Meet Dr. Money aka Dr. Stephanie Ardrey, President & CEO
Blu Diamond Capital & Blu Diamond Advisory
I started Blu Diamond Capital in 2012 to support commercial tenants seeking retail, industrial, and office spaces. I also felt that these smaller clients would benefit from the strategic real estate, finance and business solutions.
I later added Blu Diamond Advisory to go beyond the real estate focus and include firms needing to address capital, capacity, and customer acquisition strategies along with insights on how to remain relevant and competitive in a global economy. For many clients, they need more than a transactional relationship, but an overview of how their operations are structured, and insight on how to improve processes.
Imagine seeking capital and also finding capital resources within your existing operations; this becomes a double benefit by using Blu Diamond Advisory and Blu Diamond Capital as the solutions provider.
I hold Lean Six Sigma Black Belt – which is about process improvements. In this way I’m able to evaluate the client requirements and assist them with identifying process improvements to become more efficient. When this happens, the bottom-line is improved. Many times, these opportunities are presented when sourcing new capital for these clients.
Our customers are small and medium sized business owners covering a diverse set of industries seeking strategic insight for growth. Many have become entrepreneurs after working for organizations and lack the understanding that a paradigm shift is required to move from employee to entrepreneur. Mainly, now you are responsible for setting the vision and mission for your organization and securing all of the necessary resources to execute your business plans.
The number one issue remains working capital for small business entrepreneurs.
Too many entrepreneurs were not in a profit/loss role for their prior employer, therefore, they lack the understanding of what is now required to become successful entrepreneurs. They make so many mistakes around capital, capacity, and in some cases customer acquisition and retentions strategies.
My Biggest Challenge
Losing everything I had worked extremely hard to build.
My biggest challenge was after building a $250MM – capitalized billings valued firm – by way of a joint venture, and then having my JV minority shareholders commit fraud and steal revenues that my firm had earned which forced me into several years of litigation that eventually I had to let go due to the extreme costs.
I was devastated. I did not realize that some people are willing to lose to make sure you lose.
I had not imagined that all of my hard work would result in theft rather than a mistake I made. It was a tough lesson to learn. A UCLA leader helped me see the light.
My biggest takeaway is that after that period whenever I entertain a strategic alliance or joint venture, I make sure that we “date before we marry” – meaning that we create a joint project where our firms remain separate until we can determine that our visions and missions are aligned. If and when we establish that we share common interests, I will then entertain a more formal legal structure.
This approach has helped me to avoid a lot of missteps and to understand that what people say and do are not always consistent.
I also learned the importance of keeping a balanced life where I work and play hard. Life is more than my business.
Recent Personal Success
During the economic downturn in 2008-10, I was an executive and consultant working with several developers. I also started teaching as an adjunct professor and realized that each time I was assigned a class, I needed to revise the curriculum to make it more relevant. Yet, the tenured professors, mostly PhDs seemed to focus on the hierarchy which place more value on other PhDs. So, I started my doctoral studies and graduated with Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) degree and was accepted into law school the night before my graduation.
I always wanted to attend law school and wasn’t as interested in the DBA, but now instead of just one doctorate degree, I’ll have two once I complete the Juris Doctorate.
These educational pursuits further both my ability to structure specific deals, especially in the equity space as my only method for compensation is by assuming the legal role or operating a securities brokerage. Or when it comes to the various business negotiations and contracts which must be understood and completed to consummate transactions.
How We Keep Going
My dream since I was a nine-year old child was to become a successful international business tycoon. Through my work I have continued to build and add value to clients. It is said that if you can deliver value to enough people, you will realize the benefits of a successful growth firm.
I am motivated to help my clients launch, grow, and exit their ventures successfully! This means helping them navigate the capital, capacity, and customer requirements at each phase of development.
Our Small Business Services
At Blu Diamond Advisory by offering strategic consulting, I’m able to help clients identify the vision and mission of their business and personal goals and objectives and then create a road map to realize those outcomes. Blu Diamond Capital is where the actual purchase, sale, lease, capital, and brokerage related transactions are facilitated.
Professional Services: Strategic planning for Capital, Capacity, and Customers. Training and Educational programs. Growth strategy to improve current financial performance, and increase valuation.
I have spent probably 10,000s or more volunteer hours offering workshops and free consultations to would-be entrepreneurs. I have made donations to non-profit organizations, served on boards, volunteered for 10-years on the City of Los Angeles Community Plan Update.
I continue to offer educational opportunities and serve on boards.
In Five Years…
I will continue to build Blu Diamond Advisory and Blu Diamond Capital as my primary focus in the Newport Beach office.
I would like to see my clients grow beyond their existing operations, while relying upon my firm to assist as they consider their options.
I expect that we will become a more recognized firm able to take clients from idea to thriving sustainable businesses.
I’m Inspired By
Richard Branson, Elon Musk, and Rihanna are top entrepreneurs that I am inspired by. Each for a different reason, but the similar core is that they are mavericks and seem to relish those talents and not apologize for seeing things through a different lens. They have been able to continue their vision across multiple sectors. This confirms that my vision of “doing the same thing across sectors” is real and can be a successful business strategy.
Entrepreneurs, Listen Up
I too am a maverick and often gain inspiration to be comfortable in my own skin.
Continue to learn. Stay open and pay attention to market trends, constantly know and study your business markets, understand the lifecycle of the firm you’re operating, and notice when it’s time to pivot.
Don’t be afraid to ask for advice. Asking for advice is not a shameful act, but rather an act demonstrating that you are open to new insight beyond your own. You may have become blind to some parts of your business and a fresh perspective can contribute to your next growth cycle.
Be willing to look beyond the group think and limitations which typically inhabit organizations and prevent future growth. If everyone agrees with all of your thoughts and ideas, you are in danger of making major mistakes.
Embrace diverse thoughts and ideas, be willing to debate and uncover solutions you would have never considered or revealed on your own. Don’t allow your ego to cause you to lose the war.
Learn more about capital, capacity, and customer acquisition and retention strategies. You do not have all of the answers.
“God didn’t make a mistake by putting this brain in the body of a black female, he meant to do it” – Dr. Stephanie Ardrey