With years of experience helping business owners in many industries, Bill Sorenson’s passion lies foremost in solving problems for his clients. He enjoys helping business owners learn the key to success for their business. Read on to find out how Bill will inspire the change at this year’s National Women’s Business Conference hosted by NAWBO next week.
Q: Tell us a little bit about you.
I’m originally from Virginia and now reside in Jacksonville, Florida. I recently celebrated my 10th wedding anniversary with my wife, Julie, who will be coming to the WBC with me. We have two boys, ages 3 and 6. I enjoy music and play harmonica, guitar and piano.
I am a Principal with Heritage Capital Group, Inc., a middle market investment banking firm based in Jacksonville. In that role, I consult with businesses to enhance their value and I assist owners who want to sell their companies or buy companies. I also support our sister company, Business Valuation, Inc., with valuations for multiple purposes, including gifting, taxes, supporting buy/sell agreements or selling a business. Prior to joining Heritage Capital Group, I served as a director of management consulting services for an engineering and management services contractor and as a manager for the middle market consulting division of Deloitte & Touche, LLP. Throughout my professional career with these firms, I’ve most enjoyed helping my clients solve problems. I work mostly with privately held companies and many family-owned companies. I have a B.B.A. from Virginia Tech and an M.B.A., with a concentration in operations and management information systems, from Purdue University. I am a FINRA Series 79 Limited Representative—Investment Banking.
I am passionate about helping people in need. I am a member of the Board of Directors for Dignity U Wear, a national non-profit organization focused on serving veterans, children and women in crisis. I’m also a member of the Rotary Club of Jacksonville and work directly on youth programs and a global initiative to train ophthalmologists in Africa. I am a graduate of the Leadership Jacksonville Class of 2015.
Q: What’s next for you and your business, and how will you get there?
Within my business, I’m allowed to build my own client base. My goal is to increase the number of VSA engagements I facilitate with clients. I am aggressively telling the stories of success that my clients have had with the VSA process. My method of delivery in the VSA is focused on engaging client teams to ensure the success of the event. Some of the best people who sell my services are my past clients. NAWBO National Board Member Teresa Meares passionately believes in the VSA process, because she saw it firsthand. She’s one of those terrific clients who is always happy to tell other business owners why the process worked for her and why they should explore using the VSA for their own organization. Fortunately for me, any business can be a client, so any interaction I have with a business owner gives me the opportunity to tell them about the VSA and how it can help. Interestingly, I’ve learned more about selling my own services when I’ve conducted VSAs on marketing and sales processes for my clients. I’m putting that knowledge to use so I increase the value of as many businesses as I can reach.
Q: What are some things you’d like to see changed for women entrepreneurs?
I’ve worked with many entrepreneurs, both men and women, who were looking to improve their business or even sell their business. Entrepreneurship takes real courage. I’d like to see women entrepreneurs viewed through the same lens as male entrepreneurs. I don’t think they consistently get that treatment now. I think that is evident in two examples. First, many studies suggest that, even today, women business owners find more challenges in raising capital than do men business owners. This is a failing of capital institutions. Second, if a woman-owned venture fails, many times, the fact that it was woman-owned is cited as a factor when that same factor isn’t cited for a male-owned business. The fact is entrepreneurial pursuits fail. The best entrepreneurs don’t fear failure, and the most successful likely experienced one or more failures on the way to realizing his or her success. For the best woman entrepreneurs to succeed, they need to believe that failure isn’t a dead end, but simply a stepping stone to success. Investors, advisors and peers need to support a woman entrepreneur through success and failure as they would a male entrepreneur. I’d like to see that change.
Q: We live and work in an environment of constant change…how have you learned to embrace change?
I love this question, because it is central to the value of the service I provide to my client. The VSA process is focused on the delivery of value to the customer. Through the VSA process, I help my clients define or reconfirm the values they deliver to their customers. Next, we work to measure their processes against the ability to deliver the expected value of their customers. The best companies always keep value in mind. As soon as that perspective is lost, customers will find it elsewhere. When a company knows the value it delivers and measures it through a controlled process, it can handle any kind of change. In the right environment, the company’s team reacts to change by first measuring the impact on the delivery of value and then reacting to the change in a way that will protect or enhance that value. I remind my clients that change will always happen.
Q: Why is a conference like this one for women entrepreneurs critical?
The WBC is very important. A large conference for woman business owners shows that strength in the enterprise of women’s business. It demonstrates the viable opportunity for wise investors. Here is a conference hall full of successful woman entrepreneurs who can take placed capital and create value with it. Secondly, a conference like this allows new woman entrepreneurs to see the success of other woman entrepreneurs. It is an opportunity to hear how other women entrepreneurs used failure as a stepping stone to success. The challenges are greater for woman entrepreneurs. This conference provides a network of people to help women overcome those challenges and inspire confidence.
Q: If women walk away from your presentation with one thing, what do you want it to be?
I want them to walk away from my presentation understanding that there is a tool that will enable them to tackle the multitude of issues they face as owners that can be so overwhelming. No matter how successful the business, there are always opportunities to improve. The key is prioritizing those improvements by knowing which will have the most impact on your ability to deliver value to your customer. More importantly, those are the same improvements that will increase the value of the owner’s equity in the business.
Watch Bill’s video message for you here.
You won’t want to miss Bill and all the other amazing speakers who will be at the National Women’s Business Conference, September 27-29 (Leadership Boot Camp on the 27th and the Conference on the 28th-29th), in San Antonio, Texas.
View complete conference agenda here.