NetWorks Small Business Profile – Intelligent Ethos

The NetWorks Sports Small Business Profile is a brief vignette that provides a closer look at companies founded by individuals who have been involved in the sports industry at some point in their career.  These business owners will share their journey as an entrepreneur as well as insight for those of you interested in starting your own venture.

NetWorks Small Business Profile on Intelligent Ethos and its founder, Dana Winbush

Name: Dana Winbush

Title: CEO & Chief Strategist

Company Name: Intelligent Ethos, Inc.

Company Website:



When did you start your company and what was your inspiration for starting it?
Intelligent Ethos was officially incorporated in May 2010.  I am very passionate about entrepreneurship, and I had been trying to find my place along this path for some time.  After a long career in the workplace, with many ups and downs, I finally concluded that launching my own business was the only option that was acceptable for me.  I am equally passionate about seeing other entrepreneurs find success, and my company is designed to do just that.

What’s your Elevator Pitch?
Intelligent Ethos is a proven and efficient resource that substantially impacts short-term success and long-term growth of small businesses by generating steady and consistent revenue for you. Exhibiting the highest standards of excellence, we create tangible results in the form of business relationships and contracts.

What is your favorite part of owning your own business?
My favorite part of owning a business is having the freedom and flexibility to execute my vision every day and to conduct business with people that I choose.

Tell us about your career before you became your own boss.
After beginning my career in account management for national and global telecommunications companies, I transitioned into business development and sales for small businesses in 2002. Representing a human resources outsourcing firm and a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) provider, I have cultivated extensive relationships in the small business community, federal government contracting market, and the professional and trade association sector.

Were you previously involved in the sports industry?  If so, what capacity?
My sports history includes being the Head Manager for the Vanderbilt University Women’s College Basketball Program in 1994-1998 under Head Coach Jim Foster. During that time, we achieved one SEC Tournament Championship, one Elite Eight, and two Sweet Sixteens. I was also a team manager for the USA Basketball Training Camp for the World University Games and the Jones Cup in 1997.

What was your goal when starting the company?  Has that changed?  What is your long-term vision for your company?
When I started the company, my purpose was to help small businesses generate revenue so that they could survive, grow, and stabilize their businesses. The intent is to do this by building and managing customer relationships. At this time, in order for my own company to stabilize quickly, I need to work with more established companies. So, my current offering is more ideal for companies that have been in business at least 3-5 years instead of start-up companies. My long-term vision is to be able to support both types of companies.

What is it like running your own company?  Give us a “day in the life.”
I absolutely love running my own company. I love it! It’s all mine. I choose what I do every day. I work harder and I am more focused than ever. Each day, these are the things that I am focused on:

- Client Services and Client Satisfaction
- Positioning for Growth
- Financial Responsibility
- Investing in Relationships
- Building Solid Infrastructure

What are the greatest challenges of owning your own business?
The challenge of owning a business is that it’s a never-ending juggling act. You must review your priorities each and every day. There is no such thing as ‘coasting’. It’s always a grind.

What has been the biggest surprise you’ve had in being an entrepreneur/business owner?
One of the biggest surprises I’ve had in being a business owner is my feeling guilty or uncomfortable about taking ‘breaks’.  For the first couple of weeks, I literally would rush through meals because I was so anxious to get back to work.  I have now created mechanisms to make sure I take care of my physical health, not letting the business run me down.

What are the greatest rewards of entrepreneurship & business ownership?
The greatest rewards of owning my own business are freedom of creativity and business strategy, flexibility to change direction or priorities at any time, and choosing and controlling my work environment.

Is there a mentor (or mentors) that has helped you along the way?
I have many, many mentors that have helped and continued to help me along the way. The majority of these mentors are business owners or CEOs of large and small companies and non-profits. I have learned about their styles, and I know which mentor to talk with based on the particular need I have at any time. These mentors have greatly accelerated my professional growth, they have helped to shape my ability to make strong decisions, and they inspire me to continuously move forward and to aim for very big goals.

Please share any advice for readers who are considering starting their own business.
If you are considering starting a business, these are my three recommendations for you:
- Start sharing your business ideas & plans with potential customers as soon as possible. Knowing that you can get customers right away boosts your confidence in making the jump into entrepreneurship.
- Set-up your basic business infrastructure well in-advance of providing services or selling products. Infrastructure includes your business entity (Corp, LLC, etc), Federal Identification Number, Bank Account, Corporate Credit, and other related things. 
- Set-aside and stockpile as much CASH as you possibly can. Cash flow is King (or Queen) in early business survival. 
- Study pricing to make sure that you set your pricing appropriately. You do not want to undervalue what you do or what you are selling.

Favorite Book: The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann

Favorite Movie: Gladiator

Hobbies: Cooking and Swimming

Favorite Place to Vacation: Beaches in the Caribbean or Mexico

What’s playing on your iPod: I don’t have one. :) Otherwise, Pink

Android or iPhone:

Mac or PC: PC

Favorite TV Show: Criminal Minds

Favorite Restaurant: Oyamel in Washington, DC

Favorite Quote: Carpe Diem


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