As you know, these have been unprecedented times for us all. Everyone has had to adjust to a new normal in their personal and professional lives. As a seasoned entrepreneur, I have come through many obstacles in leading and growing businesses. 


Coming out of college, I started working at Toyota and was on the fast track to a successful corporate career. I became immersed in learning lean principles from Akio Toyoda and first generation lean experts. Although these principles were being applied to the manufacturing industry, I started having thoughts of building my own businesses using lean principles in other industries outside of manufacturing. Some people didn’t think this was possible, but it didn’t break me. I did not let that discourage me from launching my entrepreneurial endeavours. In 2001, I left Toyota to start my own business.


The first business I launched was Stellar Enterprise which was a firm I used to launch subsidiary businesses, all using lean principles. Within the first three years, I opened 10 companies with total revenue surpassing $7M per year. However, in 2005 Hurricane Katrina hit the state of Louisiana where I was starting a large real estate investment project which was greatly impacted by this natural disaster. My businesses suffered a large financial hit, but this didn’t break me. I worked with my leadership team to reallocate resources and realign priorities to overcome this set back. 


In 2006, a great recession was on the horizon for the United States on the heels of a real estate boom. By the end of 2007, I had lost about 80% of my workforce and my entire executive leadership team but this did not break me. In 2008 with the support of a smaller, fully committed team we began to rebuild and reinvent ourselves in the midst of the great recession, the worst since the great depression. During this time, I wrote my book “Who Said So?” outlining the key principles it takes to build a value-centered enterprise based on my own experiences. As part of my company’s reinvention, I launched Michael E. Parker Enterprises and a suite of other businesses which now include: Value Centered Solutions, Jovance Professional Studios, City 1st Realty and Financial, That’s Clean Kitchen and You Are a CEO all built on value centered management principles. 


A few years later, You Are a CEO was launched – this business had been successfully growing by helping people focus on self-improvement and real change. However, this recent pandemic halted growth. Yet, similar to the other obstacles I have been faced with for the past 20 years being an entrepreneur, this will not break me. 


To all entrepreneurs, don’t let this break you! There is a way to survive difficult times like this one and I want to share it with you. My adversity hasn’t broken me yet, don’t let it break you. For more information about continuing to grow your business during a downturn, click here.