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“Fostering a positive environment where success grows” With Charlie Katz & Brandi Gregge

Fostering a positive environment where success grows — Having a strong culture sets the foundation for your team to handle all things. When you have that positive environment from the start, it makes navigating the challenges that much easier. As part of my series about the “Five Things You Need To Be A Highly Effective […]

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Fostering a positive environment where success grows — Having a strong culture sets the foundation for your team to handle all things. When you have that positive environment from the start, it makes navigating the challenges that much easier.

As part of my series about the “Five Things You Need To Be A Highly Effective Leader During Turbulent Times”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Brandi Gregge.

Brandi Gregge, FNP-BC is a licensed nurse practitioner, and the founder and medical director of Mint & Needle, a medical aesthetics practice based in Middletown, Delaware. Mint & Needle is an aesthetics boutique with a wellness focus, helping women put their best face forward by achieving natural aesthetics results with a variety of customized facial aesthetics procedures and treatments to address skin concerns in a minimally-invasive nature. Brandi was drawn to aesthetic medicine to help women look and feel their best. Brandi also has her own medical-grade skincare line, EmpowerMINT™ Skincare which focuses on providing effective, medical-grade products to enhance skincare and self care at-home.

Thank you so much for your time! I know that you are a very busy person. Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

I came from a resource-restricted environment, so I learned the importance of hustle and looking your best to feel your best early on. My initial draw to medicine and becoming a nurse practitioner was closely related to the unfortunate health-related issues that hit my family throughout my adolescence. This career path helped me explore science and health more. My passion for aesthetic medicine grew as I saw the impact aesthetic medicine has — not just on the outward appearance of my patients, but also for the internal transformations as a result. This resulted in me opening my aesthetic medicine boutique focused on natural results with a wellness mindset.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?

A couple weeks before I opened my business, I had broken my knee and needed surgery. I decided to have the surgery then so I didn’t have to worry about it after we had already opened. Instead, I ended up in a boot with crutches hobbling around trying to see patients. So for future reference, avoid breaking your knee…. If that is not possible, then at least I know now how to best handle it and keep the business on track.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

Absolutely! My mother is the first to come to mind. She’s always believed in me and served as my biggest cheerleader. Growing up in the resource-restricted environment, my mother always taught me that while life may be difficult at times, we need to make sure we keep our confidence high and put on a brave face and that is how we will get through it. Owning a business isn’t always easy going — it has major challenges, but I try to face those challenges with the same attitude from my adolescence.

Extensive research suggests that “purpose driven businesses” are more successful in many areas. When your company started, what was its vision, what was its purpose?

Our company vision and purpose hasn’t changed from when we started because it means so much to me, not only as a business owner, but as a nurse practitioner and human. I’ve mentioned how much I value confidence and the purpose of my brand and business embodies that. I believe in natural aesthetics that promote inner confidence and empowerment. Fun fact — this is also why I named my skincare line EmpowerMINT™ Skincare

Thank you for all that. Let’s now turn to the main focus of our discussion. Can you share with our readers a story from your own experience about how you lead your team during uncertain or difficult times?

Well the most recent uncertain time was during the shutdown due to COVID-19. I made sure I was very open and honestly communicating with my staff. Even though the news was grim, they needed to know the truth. Being open and honest made it easier for us to come up with a “game plan” on how to move through this. I made sure to do all the research for unemployment because I take care of my staff first, business second. It was essential to me to make sure they were taken care of financially and also had the job security when the shut down was lifted. I also made sure to educate them on everything they needed to know for safety in the office, whether it was hand sanitizer, temperature checks, and sterilizing patient treatment rooms.

Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the motivation to continue through your challenges? What sustains your drive?

No, I never considered giving up, at any point in my life. I live my life with the mentality that giving up is simply not an option. When I was going through school to become a nurse and then a nurse practitioner, I had to get through. Some days it was next to impossible, but giving up was not an option for me. It was the same when I opened my business. The days have been long and there have been some very difficult times, but what keeps me motivated is keeping the goal in mind and not giving up until I get there.

What would you say is the most critical role of a leader during challenging times?

Communication is critical even in the good times, but especially in the challenging times. When your team is aware of the challenges and you work together through open and honest communication, it can make even the hardest times, a little easier.

When the future seems so uncertain, what is the best way to boost morale? What can a leader do to inspire, motivate and engage their team?

I value my employees more than anything. Our team is what makes the business successful, so without a great team I wouldn’t have a great business. I always make sure they are heard and part of any process the business goes through. That way they feel as though they have a voice and that makes their love for the business grow too.

What is the best way to communicate difficult news to one’s team and customers?

I am a firm believer in running a business that encourages open communication, no matter how difficult that communication may be. I think this is the key to being a successful employer because so many employees feel as if there is a disconnect between them and their employer. I never want that for my employees, so the best way for me and my team to communicate is to talk often and openly.

How can a leader make plans when the future is so unpredictable?

If we have learned anything from this year, it’s that the future is always going to be unpredictable. I plan as if it IS predictable and then having some backup options ready if the first plan fails.

Is there a “number one principle” that can help guide a company through the ups and downs of turbulent times?

I strive to run my business with the mentality of “employees first, business second.” This has helped me run my business because by working together, we are a unit, a team, that runs like a well-oiled machine.

Can you share 3 or 4 of the most common mistakes you have seen other businesses make during difficult times? What should one keep in mind to avoid that?

One mistake I’ve seen other businesses make, and even I, myself have made, is trying to please everyone. I’ve learned that at the end of the day, you are not going to please everyone. Instead, when you’re trying to make everyone happy, you end up exhausting yourself. That impacts your business more than just trusting your gut and letting it be your ultimate goal. Do the best you can to deliver true value to the majority and accept that it won’t be good enough for some people. Another mistake is not having a set monthly budget. We can sometimes try to go above and beyond to have everything available to our patients, but we need to stay within a budget to be able to stay in business and successful — especially during difficult times. The third mistake I’ve seen goes along with a budget. Given the pandemic, we all had to figure out a budget strategy, both personal and business alike, in order to stay afloat. The best advice I can give is setting up an emergency bank account that has 6 months worth of funds needed for your business. This is a great way to make sure if you hit a difficult time or even a pandemic, you have your business needs covered for at least 6 months.

Generating new business, increasing your profits, or at least maintaining your financial stability can be challenging during good times, even more so during turbulent times. Can you share some of the strategies you use to keep forging ahead and not lose growth traction during a difficult economy?

I think the best piece of advice I can give that I also use myself is to pivot when needed. Sometimes the plan you had in your mind needs tweaking due to life’s happenings and sometimes you need to abandon one plan and move onto the next. This is why backup plans are essential in business. Life doesn’t always go according to the one plan we have in mind, so as business owners, we need to learn to adapt with what life throws at us. I also pay special attention to trends because that can help predict what your business might look like, both short and long term.

Here is the primary question of our discussion. Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things a business leader should do to lead effectively during uncertain and turbulent times? Please share a story or an example for each.

Communication with staff and patients — whether via email, in-person or on social media. Communication is crucial.

Full transparency with staff — I find that by informing my staff I’m able to be a better leader and business owner.

Fostering a positive environment where success grows — Having a strong culture sets the foundation for your team to handle all things. When you have that positive environment from the start, it makes navigating the challenges that much easier.

Being flexible in your business — Whether it is moving up business plans to start phase 2 when phase 1 comes to a halt and it is out of your control (like with COVID), or being receptive to patient’s feedback to constantly improve — flexibility is key.

Reallocating funds where necessary — Ideally having that 6 month reserve for your business but if that doesn’t exist then performing an honest business assessment to reassess and prioritize the budget and plans to accommodate the current situation as best as possible.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“To be a good leader, you have to be a good communicator. As a leader, you have to communicate your intent every chance you get, and if you fail to do that, you will pay the consequences.” — William McRaven

This is relevant to my life because I strive to be the best leader I can. My team relies on me and pushes me to be greater and that motivates me to be as successful as I can.

How can our readers further follow your work?

Mint & Needle can be found on Facebook www.facebook.com/MintandNeedle and on Instagram www.instagram.com/mintandneedle.

I can be found on Instagram at www.instagram.com/theblondeclinician

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!

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