Welcome to this exclusive ValiantCEO Magazine interview with the dynamic and inspiring Sacha Walton. As a business strategist, founder of SWI Management Group, and single mother, Sacha has been on a remarkable journey of entrepreneurship for over 20 years.
Passionate about traditional and digital-age business, she has seen her company grow and evolve alongside her own personal development. From navigating setbacks during the pandemic to establishing a personal brand that has expanded her business ecosystem, Sacha is now a prominent voice in strategic business planning and entrepreneurial mental wellness practices.
In this interview, Sacha shares her experiences and insights on various topics, including the importance of morale in retaining talent, embracing technology for business growth, and the power of leading a company as a personal brand.
A published author, Sacha also discusses her passion projects and the life-changing potential of her books. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from an entrepreneur who has successfully navigated the challenges of business while staying true to her values and demonstrating the power of perseverance and resilience.
Check out more interviews with entrepreneurs here.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO GET FEATURED?
All interviews are 100% FREE OF CHARGE
Table of Contents
We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Sacha Walton: Hi! I’m Sacha Walton, a business strategist and founder of SWI Management Group, a strategic planning and event production company.
As a single mom, who has been in business for over 20 years, I understand what being diligent in creating a legacy truly means. Entrepreneurship can be challenging and rewarding at the same time. I have seen both sides of the coin.
Working a full-time job while managing a business, I found the value of investing my skillsets into a business venture. I started with event production when I volunteered to plan a non-profit event back in 1998. I love dating myself, but I realize that I’m in a great position to understand traditional business and conduct business in a digital age.
Evolution is the key to change, and I must say, I have grown along with my business. Our portfolio extended to working with corporations, small businesses, and private organizations in strategic business and event planning services.
In 2018, I was laid off from my full-time job, which fueled my plan of action to overcome this challenge. I increased my business portfolio to include government contracting for event services.
The business scaled quickly to six figures within the first 6-months of my layoff. I knew at that moment; full-time entrepreneurship was a YES for me. I remember having brunch with my daughter, who was 22 at the time, and telling her, this is the life I want to live.
Having the freedom to have brunch on a weekday and not having to request “time off” was very liberating. It has always been important for me to be an example for my daughter. Showing her that you can accomplish goals and make your dreams come true, even in the midst of chaos.
Speaking of chaos, my business experienced a major setback during the 2020 pandemic. The event industry was hit really hard, and I admit, going through the emotions of the situation had its grip on me.
As I fought through my own fears, worries, and functional depression, I found myself again through perseverance and resilience. Ironically, the pandemic opened up my eyes to a new business model by pivoting to leading my business with a personal brand.
I relaunched SWI Management Group in December 2021 with a personal brand. I now have this beautiful ecosystem with my brand and company with assets that bring in 7 streams of income.
As a brand, I lead my business as a business strategist, podcaster, international speaker, author, and mental wellness advocate for entrepreneurs. The new business model has opened up many opportunities for me to be a prominent voice in strategic business planning and entrepreneurial mental wellness practices.
I’m passionate about helping others, and I do it on a global scale. I help other individuals start and grow sustainable businesses with a strategic process that increases visibility and drives profitable results while managing mental wellness.
If you were in an elevator with Warren Buffett, how would you describe your company, your services or products? What makes your company different from others? What is your company’s biggest strength?
Sacha Walton: What a wonderful question, Jed. If I was in an elevator with Warren Buffett, I would describe my company as a business ecosystem that consists of a personal brand and company, SWI Management Group.
In this new age of business, visibility is an important component in driving results for the overall company. I lead my business as a personal brand and expert in strategic planning for entrepreneurs, small businesses, corporations, and non-profits.
Our services assist individuals in strategically planning their business ventures which includes marketing and branding, event planning, and developing leadership and team-building programs for corporations. We have initially created multiple streams of income within our cohesive ecosystem.
What makes my company different from others is its ability to navigate within different industries.
We are not a “niche” company; however, honing in on our skillsets and applying them within the structure of the business as well as utilizing corporate practices to a small business model; helps us stand out from among the competition.
We use traditional business methods paired with new digital business practices, which keeps us transitioning with technological advancements.
Quiet quitting, The Great Resignation, are an ongoing trend causing many businesses to struggle keeping talent engaged and motivated. Most are leaving because of their boss or their company culture. 82% of people feel unheard, undervalued and misunderstood in the workplace. In your experience, what keeps employees happy? And how are adapting to the current shift we see?
Sacha Walton: The Great Resignation has truly been a struggle for so many corporations. I have seen this with companies that I’ve worked with in terms of the development programs my company has written for them.
Fortunately, we have not had this experience within my business. My staff is small and we outsource to interns; however, the culture of SWI Management Group includes valuing our associates and partners.
The key to retaining talent within the company is through morale. I believe many businesses has gotten away from showing appreciation to their employees.
From budget cuts to focusing on increased performance with little compensation, companies fail to invest in the human capital as it relates to professional development, associate appreciation, raises, and team building within the corporate culture.
Many employees feel disengaged, unheard, undervalued, and so forth within the workplace amongst their supervisors and colleagues. When companies can invest in their employees through appreciation events, reward programs, and other morale building opportunities; they will see an increase in retention rates.
Through our corporate program, we develop leadership development programs and show companies how to train their associates for future advancement. The feedback we have received from some associates and their executives has been outstanding.
Everyone is excited about having the program. If corporations adopt the Maslow Hierarchy of needs within their business model and culture, it will shift them towards a solution for the problem with “quiet quitting.”
Online business keeps on surging higher than ever, B2B, B2C, online shopping, virtual meetings, remote work, Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for the year to come and how are you capitalizing on the tidal wave?
Sacha Walton: The surge of technological advancements are happening all around us. The rise of AI resources, web 3, and virtual reality are changing the pattern of business. I expect a greater shift in online business to become more robust in the year to come.
I am currently preparing my company to be more vigilant in educating ourselves and capitalizing on the tidal wave of change in this digital market. We are embracing AI and other resources to help us be more efficient and system driven.
Benefiting from SEO and algorithms will increase our online presence. Automating our processes to support the next wave of innovation will have us ahead of our competitors. Change is inevitable; either we are going to adapt or fall behind.
Falling behind is not an option for me.
Christopher Hitchens, an American journalist, is quoted as saying that “everyone has a book in them” Have you written a book? If so, please share with us details about it. If you haven’t, what book would you like to write and how would you like it to benefit the readers?
Sacha Walton: Christopher Hitchens’ quote is absolutely correct for me. If anyone would have asked me about writing books two years ago, I would have laughed. So far, I have written two books and with two more to write.
I have found the love of writing books because it gives me the freedom to show up as a thought leader. Most importantly, I have an opportunity to transform the lives of many business owners. As a business strategist, I believe the foundation of every industry is business; this includes the music industry.
My first book, “Beyond the Music: A Music Artist Entrepreneurship Guide”, was written to help independent music artists to navigate the industry with an entrepreneurial mindset.
The second book was released in September 2022, entitled, “The Ugly Truth About Entrepreneurship: Keys to Managing Mental Wellness”, this is my passion project and I love this book!
Mental health and entrepreneurship is rarely talked about in terms of a “niche” topic for entrepreneurs. Yet, they experience the most pressure with integrating family, life, and business for a cohesive lifestyle.
Life happens every day, and when it includes chaos, the entrepreneur is often left feeling stressed and experiencing burnout. I felt the need to be transparent with my story regarding how I faced the challenges of the pandemic.
I experienced the emotional rollercoaster and functional depression in a way I could have never imagined. Resilience and perseverance were the words I held onto to help bring change in my life.
The pandemic was actually a blessing in disguise. The feedback I’ve received about the book has been very uplifting. I’ve gained many opportunities to speak on this topic, and speaking at the Women RISE conference in Paris, France, was absolutely mind-blowing.
In your experience, what tends to be the most underestimated part of running a company? Can you share an example?
Sacha Walton: I believe what tends to be the most underestimated part of running a company is with the CEO not leading the company as a personal brand. There are many benefits for a CEO to show their face outside of the boardroom.
People love making a connection, and it is our human nature. When a CEO can understand this, no matter how small or large the company is, the public relationship or association can increase business visibility and profitability.
There are many CEOs who have embraced this model for their corporation, like Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Caroline Wanga, and Richard Branson. When their names are mentioned, we automatically know who they are and the company they own.
I have made this change in my business model. For years, I hid behind the company logo. The experience of the “brand effect” has increased the visibility of SWI Management Group since launching the personal brand. Our business is a kinetic entity.
It grows and moves with the energy we place in it. Becoming the face of the brand gives the company a personality that causes people to gravitate toward it.
There are many levels to running a company, but stepping out ahead of it as the face of the brand, brings more to the table.
On a lighter note, if you had the ability to pick any business superpower, what would it be and how would you put it into practice?
Sacha Walton: Hmmm, if I had the ability to pick any business superpower, it would be influence. I love superhero movies, and I imagine this superpower would come with a looming essence that permeates from my presence when I enter a room and is even more powerful when I speak.
I would have more clients than I could count and trillions in the bank. I would put this superpower to practice by empowering entrepreneurs to collaborate more, develop strategic partnerships, value their employees, increase their market share with ease, contribute to their communities, and value customer relationships.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Sacha Walton for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Sacha Walton or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page
Disclaimer: The ValiantCEO Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.