management consulting company, klerigi Group, in 2013. Klerigi Group is a results-driven project-based Strategic Start-up consulting firm in Miami and New York helping foreign investors start and expand successful businesses in the United States.
Starting the Business
Q: Where did the idea for your business come from? Where were you in your life and career?
A: The idea to open a startup consulting firm came from past business failures. I come from an immigrant entrepreneurial family and I started working with my family’s businesses ever since I was 11. Since then, I’ve had the entrepreneurial bug. I opened my first business back when I was in my late teenage years; it was an innovative nail salon, however, it was not successful due to lack of planning, strategy and market research.
Even though it was a complete failure, learning from failure is a choice, and I decided to do just that. This helped me open a couple of consequent successful businesses, and since then, I decided to open klerigi Group in order to help our clients avoid the same mistakes I have gone through in all the businesses I’ve had. In addition, most of our clients are international entrepreneurs because as an international entrepreneur myself, I have seen many of my family and friends having to go back to their countries because they were not able to setup a successful business in the U.S.
Q: What was the biggest challenge you faced when starting out?
A: Back when I started my first business, I was not aware of all the free resources there are out there, that can help anyone trying to start a business. Of course, these resources have tripled since then.
Another challenge was wanting to take on too much and not being able to delegate or outsource. I wanted to do everything myself, and due to a restriction in funds, I did not know what or who to delegate to. So my family and friends talked me out of this and helped me find accounting firms that would do my accounting, answering service firms that would answer my phone, etc. And all this helped me increase my productivity and helped me be better focused on increasing revenues.
And one other GREAT challenge I had was lack of patience. I thought that I was going to build a successful business overnight, or at least that’s what I expected to do, or then I would become a failure (so I thought). Soon after, I found out that failure is not the end of the world, and it is actually a great stepping stone to success. During times when I don’t feel as upbeat, I remember this great Bible verse – “for when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:11).
Q: What is the one thing you know now that you wish you knew when you started the business?
A: This scary statistic – the number one reason businesses fail is because of lack of planning, strategy and market research. I wish I would have planned more.
Q: What would you consider your first big success in the business?
A: Since the beginning, klerigi Group has been an everyday epiphany. This is why our name, klerigi (pronounced kle-ree-gee), means “to enlighten” in the language of hope, Esperanto. One of our first successes was to be able to partner up with Hispanic Business Initiative Fund, a nonprofit economic development organization, where we are able to help clients with their strategy and marketing planning.
Q: What is the toughest thing about getting to the top / staying on top in your industry specifically?
A: Our firm is in the consulting industry, which is a very competitive industry; however, we are not here to compete with McKinsey or Boston Consulting because we don’t have the same type of clients. Our clients are foreign investors wanting to start or expand their business into the United States. This is why we have a partnership with the U.S. Department of Commerce.
I would say that the toughest thing about getting or staying at the top is innovation. We need to keep our staff knowledgeable, this is why most of our staff have MBAs, or are in the process of obtaining an MBA, but most importantly, they are all entrepreneurs or have had businesses in the past. In our niche consulting practice, we need to have the education as well as the experience in order to bring top-of-the-line, applied value to our clients.
Q: Where do you see your industry heading in the next 5 years?
A: According to a recent Businessweek article, The U.S. market for management consulting grew 8.5 percent last year, to $39.3 billion. The fastest-growing areas: marketing and sales (25.6 percent), operational improvement (11.3 percent), and technology (10.1 percent). However, specific to us is the number of foreign investors coming to the U.S.
A recent government campaign by the U.S. Department of Commerce was launched, called Select USA, where investors are encouraged to come to the US by opening businesses and creating jobs, therefore, our type of work is definitely growing rapidly.
Q: What do you plan on doing / changing in order to keep growing in this time period?
A: We have added 2 other divisions to our firm. So we now have 3 divisions: Consulting, Business Brokerage and the EB5 Investing Division. We wanted to design our firm by being the number one stop for foreign investors wanting to start, expand or buy businesses in the U.S. So, now we offer our clients the opportunity to buy businesses, and the ability to redesign them.
For example, you know how a person buys a house that is below their budget, so they can then flip it or renovate it? Well, we do the same but with businesses, and what we do, for many of clients, is just that – renovate the strategy and rebrand an already established business. This is why we saw the need for a business brokerage division to be attached as part of our firm.
Q: What does ultimate success look like to you? How will you know when you’ve achieved it?
A: Ultimate success for me is making God happy. How? By ensuring everything done in our firm and in my life is done correctly and ethically every single day.
I absolutely love what I do on an everyday basis because we are helping people shape their future through their present business decisions, so that for me is already ultimate success.
Q: What do you think will be the biggest challenge facing entrepreneurs in the near future?
A: Focus. Entrepreneurs happen to have many great ideas, however, they (we) easily get distracted by the next big idea, instead of focusing on one great idea they had. So focus is the key for any type of success.
Q: What one piece of advice would you give to someone just starting out in your industry and wanting to make it to the top?
A: Plan, plan, plan, educate yourself, and thoroughly execute. There is an entrepreneurial bubble happening and we see many new businesses out there. However, at least 50% fail in their first year due to lack of planning, and due to not knowing how to monetize. Therefore, I would suggest entrepreneurs to do their homework, but to also execute, because something I have seen happen too many times is a lot of planning but no execution.
And one last piece of advice: PATIENCE IS KEY. A business is not built from one day to the next, successful businesses come from years of hard sweat.