Written By: Christine Garcia
Natalie Greaves is the CEO and Founder of Greaves Communication Strategies, a Queens-based small business that makes marketing accessible for other businesses who want to better connect with their customers.
Natalie was born and raised in South Jamaica, Queens, New York. She first got her start over 20 years ago during the ‘.com’ boom when companies were quick to take their businesses into the online world. Natalie says that at the time it gave her the “opportunity to get an understanding of how the internet connects people and allows them to create a sense of community.” Working in the PR business she learned how good stories were told, and how companies can better promote themselves simply through good storytelling. This desire to essentially help businesses achieve this is what led Natalie to become a consultant 5 years ago.
The consulting process is quite simple: Natalie asks her clients a series of questions regarding what it is that they want to achieve as well as their current strategies to ultimately get an idea of where they are currently and how they can elevate themselves and their business to a higher level.
These series of questions include questions such as: “who do you ultimately want to reach, who is your audience”, “what is the outcome”, etc. Once Natalie is able to develop an idea of what the answers to those questions are, she is then able to help her clients “come up with practical ideas of things that are acceptable and affordable and things that they can do as of that particular moment to start promoting their businesses.” Natalie thinks that this is especially important as marketing can be a very intimidating task to take on for some business owners. However, all it takes is utilizing time to their best advantage and figuring out what works best for them and is the best fit in the long run. Natalie essentially sees the process as holistic and hopes that others will as well.
Given the holistic nature of her practices, Natalie’s business follows the tagline “helping do gooders with great ideas.” She realizes that people want to put their time and effort into ideas that not only help others but also provide a sense of purpose and the only way to do that is through good ideas that not only benefit everyone involved, but also eliminate additional stress factors.
But, Natalie could not get to where she is without the influence of others on the way. Although she does not think there is a single individual that she could single out as her complete inspiration, Natalie does say that working with Ying Zhou from the Tech Incubator and participating in courses for over the past 3 years has really helped her improve her business and get it to where it is now.
She even says that Ying’s “ ability to continue to give and support and feed the innate potential in every single business idea that comes through to the Tech Incubator [is] a wonderful quality.” Not to mention that as a native New Yorker, Natalie is more than aware of the endless amount of opportunities that the city has to offer, not only in certain positions, but even in having certain people presented to you that can help as well.
However, despite these influences and opportunities, Natalie also carries her own qualities that have contributed to her success. One of these qualities is simply that she listens. Natalie even says, “you can’t tell great stories if you don’t know how to listen.” She also thinks that listening is essential in order to not burn yourself out. She says, “there are times where you’re really going to have to just be quiet and open your ears and figure out what’s happening in the world, what conversations are happening, how people are feeling and that requires you to sit back and listen.” In other words, instead of immediately tackling a task and working on it until you no longer can, she says it is important to sit back and listen so that you can approach situations in a calm manner.
Nevertheless, failures are inevitable and something that Natalie has recently learned about failures is that “the real definition of failure is never even trying.” Having this perspective has allowed her to see instances where certain things didn’t work out as learning experiences and thus, not be so hard on herself about it. But, Natalie does believe that as you try and test things out that you should know what your goals are in terms of what you want your business to become. This is important so that you are not overworking yourself nor pushing yourself towards the point of no return.
Natalie is always open to new ideas however. She even says that she is at a stage right now where she is open to opportunities. However, she could not have gotten to this point without Ying and the help of those who work at the Tech Incubator. She even recalls, “I think one of the conversations that I had in discussion with Ying at the Tech Incubator earlier this year was what would I be open to doing with my business and at the time I said I’m still feeling out going in this one direction and I’m not sure where it’s going to go and what ended up happening was here I am helping out businesses through the Tech Incubator and it really has been an opportunity for me to do what I love but on a completely different plane and through a new platform.”
For those starting out or in the same position she was just a couple of years ago, she advises to just be yourself and to never be afraid to ask for help or look for additional assistance. She says, “knowing who you are, what you enjoy, how you do whatever your gift is, however you share it with the world and then just really believing in yourself that is the key.”
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