Julie and Corey started their company, SB PACE, due to the 2020 pandemic to assist small businesses. Since then, they have expanded into helping start-ups, companies looking to improve, and small business mergers and acquisitions. They wrote the book on small business disaster preparedness and continued to help small businesses by leveraging their knowledge and experience working for Fortune 500 companies and Big Four consulting firms. Julie and Corey are the experts small business owners turn to when looking for sustainable, long-term success.
Who are Corey & Julie?
Corey: Hey. I’m a Virginia native living in Richmond now, but I’ve bounced around a bit living in Florida, Georgia, and Alaska. I’m a big fan of the outdoors, whether it’s hiking, camping, hunting, or all three at the same time. I love to cook and spent a significant time working in and owning restaurants before getting into business consulting. I also enjoy working with my hands, whether that’s learning some new skill in my workshop or doing projects around the house.
Julie: Hi, I’m Julie! I grew up in Minnesota, but am an east coast girl at heart, having lived between New Jersey, Philadelphia, and now Richmond, VA for the past 20 years. I enjoy the outdoors (hiking, biking, running, exploring new areas), and traveling. I’m also an avid reader, focusing on books directed at self-improvement or learning new skills that will help grow our business. I love spending time with my family, which isn’t often enough with all of my siblings living on or near the west coast.
What is it that you do for your clients?
We teach our clients how to achieve long term sustainable growth for their small businesses. Because so many small businesses start as a hobby or passion project, it’s not uncommon for them to start their business without a solid foundation. We are experts at building strong businesses and at implementing growth strategies.
Who should hire/work with you?
We love working with passionate business owners who are ready to go from working in their business to on their business. We work with small business owners to help them structure a plan that gets them from where they are today to where they want to be, with achievable steps that show results. This also applies to those business owners who still have a full-time job and would like to make their side project or business their full-time career.
We also love working with the aspiring entrepreneur who is ready to start a business but doesn't know where to begin. We help to build solid foundations, ensuring that the business is built to last. We focus on starting strong and having a plan that takes you through the first year of operations.
How do you complement each other?
The strength of SB PACE is in the way we cannot only work together but also service our clients. Corey is analytical, logical, math-oriented, and process-driven. He can listen to a client to describe a problem, and his brain starts working through solutions almost immediately. Julie is strong on communication, asking questions, developing relationships, understanding how clients (existing and prospects) like to work and communicate. She’s patient and takes the time to build relationships. The result is that clients experience both the logical, process side of business and the essential relationship portion. Julie handles sales and marketing, a lot of strategy and planning. Corey handles infrastructure, back-office support, systems and process, and technology. The complementary skills of Julie and Corey is one of the first things clients comment on when working with SB PACE.
What is important to keep in mind when having a business with someone?
Always have an operating agreement. This protects the business, the partnership, and, most importantly, the friendship. Everyone goes into business thinking, “this will be great,” but the reality is it is almost always much different. People have different long term visions. They want different things for the business, and having something in place when you start makes it easier to have those conversations.
As part of our annual strategic planning, we complete a retrospective on how things are going, reviewing things like where we can communicate better, accountability, and direction for the business. You need to be able to talk about the good things and the bad, and you need to be able to do it openly. You have to be ready to hear difficult things, and you have to hold up your end of the partnership.
It’s easy to get off course if one or both people aren’t communicating, so even if the conversation is difficult, find a way to have it. And if there’s a friendship/relationship there that existed before the business did, you should find ways to make that a priority. Not everything can be about the business, or someone’s going to get resentful. There’s nothing wrong with having a life outside of the business.
What is your big goal? Where do you see yourself in 10 years from now?
Our big goal for SB PACE is to serve, touch, and/or inspire 1 million small businesses over the next 10 years. It’s a huge goal that requires us to be focused on delivering consistent and relevant content, expanding our network and overall reach, and having self-service programs available to small business owners. We are committed, and 100% believe the goal is achievable.