On the podcast today, our guest is Mara Shorr with Shorr Solutions (previously The Best Medical Business Solutions), a medical business consulting company here in Orlando. Mara owns Shorr Solutions with her father, and she is the Vice President of Marketing and Business Development.
I actually met Mara through Ashley Cisneros Mejia, who told us we needed to meet each other. Once we sat down and started chatting, it was like connecting with an old friend. On the podcast, she discussed topics ranging from building a business and marketing it to prioritizing your life. Mara not only helped launch Shorr Solutions, but she previously had a successful marketing agency called The Leone Company.
Our discussion felt like a business masterclass, and I loved hearing all her advice. Mara has some great philosophies, and it was so interesting chatting with her about her values and how she applies that to her business.
1. Running a successful business requires planning
Before working with Shorr Solutions, Mara owned her own marketing firm called the Leone Company. Mara’s company was hired to help market the small practice. Mara’s mother-in-law was the medical director, and her father ran the business aspects of the business.
After her stepmother passed away from cancer, Mara’s father had to shut down the practice and took some time off. Mara’s goal was to build a business her father could come back to when he was ready. While her father was away, Mara spent her time marketing the business by submitting writing proposals to trade magazines her father could work on, and conferences he could attend. “Things don’t come to you out of nowhere, there is a lot of hard work that goes into it,” Mara told me.
After about a year of doing this work for her father’s company, she realized she couldn’t grow two businesses at the same time, but wanted to join his business and continue helping him grow it full time. Because her father couldn’t offer her more money than she was making at the time, he gave her a 50/50 partnership to the business.
2. To have it all, you have to prioritize
“You can do it all and have it all, but not necessarily at the same time,” Mara told me.
For a really long time, Mara strived to have it all. She is a perfectionist and had a hard time finding worth if she couldn’t do something perfectly. While running her business, she has had to learn how to let go of perfectionist tendencies.
Part of building a successful business and having a life is to have good relationships and support around you, especially with your spouse. Mara told me her husband is so supportive of her career and helps her create a system of non-traditional roles in the house in order to help her succeed in her business. This way, Mara has more time to work on her business when she needs to since she might need to be pulled away outside of business hours.
Mara and her husband discuss what’s important to them and build their lives around what those important values are. Mara is the financial person. She pays all the bills and strives to bring in more money through her job. Her husband, on the other hand, handles some of the domestic duties, like preparing dinner and food shopping and the general errands that need to be run in the house.
Mara told me she and her father successfully work together too because they both bring a lot of different skills to the table. Which means they can work through differences without butting heads and rely on each other’s strengths. Plus, since he’s her father, they have both figured out ways together to make life work around their careers.
3. Check in on yourself
When Mara is feeling overwhelmed or anxious, she asks herself, “What is it that I have on my plate now, and what is serving me?” By checking in on herself a couple times of year when she is feeling frenzied, she is able to put into focus what she wants and needs to do for her company and life.
For example, she picked up so many things at the end of last year that she wasn’t getting anything out of personally or professionally. Once she took the time to look at the bigger picture, she was more easily able to let things go that weren’t serving her. It also helped put into perspective how she ran her business and where she needed help.
Mara told me that when you check in on yourself, “it’s important to find out why are you doing all the things you are doing. Does it make sense still? Are you going to end up resenting what you committed to?”
By checking in with herself, Mara tries to move away from the idea that being busy means you’re important.
4. Business development is important to grow your business
“When you are a small business, you feel like you have to do everything.” Mara told me, “You get caught up doing client work, that you don’t think about the next step of how to grow your business and continue working on the business development. However, the business development is what makes your company grow and brings in more clients and larger clients as you grow.” Mara and her father evaluated where they were with servicing their clients at the deficit of growing their business and sending out newsletters and other marketing tasks. That’s when they realized they needed to bring on another team member.
For Mara and her father, evaluating their business was very important. It allowed them to see where they were the most effective and where they were falling short. By doing this analysis, they realized where they were with servicing their clients (good!) at the deficit of growing their business (bad). To fix the problem, they decided to bring in a new team member.
This analysis also helped them see where problems with their brand were, which is what lead to the rebranding of The Best Medical Solutions. By creating the time to work on their business, they are able to continue to grow it successfully.
5. Collaboration is important in business
Mara stressed the importance of collaborating with other businesses. She believes “there is more than enough business to go around, so how can we all work together,” she told me, because “collaboration is better than competition.”
When you run a small business, your clients are important. But what’s even more important is to pick the right clients to work with because “not every client is for every person,” Mara said. That’s why “it’s important to know who the competitors and who else is out there to help clients that are not the right fit for you.”
To collaborate properly, you have to build the right community around you so the right opportunities do come along to collaborate. However, the term “community” is so personal to each person now. It doesn’t have to be geographic, it can be subject based or industry based. You might even find your community through an annual event or conference.
Collaboration also extends to how you hire and work with employees. Mara explained to me that she learned a lot from a previous boss who told her that their company didn’t expect her to work for them forever, but while she did work there, it was important for her to do the best work for them that she could. In return, they would do whatever they could to give her value in exchange. Mara now uses this philosophy with her hires. She knows the working world is different today, but that doesn’t mean relationships can’t be valuable for a period of time.
About Mara Shorr
Mara Shorr, BS, CAC II-X, is the partner and vice president of marketing and business development for Shorr Solutions. A Central Michigan University alumni ambassador and fellow alumna, Mara brings a decade of marketing and communications experience to the company. She is a Level II through X Certified Aesthetic Consultant, utilizing knowledge and experience from her position as the Director of Marketing for a leading dermatology and cosmetic surgery practice in South Florida, as well as her days owning her own marketing firm, The Leone Company. Focusing on both internal and client strategies in traditional and new media, Mara brings her background in marketing and development into the mix from her time in public television, public radio, Enzian Theater, and the Florida Film Festival. She was a nominee for the Orlando Business Journal’s 2013 “40 Under 40,” and was awarded the 2013 Distinguished Young Alumni from Central Michigan University. Mara has written more than a dozen industry publications and speaks for more than a dozen organizations and conferences each year.
Links from the Show
Shorr Solutions Website
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Shorr Solutions on YouTube
Small Business Development Council