Bridging the Community Crisis/Healing Gap
Joi Unlimited, a Minnesota-based coaching and consultation firm is transforming to lead the way in crisis mediation and conflict management for colleges and communities. The company is scaling to provide unique solutions for guiding clients through overcoming social peril to the path to collaborative problem solving, as an outcome of CEO’s graduation from Founders Business Growth Bootcamp, Spring 2017 cohort.
In 2014, Founder & CEO Dr. Joi Lewis caught wind of the publicly released information about the challenges many communities dealt with in regards to their interactions and relationships with the local police departments, government, and other city officials. Soon after, news broke out about the shooting of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. For those not familiar with the event, Mike Brown was a suspect of a convenience store robbery on August 9, 2014. Policeman Darren Wilson received a suspect description over radio dispatch and encountered Brown a short distance away from the convenience store, which later resulted in a fatal shot that killed Brown. The reason for widespread uproar was due to controversy as to whether Brown was unarmed and compliant towards Officer Wilson, which led to accusations of police agencies’ use of racial profiling and criticism of their standards and procedures.
Dr. Joi noticed a lack of healing circles and coaching programs between communities and their city leaders to cope cohesively with traumatic events that initiates public debate about social and racial injustices. Therefore, Joi Unlimited set upon a mission to bridge that gap and serve the needs of those communities, especially whose residents are people of color and prefer seeking a safe space outside of the police and government agencies, in order to resolve their conflict.
Growing from version 1.0 to 2.0: From Solopreneur to Small Business Owner/Team Leader
Prior to attending the Founders Business Growth Bootcamp, Dr. Joi and her healing team had been in business for about 3 years. Although their business idea had grown due to tense social climate, the company faced one major challenge: meeting the demands of a growing market. Similar to a hamster on its running wheel, Joi Unlimited was a business driven by consumer demand, but struggled to keep up with it.
Initially, Dr. Joi joined the Founders Business Growth Bootcamp to learn how to effectively evaluate the financial statements in preparation for request in funding in the near future. However, the time spent with her mentors and the Founders team taught her that there was more to growing her company than seeking funds.
Under the guidance of Founders Business Growth Bootcamp, Joi Unlimited gained insights on how to transition from an operator to an owner of a sustainable business that can cater to the ever-growing needs of numerous communities by team expansion and supervision. Its biggest internal change was creating a pre-engagement process with a duration of three months for potential partners. This enabled Joi Unlimited to see if a prospect was a good fit for her vision of her expanded company, as well as making Dr. Joi’s implementation as team supervisor much smoother than expected.
“It can be difficult and challenging to do things by yourself, but it can also be difficult and challenging to expand. Getting that help along the way from them [Founders Business Growth Bootcamp] was very helpful, especially at times when the journey was interrupted by road blocks.”
-Dr. Joi Lewis
After completing the program, implementing new processes, and updating their business model to meet the demands of a growing market, Joi Unlimited has seen tremendous company growth as indicated by the formations of more partnerships and brought onboard two team members.
From Hamster to Zebra
The company’s ultimate goal is to become the “zebra” business in the crisis conflict and change management industry, which means dominating its niche market and strive to be the “FEMA” for people in all communities and collegiate in crisis situations to provide access to certified professional resources and healing, either in person with a coach or through online video sessions. Dr. Joi expects to deliver Joi Unlimited’s services to not only more communities within the United States, but also reach out across international waters. In this day and age of technology, there is no limit for accessibility of Joi Unlimited if one ever needs help in his/her crises.
“Build a community of peers who are also looking to build their growth, so you’re not doing it by yourself in isolation”.
-Dr. Joi Lewis