Entrepreneurship Takes Center Stage
Spotlight on E.Davon Kelly
Interview by – Traci Baker Jackson
We sat down with Serial Entrepreneur & Consultant Big Shot Davon Kelly, a native of the metropolitan Washington DC area & President and CEO of NOVAD Management Consulting, LLC Listen Up, You just might learn something! Davon shares practical advice and even some of his favorite “Big Boy Toys”
The pinnacle of
entrepreneurial success is reaching back and helping those who want to follow, learn, and duplicate your success while creating their
own path- Davon Kelly
Who do you most admire and why?
My father, who passed away in 1999, was more than an outstanding parent; he was my friend and business inspiration. His influence surpassed my entrepreneurial aspirations and laid a foundation for how hard work and community involvement lead to business success. Growing up, all I wanted was to be a businessman wearing a sharp suit and carrying a briefcase like my father. My father’s pride and sense of self allowed me to dream bigger than what society seemed to expect of black men. He was a man who never outwardly complained or became frustrated with his responsibilities. My father understood the importance of a solid education, and he constantly encouraged me to focus on my grades. He always supported the possibility that I could be whatever I wanted to be, whether that was an NBA player, a Doctor—or even the owner of a successful company. The single most important gift that my father (and mother) gave me is the idea that anything is possible.
What are your 5 keys for success?
Never compromise who you are, be true to your name, your drive and your purpose.
Failure is not an option.
Success is defined by the journey to achieve your goals.
Always remember that when you are faced with rejection, it is simply a chance to create an opportunity.
The easiest way to fail is to surround yourself with negativity.
What was the best advice you ever received?
Life and business will always present challenges; it is how you react and respond to those challenges that will define you. Entrepreneurship is the epitome of this advice. All successful entrepreneurs have been told they aren’t good enough more times than they have been told they would succeed. Trust in your desire to achieve a goal and the path to get there will appear. You simply need to have the faith to take the step (and sometimes the leap) forward.
What’s the best entrepreneurial advice you ever gave?
The only thing that prevents you from reaching your goal is having the confidence that you will get there.
Let your company be an extension of who you are – your morals, your work ethic and your drive.
Success does not equate to happiness, for an entrepreneur, it’s the journey.
The pinnacle of entrepreneurial success is reaching back and helping those who want to follow, learn, and duplicate your success while creating their own path.
What are your words to live by as an entrepreneur?
You miss 100% of the shots you do not take.Wayne Gretsky
You miss 100% of the shots you do not take.Wayne Gretsky
“Never Quit! There is nothing less important than the score at halftime.” Anonymous
“Define your goal, develop a strategy, implement a plan, measure your results and finish the journey.” EDK
How did you start NOVAD Management Consulting LLC?
NOVAD started with vision and a dream that I could be a great CEO of a successful consulting firm. I believed in my ability to manage, market, inspire and lead a team to success. I viewed obstacles as challenges, and I viewed doubt as inspiration. This mindset was the foundation for NOVAD; and, it has served as the blueprint for all of my other entrepreneurial ventures (My Barber’s Lounge, Salon DK and The 13th Man).
How did you grow your business/what do you do?
NOVAD is a government contracting firm that specializes in several key competencies:
Financial and Compliance Audits
Program Financial Advisory Services
Organizational Development and Business Process Re-engineering
Executive Coaching and Training
NOVAD grew by leveraging contacts, knocking on doors, and hiring good people. The best growth strategy is to do a great job on each and every contract awarded. Client satisfaction must be the ultimate goal in growing your business. NOVAD’s goal on every contract is to meet and exceed client objectives. Achieving this goal translates to additional work from existing clients as well as new business. We also strive to have exceptional customer service and to make our clients feel that we are serving only them. Attention to Client Service is the hallmark of growing a successful business.
Who could have helped you if you would have only asked?
Reflecting on this question, I realize that if I had reached back to my business school professors, from my undergraduate and graduate schools, I could have benefited from their practical and theoretical knowledge. These professors were the first to groom my interest and desire to become an entrepreneur. I could have benefited from applying their wisdom into my business.
What are three major improvements you can make in the next 30 days?
Develop a more concise business development strategy.
Visit with all of my current clients to ensure that the engagement team is exceeding contract objectives. Address any gaps. Most importantly, thank them for their business.
Make contact with NOVAD team members and thank them for their efforts. Acknowledge that without the team’s commitment to our work, the 30-day strategy does not work.
If you could change one thing about NOVAD that would elevate its platform, what would it be?
If I could make one change, it would be to elevate NOVAD’s presence in the commercial space. As a midsize company, we have not yet gained traction in this market. This year, we will enter the commercial market using the same strategies that have proven successful in the government sector.
If there was one goal you could accomplish in the next 6 months, what would it be?
There are several new initiatives being presented by the new Administration for which NOVAD will parlay its existing experiences to obtain new business, and continue to serve as an asset to many of our current Federal government clients. Internally, NOVAD has increased its benefits package plan and thus our hardworking employees will have additional opportunities to prepare for their futures.
What is the best use of your time right now?
My time is best spent developing a concrete and systematic strategy to sustain and grow the current client base while generating new business.
What is something that we would be surprised to know about you?
I am a serial entrepreneur who thrives on challenge. The government contracting business is very unpredictable and it is riddled with day-to-day challenges. I look forward to each challenge; more importantly, I enjoy the journey of working with clients and my team to overcome the obstacles and solve each and every challenge.