Tammy Drost is the Founder and CEO of Drost Enterprises LLC and The Business360 Method®, a business methodology to help female entrepreneurs burnt out by operational and administrative inefficiencies create strategic, streamlined, and integrated business processes to scale their business successfully. Drost has worked in agency, corporate, and non-profit environments, providing globally diverse solutions across more than 24 industries. She was the National Brand Strategy Leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), where she also held leadership positions as a Brand Director, Head of Creative Operations, and Creative Director.
During her tenure at PwC, she facilitated a 200% increase in PwC’s brand performance (from $9.5B to $18.6B). She enabled PwC’s brand to reach Number one in its category by rebranding all products, programs, services, and marketing collateral. Drost launched a National Brand Champion training program to support PwC’s global rebranding effort- that was voted the World’s Leading B2B Brand in 2015 and Best Global Rebrand in 2011. She received the 2012 Pan-Mass Challenge Northeast Award for creative direction, branding, and marketing and was a
2010 PwC Chairman’s Award Nominee for PwC’s rebrand.
She also served as the Director of Brand Marketing Strategy at a small asset Upstate NY credit where she built the brand, digital, marketing, and social media operations from the ground up. She successfully led a complete rebrand, consolidating eight sub-brands into a comprehensive one-brand approach, increasing assets by 32.6% and membership by 12.6%. Drost served on the Board of Directors Board for Habitat for Humanity of Tompkins and Cortland Counties and is active in organizations that help women in business.
She holds an undergraduate degree in graphic design with a minor in business and marketing from Central Connecticut State University and post-graduate certifications at Cornell University in Business Strategy and Cornell Johnson Graduate School of Management in Marketing Strategy.
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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.
Tammy Drost: I’m Tammy Drost, the Founder and CEO of Drost Enterprises LLC. I trademarked The Business360 Method®, a business methodology to help female entrepreneurs burnt out by operational and administrative inefficiencies create strategic, streamlined, and integrated business processes to scale their business successfully.
With 20+ years as a Creative Director, Operations, Brand, and Marketing Executive in agency, corporate, and non-profit environments, I recognized that regardless of the organization’s size, the operational, business, branding, marketing, and communication challenges each organization faced were very similar.
Through a 360° approach, I spent my career implementing award-winning solutions for large, complex corporations. The process made me realize that if these solutions worked for large, globally matrixed organizations, they could be tailored and scaled to small-medium size businesses.
In 2019, I founded The Business360 Method® to equip female entrepreneurs with the knowledge, strategies, tools, resources, and support to build a strategic business foundation, grow a profitable business, and live their best life.
The Business360 Method® offers 1:1 coaching, a private Facebook community, and eight-week programs and group coaching in business, brand, marketing, and communications. We have an active blog and can be found on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Twitter.
I’m also available for speaking engagements and workshops tailored to your business goals.
2020 and 2021 threw a lot of curve balls into business on a global scale. Based on the experience gleaned in the past couple years, how can businesses thrive in 2022? What lessons have you learned?
Tammy Drost: Based on what I’ve learned about the need to be flexible, adapt, and evolve in uncertain times, I see small businesses surviving and thriving by implementing some of the things I recommend to clients and use in my own business, such as:
- Proactively collaborating with suppliers to get in front of supply chain issues such as manufacturing and transportation.
- Being transparent and educating employees, clients, and partners about changes your company is making to navigate the uncertain economic landscape better.
- Implementing and integrating technology and automation that frees you up to focus on business strategy and scaling the business.
- Diversifying marketing and sales channels.
- Expanding your online footprint to reach younger audiences and meet prospective clients where they are.
- Incorporating short-form video marketing, keyword, and SEO strategies.
- Developing and leveraging partnerships and co-branding opportunities to pool resources and expand your audience reach.
- Outsourcing specialized tasks to freelancers and gig workers to save on employee costs and benefits.
- Making your company culture a priority. Culture is just as significant as salary and benefits when recruiting and retaining employees.
- Using micro-influencers to help with scaling. Micro-influencers are cost-effective and collaborate with small businesses.
The pandemic seems to keep on disrupting the economy, what should businesses focus on in 2022? What advice would you share?
Tammy Drost: While the pandemic significantly impacted many small and medium-sized businesses, it’s essential to realize that many things can disrupt the economy in an environment of globalization. The key is being agile enough to respond so that your business can navigate the challenges.
My advice is never to get too comfortable with or locked into a specific business model and distribution channel. Always be ready to adapt and pivot quickly. It can make the difference between losing your business or evolving and taking it to another level.
Two industries hit particularly hard by the pandemic were the restaurant and fitness industries, causing many to close their doors permanently.
The profitable restaurants were those who shifted their business model. They pivoted from indoor dining to online ordering, curbside pick-up, outdoor dining, delivery, online cooking classes and tips, virtual nights out, pop-ups, and other unique ways to meet diners where they are.
Those successful in the fitness industry were the ones who quickly acclimated to mandates, expanded virtual fitness classes, and pivoted to address the mental health impact of the pandemic by focusing on wellness, mindset, healthy living, aromatherapy, meditation, and other relevant content and online offerings.
How has the pandemic changed your industry and how have you adapted?
Tammy Drost: The pandemic has had a positive impact on my industry. It allowed me to take my expertise into online channels with virtual delivery. I’ve taken advantage of technology, marketing automation, and outsourcing which frees me to focus on strategy and scale my business.
By 2026, the global online learning market should be worth $375 billion. From 2020 to 2026, the industry and professional eLearning segment will likely grow with a CAGR of 32.1%.*
What advice do you wish you received when the pandemic started and what do you intend on improving in 2022?
Tammy Drost: I began building my business in August 2019. In October 2019, I suffered a sudden and horrific family tragedy. For me, the pandemic couldn’t come close to the tragedy’s impact on every aspect of my life.
I learned that even the strongest people have their breaking point through this challenging journey. It takes a tremendous amount of strength and perseverance to recover and rebuild.
The person who emerged from that tragedy is very different than the one I was before. I no longer live to work. I work to live and experience life.
You never know when your last day or those of your loved ones might be. By doing something you love and working smarter, you give yourself the gift of enjoying life in the time you have.
In 2022, I intend to continue to build a business that allows me to spend time with my family and live the life I deserve.
Online business surged higher than ever, B2B, B2C, online shopping, virtual meetings, remote work, Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for 2022?
Tammy Drost: I anticipate that online business will continue to evolve and grow. We’re rapidly moving towards a world where everything is at our fingertips. We will also see social media continue to evolve from social engagement to social listening.
In marketing alone, we saw drastic disruptions due to COVID-19. The pandemic changed the way we worked, forged new habits, and pushed digital to the forefront, shaping consumer behavior for years to come. A few months ago, I wrote a blog post that outlines significant trends that will impact marketing in 2022-2024.
How many hours a day do you spend in front of a screen?
Tammy Drost: The nature and stage of my business require more screen time than I would like.
The pandemic, in general, forced many entrepreneurs into more screen time while also giving them the flexibility to be closer to family and work where and when they want.
My goal in 2022 is to continue implementing technology and marketing automation so that much of my business is passive income, allowing me to focus on strategy.
The majority of executives use stories to persuade and communicate in the workplace. Can you share with our readers examples of how you implement that in your business to communicate effectively with your team?
Tammy Drost: In business, I use storytelling a few ways:
WITH EMPLOYEES/TEAM MEMBERS: When you encourage storytelling, it becomes part of the team culture, allowing the team to build trust with colleagues and better support one another.
When you have a cross-functional, remote team that is culturally diverse, storytelling helps increase employee morale, build mutual respect, and better understand what each team member contributes to the team and the bigger picture. Instead of questions like “How is your day?” I prefer to ask questions that promote storytelling to get to know a team member. A better question might be, “What is a typical Monday like for you?” Asking more specific questions opens the door to learning and helps remote employees manage stress and isolation better.
IN MEETINGS AND EVENTS: Storytelling can serve as an icebreaker or kickoff to engage attendees and make them feel welcome and comfortable. It’s a way to show approachability, vulnerability, and authenticity.
AS CASE STUDIES: Case studies help employees tell your story and the value your business adds. When I present a case study, I’ve found three core categories that help deliver the narrative.
- ISSUE: Define the challenge or conflict.
- ACTION: Identify the characters, actions, and resources used to develop and deliver solutions.
- IMPACT: Define the return on investment from the action taken.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as the real challenge right now?
Tammy Drost: For small businesses, I see a few challenges:
Supply shortages combined with labor shortages, storage fees, pandemic fears, and delayed deliveries have caused a chain reaction. The surge in consumer demand is driving up costs, and small businesses have no choice but to pass increased costs on to the consumer.
Labor shortages and attracting new talent is also a challenge. Before the pandemic, industries such as healthcare and trucking saw labor shortages.
Companies with traditional in-office staffing models were suddenly dealing with hybrid and remote staffing. As a result, employees realized that they could do their job and be more productive in the comfort of their homes. They were happier, healthier, didn’t have to endure long commutes, expensive parking, unnecessary time away from their family, and long hours. Now, we are seeing employees less inclined to go back to the pre-pandemic lifestyle. Business leaders will continue to be challenged to find the right balance between professional growth and improving personal quality of life for their employees.
Small businesses experienced significant financial losses due to pandemic shutdowns. While some could bounce back quickly, others couldn’t. They had to tighten budgets and reduce salaries.
The pandemic propelled a massive uptick in mobile and digital technology. Small businesses realized the need to meet their customers where they are and engage in social listening to survive.
Because small businesses typically lack integrated and streamlined operations and processes, they often struggle with a digital-first approach and automating administrative, business, and marketing functions to free up leadership to focus on strategy.
Small businesses will need to continue investing in and embracing digital technology and automation to speed up tasks that humans find redundant while filling gaps caused by labor shortages.
In 2022, what are you most interested in learning about? Crypto, NFTs, online marketing, or any other skill sets? Please share your motivations.
Tammy Drost: In 2022, I’m focused on building out my membership program and utilizing integrated Mar-Tech and automation for delivery.
My motivation is to create a subscription-based program that is built once, sold repeatedly, and positioned to generate passive income so that I can focus on business strategy and scaling.
A record 4.4 million Americans left their jobs in September in 2021, accelerating a trend that has become known as the Great Resignation. 47% of people plan to leave their job during 2022. Most are leaving because of their boss or their company culture. 82% of people feel unheard, undervalued and misunderstood in the workplace. Do you think leaders see the data and think “that’s not me – I’m not that boss they don’t want to work for? What changes do you think need to happen?
Tammy Drost: In general, I think that companies in the US just don’t get it.
The reasons people are leaving extend beyond the lousy boss. It’s about toxic culture, job insecurity, high-demand, deadline-driven atmospheres that lead to stress and burnout, and the failure of companies to recognize high performers while continuing to enable and reward bad behavior. Employees are tired of long commutes and having to sacrifice their personal and family time for their job.
The “everyone gets a trophy” attitude regarding recognition doesn’t work, it enables poor performance while taking advantage of high performers.
As a woman, I want to work for a company because they recognize that I’m the best and most qualified candidate for the job, not because of my sex or race. People want promotions as a reward for working hard, paying their dues, and being the most qualified person for the job.
Other companies caused employees to leave because they had a poor response to the pandemic.
The bigger problem that we should all be concerned about is, according to Zenefits Workplace Data, when compared to other developed countries in the world, the US is among the countries with the poorest employee benefits in the world.
Compared to other developed countries, the US is behind in retirement benefits, with many people lacking retirement savings or a retirement plan.
Even when employees have a lot of paid time off, they often don’t take it for fear of being penalized. While other developed countries offer 20-30 paid holidays for discretionary use, the US has no mandated paid holidays.
While maternity leave is protected under US labor laws and provides 12 weeks of unpaid leave, the baseline for companies, other countries are giving new mothers 52-162 weeks of unpaid leave.
The bottom line is that US companies need to do better. We could learn a lot from other developed countries that consistently deliver exceptional employee benefits.
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?
Tammy Drost: I think that most entrepreneurs struggle with the lack of time. Whether it’s not having enough hours in the day, trying to do too much, or being everywhere and everything to everyone, it becomes more challenging when you have personal obligations competing with business obligations.
My business superpower would be to continue to build the most efficient, streamlined business possible with fully integrated systems that allow me to focus on strategy and scaling my business.
What does “success” in 2022 mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
Tammy Drost: In 2022, I’m focused on five key areas.
- Having a collaborative, happy, motivated, and productive team.
- Keeping an eye on the future with strategic business goals supported by carefully aligned brand strategy.
- Being a genuine, authentic brand true to our partners and client base.
- Having the most efficient, streamlined business operations and processes possible.
- Accepting failure as a learning experience and an opportunity to grow.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Tammy Drost 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 Tammy Drost 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.