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Behind the List with Marianne Chester of mEnterprise SolutionsHelping businesses improve their bottom line

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Running and managing a successful business takes hard work, dedication and proper resources to stay on top and get the results you desire.

Throughout the Greater Lehigh Valley, there are management and coaching consultants with the experience and resources to help your business succeed. One that makes a significant impact in the Poconos is mEnterprise Solutions in Stroudsburg.

Here to answer this week's “Behind the List” questions is Marianne Chester, president and CEO of the consulting firm.

Lehigh Valley Business: How long has mEnterprise Solutions been operating in the region and what are its primary services?

Marianne Chester: mES, as we and our clients usually refer to the company, celebrated our 10-year year anniversary on March 6. … Over that period, we have been fortunate to have experienced year-over-year growth.

Our services can be cataloged as focused in the strategic services area. We provide consulting in strategic planning, including how to move from conception into implementation. Often this includes facilitating the development of goals and objectives and creation of dashboards for tracking progress.

One of our other key services is working and developing organizational culture that becomes the backbone for how a company will meet its challenges and growth opportunities.

While this is an area that can be given a lot of lip service, from experience we enjoy working with companies that get the significance of how culture influences absolutely every aspect of how their business runs and conducts itself.

It's also no wonder that companies that maintain a focus on culture tend to be successful over longer periods of time.

Other services include development of succession planning scenarios for both public and family owned businesses, change leadership and leadership development.

Because we have strong backgrounds in organizational development, we also facilitate conferences and retreats …

LVB: Do you offer consulting services solely in the Greater Lehigh Valley, or do you expand into other markets? Who are some of your most notable clients?

Chester: We don't solely operate in the Greater Lehigh Valley and have clients in the mid-Atlantic area and beyond. We like working in GLV because of the energy and buzz going on in the region and the rising potential that is occurring.

Some of our notable clients in the area include working with PPL as a sub-contractor developing a change management program, facilitating a strategic plan with D'Huy Engineering, facilitating a board retreat with Second Harvest Food Bank and delivering innovation workshops at the Da Vinci Center and Fairleigh Dickinson University.

LVB: What have been some of the biggest challenges and opportunities that you've encountered throughout your years in business?

Chester: Perhaps the biggest challenge comes down to devoting the right amount of time to business development and getting your name out there to potential clients. When you're a small consultancy swimming in a vast sea of potential competitors, including easily known large brands, it can be difficult to find your niche.

In the beginning, perhaps 75 percent of our time was spent getting our name out there by attending every type of function where we might be able to have a meet and greet. Over time, more and more of our work has come either from a company we previously worked with or through referral. This is probably the best confirmation that we've been doing a good job with our customer base.

LVB: How does your business directly stimulate the local economy?

Chester: As a consultancy, our biggest impact on the local economy is by helping those businesses we work with get better and improve their bottom line. By helping a business improve, there should be some positive consequences, such as growth, which will turn into job creation and all the associated benefits the local economy will get such as expanded tax base and the spending by those individuals.

We have also worked with a few incubator companies supported by Ben Franklin Technology Partners. Assisting in the development and launch of these companies has enormous downstream potential for the local economy.

Currently, we are working with a board assisting a family owned company working through succession planning for the next generation of ownership. By helping a family successfully navigate through this type of process can increase the odds that current nonfamily employees will maintain their jobs and increases the probability of new growth and new jobs.

LVB: What does the future look like for your business? Does it have plans for growth?

Chester: The future for mES looks strong. We continue to identify ourselves with the types of companies that can benefit from our services. Our plan is to be a resource available to businesses and organizations that we can assist as the Greater Lehigh Valley economic expansion continues.

The majority of our careers were spent in large corporations, where we individually had responsibility for guiding and running large departments or organizations. We don't plan on growing mES to a point where we are taking on vast number of employees.

However, we have and will continue to contract and collaborate with other individuals or companies to assist us when the project or situation warrants it.

We also plan to periodically conduct workshops focused on culture and innovation in the region for companies looking to improve in those areas.

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Christopher Holland

Christopher Holland

Christopher Holland is a researcher for Lehigh Valley Business and blogs on arts and entertainment in the region.

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