All Articles Tagged "conley consulting group"
MEET Denise Conley: Headquartered in the San Francisco area, Denise Conley is a business owner who not only graduated from Harvard University cum laude, but who is also leaving big footprints in the male dominated real estate industry. Conley is also a real estate economist specializing in structuring public-private development partnerships and economic development strategies. She heads Conley Consulting Group, headquartered in Oakland, California. Since 1979, she has assisted more than 150 clients with real estate matters, development and revitalization strategies, as well as forming public-private partnerships in development. Before founding Conley Consulting Group, she served as a principal in charge of real estate and economic development consulting assignments at a San Francisco-based economics firm, often directing multi-disciplinary teams of consultants.
MN: What business ventures were you involved with before you launched the Conley Consulting Group?
DC: Before I started the Conley Consulting Group, I worked for a larger consulting firm for 20 years, the last 13 as a principal (partner).
MN: Tell us about two mind shifts you had to make during your transition from employee to employer?
DC: First, I had to go from being basically a builder to being an engineer. As an employee, even by the time I was a principal, I could always rely on someone to take care of the mechanics of keeping the business running. Now, everything is fundamentally my job. Even with strong employee support, I’m still ultimately responsible for it all.
Second, as an employee, you are focused on your own work product, and less focused on the bottom line of the business overall. You have to earn the income (billable hours or accrual), but as a business owner you have to pay a lot of attention to managing contracts and collections. In a down economy, more clients seemed to have ‘lost those invoices’ or just paid them slowly than in the boom years.
MN: When did you start the Conley Consulting Group and what specific business need does your company fill for its clients?
DC: Conley Consulting was started in 2001. We are economists and economic planners, most often serving as a bridge between the public and private partners in development. Our clients are 75% public sector.
MN: Businesses cannot succeed without capital. What resources did you use to finance your business and how much did you initially invest in Conley Consulting Group?
DC: Initially, I used the money from my own savings and a home equity loan. The business was started in my home office. After three years, our success earned us a business credit line, which we used primarily to finance receivables.