Denise Merritt, President and CEO, Merritt Business Solutions, Apopka, FL
Q. What did you want to be when you were a little kid?
A. When I was younger, I used to say I wanted to run a beauty parlor, and I have no idea why. Later it was more about survival, so just reaching adulthood was the goal.
Q. What does your company do?
A. We specialize in navigating the complexities of the HR services landscape. Our primary aim is to assist business owners in finding essential employee administration and business services that foster growth and meaningful relationships.
We understand the unique challenges faced by small to midsize and minority businesses. As a result, we offer customized solutions tailored to their specific needs, addressing the difficulties they may encounter in finding suitable options. Our mission is to simplify their journey, provide valuable education, and open doors to new opportunities.
As a support and ally to our clients and community, we adopt a consultative approach that respects where they currently stand and where they aspire to be. We guide them toward success and growth while ensuring they receive assistance.
Q. How long has your company been in business?
Six years in September 2023.
Q. Can you tell us about why and how you started the company?
A. I had reached a point in my career where I was bored with what I was doing. I needed to be challenged and to grow. The politics of big corporate business disheartened me. I knew there must be a better way to do things. Motivated to help enterprises, predominantly minority-owned, it dawned on me that I could start my own business, do things differently and help more people.
Q. Hat has been your biggest business challenge in the past year?
A. Growing my team and getting the right people in positions is critical to any business. We hired three new employees and worked to develop them into the roles that best suit their talents. It is an ongoing process as the employees must enjoy what they do and feel successful in their endeavors. We continue looking for ways to help them grow professionally and personally and have created a culture and environment of authenticity.
Q. What is one thing that makes you stand out from your competition?
A. We have developed a signature discovery process that helps us identify the client’s needs. Once we have those, we turn to our vetted vendors to find solutions for those needs. But to me, the real difference is that we stay with the clients once they are onboard to ensure everything is delivered. I am sure you have experienced this scenario: You meet with a very sharp and savvy salesperson, they sell you the world, and when you begin to use the service or product, you realize you are not getting what you signed up for or even paid for. We ensure that does not happen, and we check in quarterly with our clients to verify that the vendor is working on their needs. If not, we get involved and make it happen!
Q. What do you wish you had more time to do?
Travel! I look forward to seeing more of the world and experiencing different cultures. There is so much to learn from others.
Q. What’s your favorite place in the world you’ve ever visited, and why do you love it?
A. Such a tricky question to answer! There are so many great places. I always say wherever my friends are is the best place to visit. But if you are looking for an actual place of wonder, I would say Rome, with all its rich history.
Q. What is one piece of business advice you would offer your LGBTQ+ peers?
A. It would be the best advice I received as I started my business: Get involved with your local community. Businesses become successful through collaboration with one another. And supporting each other and our community is more important now than ever. Our businesses must become wildly successful so our voices can be loud and proud over all the noise surrounding our community.
Get involved with the NGLCC and use the resources they offer, and if you have an affiliate chamber close to you, join that as well. Support our community and our community will support you!
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