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Entrepreneurs: Know yourself first

By Roger Pierce

Understanding what you're really good at doing is the first step to becoming an entrepreneur. "After working in different offices for many years, I realized I have an innately organized, logical and methodical mind," entrepreneur Leslie Vine says.
Efficiency Expert Leslie Vine helps clients to improve internal operations. She found her niche by taking stock of her skills and experiences.

Through her company Vine & Associates (, she works as an efficiency expert helping firms with one to 50 employees to get more from their people, their technology and their software. Vine works with many law firms where operating efficiencies are mission critical.

"While working as a receptionist, legal secretary and law clerk during the '80s and '90s, I experienced the chaos and inefficiencies that drive growing firms crazy," she says. "I now help clients to avoid such dysfunction by working with them to improve their internal operations."


Vine helps her clients to make better use of systems, processes and training to reduce frustration and wasted time. "I help eliminate or automate repetitive tasks and figure out how a team can get the job done on time and on budget," she says. Her approach may include software training, revamping filing systems, re-designing internal organization charts or streamlining work flow.

She recognized her niche by paying attention to her skills, experiences and aptitudes. "Before starting my business, I realized that my unique combination of abilities and education [Vine recently completed her MBA] positioned me to become an efficiency expert, so that's the shingle I hung out for my business."

Vine recommends aspiring entrepreneurs take stock of their own talents and then explore the marketplace to identify who will pay for those particular skills. "By understanding my own strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, I'm able to identify and attract the clients and projects that will be a good fit for me," she says.

Now in her third year of business, Vine says she's planning to make better use of the freedom and autonomy entrepreneurship affords. "I want to spend more time in Latin America doing volunteer work, helping women to improve their standard of living by operating their own micro-businesses."

-- Entrepreneurship expert Roger Pierce trains people on how to start a small business in the Up & Running Biz Launch Program.

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