Member Spotlight: April Lancit
Founder of APRIL LANCIT & ASSOCIATES
APRIL LANCIT & ASSOCIATES is dedicated to providing Mental Health service and supports in the form of Couple Therapy, Family Therapy, and Individual Therapy.
April Lancit is a graduate of the Challenge Accelerator Program.
Can you please introduce yourself and your business and the date it was founded?
My name is April Lancit, and I am a licensed marriage and family therapist based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I am the CEO and founder of April Lancit and Associates, a private practice that offers mental health services and support. Our practice was established in July 2014.
What inspired you to start your own business?
What inspired me was my passion for listening and helping people with their mental health. I noticed that the black and brown community often lacked access to these services and I wanted to facilitate change within individuals, families, and couples by utilizing therapy. While my practice serves people from all walks of life, I believe it’s important to have representation for black professionals providing therapy services, as only 3% of licensed therapists in the US are black. Additionally, my own family inspired me to pursue this path.
How has your identity as a black woman business owner impacted your journey so far?
Initially, I was discouraged about opening my own therapy practice because I didn’t know many people who looked like me that were doing the same thing, and I lacked resources to guide me. It took a lot of trial and error to turn my dream into a reality. Television makes it seem like starting a business is easy, but there’s much more that goes on behind the scenes. I had to learn how to be an administrator and accountant and create a sustainable business model that could generate income and cover expenses, including rent and equipment. Running a business was challenging, especially without a professional business background. Some people were not forthcoming with information, so I had to conduct extensive research, seek mentors, and learn from others who had started similar businesses. It was a ground-up effort that depleted my savings account, but I trusted my faith and believed that people would benefit from my services. Ultimately, it was a rewarding and eye-opening journey that taught me how to do more than just therapy.
Can you share an example of how the Founders First accelerator program supported you in discovering new avenues for growth?
I found it helpful to see that I was on the right track with my business, thanks to the insights from Founders First. As a therapist in my business, I realized that there were other important aspects to focus on in order to grow and move to the next stage. Collaborating with other entrepreneurs who were also figuring things out helped me to understand the importance of working on my business. Taking a step back and reflecting on my progress from year one to now has been eye-opening, and I’ve realized that growth isn’t just about money, but also about what I’ve been able to accomplish during that time. Pitching my business to others has made me think deeply about my brand, target audience, and business goals. Although there have been some discouraging moments, such as people mistaking me for a student or discouraging me from owning my own office space, my goal is to own my own office building someday so that I can continue to grow my business the way I envision it. Even if others don’t see my vision right now, I remain committed to my goals.
Can you offer any advice for other entrepreneurs who are just starting their business journey?
I remember when I first signed up for the Founder’s First Challenge Program. At first, I was hesitant due to the commitment required. As someone who both works on and in my business, the time commitment meant potentially losing valuable time with clients. However, it ended up being tremendously helpful and made up for any fears I initially had. Despite feeling overwhelmed at first, I convinced myself that it was worth the effort. I recognized that it might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to focus on my business and its needs. If you’re feeling fearful about something, it doesn’t always have to be a negative thing. Sometimes fear can be an indicator that something new and exciting is on the horizon. You may need to push past that fear to achieve your goals or take your company to the next level.