An Interview With Anita Nygaard – CORHR

by | Sep 16, 2020 | Business

Q. Business introduction: Please include what your business is all about, in which city you are located and if you have offices in multiple locations/ cities.

A. CorHR is a strategic human resources consulting firm. We are a team of HR experts bringing more than 80 years of corporate and small business management experience to our clients. We provide expert advice in compliance, management coaching and development, and creating productive workplace cultures. Our work is driven by our clients’ specific needs in an advisory relationship including remote and on-site services.

Q. What inspired you to (start a new business venture) or (to make significant changes in an existing business)? How did the idea for your business come about?

A. I founded CorHR to provide expert HR consultation to small businesses in the areas of: compliance, management coaching and advisory, and building effective workplace cultures. With 25 years of progressive HR experience, including management and consultation to multi-state and global operations with Fortune 100 companies, I can comfortably sit across the table from small business owners and confidently guide them to achieve their goals.

Q. Give us a brief description about yourself (it should include your brief educational or entrepreneurial background and list some of your major achievements).

A. Early in my career, I held progressive HR Management roles with Wells Fargo Bank, MCI Communications, Siemens and Broadcom. I learned what large, multi-state and global businesses need from HR in order to achieve their strategic goals, and participated in task forces to improve the way we did business, including how we acquired other businesses. I learned how to successfully partner with leadership where I would have a recurring seat at the table. Over time, my management responsibilities grew and I learned how to coach and develop HR professionals to deliver upon a strategic vision. The most rewarding recognition I ever received was for the innovative business contributions from the team I managed.

Since 2004, I have provided expert advice to well over 350 companies. In addition, I have instructed at Chapman and Brandman Universities, helping developing HR professionals to qualify for national and state certification.

I hold a master’s degree in Organization Development, a bachelor’s degree in Industrial and Labor Relations, and current certification as a Certified Senior HR Professional with two separate HR industry associations, and as a Certified California HR Professional.

Q. What three pieces of advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

• Know your strengths and hire experts to advise you in the other areas.
• Surround yourself with individuals who are smarter and more successful, and ask questions.
• Identify ways you can help to strengthen others less fortunate. Trust me, it will repay you ten-fold.

Q. What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?

A. Perspective, Persistence and Passion.

Q. How many hours do you work a day on average?

• That’s a tricky question. If you enjoy what you’re doing, is it all really “work”?
• Work isn’t life and life isn’t work, but making regular meaningful contributions to others certainly enhances the quality of the experience overall, regardless of what you call it.
• I am infinitely curious – always wondering how else we can approach or resolve an issue. And not just limited to the business arena. Every day I focus on learning something new from each interaction. In my opinion, that’s how one leads a meaningful life overall.
• Outside of “work,” I do make time to regularly enjoy the beauty of being outdoors, spending time with family and friends, going to the gym, cooking, reading and enjoying the company of our sweet and wonderful dog Bella. There’s the balance.

Q. To what do you most attribute your success?

• I want small businesses to remain in California and continue to provide rewarding livelihoods and challenging development opportunities for their employees.
• Between my small team and me, we have helped hundreds of small businesses be successful in this state. However, looking back, even if my efforts helped just one other business, that would still be worthwhile and rewarding to me.
• I shared this with our teenaged daughter so that she could understand the difference between working at a job and having a vocation. She got the point: you can get rewards from performing your job, however if you follow your passion, you will always feel that what you’re doing is rewarding.

Q. How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?

• Our business has grown over the years because of one main reason: Referrals.
• Referrals from strategic business partners, with whom we have shared many clients, and also referrals from past or current clients who are thrilled to introduce us to other business owners.
• Every sales coach I have met asks me if I ask for referrals. I do. And I’m delighted to share that more often than not, my contact will respond that they were just thinking of someone to refer to me. Glad I asked!

Q. Where did your organizations funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it? How did you obtain investors for your venture?

A. My husband told me he would be my first investor. We put in $15k to get things up and running and it’s been profitable ever since. And our daughter helps out part-time now while going to school.

Q. What is the best way to achieve long-term success?

A. Start by setting achievable small goals each week. These will accumulate and compound over time. After some years, you can set larger goals to achieve, and invite the help of expert advisors to guide your journey to success.

Q. Where you see yourself and your business in 5 – 10 years?

A. We have clients and strategic partners requesting our presence in other states. We are a CA partner to an independent, long-time successful HR consulting firm in NYC: RealHR Solutions. There will be more activity and similar partnerships going forward.

Q. Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?

A. Well, if I haven’t already said so, every one of my clients is a hero to me. It is difficult to be in business in California, much more so to be a successful, growing business.

I applaud every entrepreneur who ever dared to dream, swam against the stream, stood on their own, placed a stake in the ground, climbed that mountain uphill both ways, and forged a new entity that never before existed. Bravo!

Q. How important have good employees been to your success?

A. As every successful business owner will tell you: the key to a successful business is the talent in the business. If you don’t have a team that knows how to do the work well, or doesn’t work well together or with your clients, then you have a very difficult path ahead.

Q. How do you generate new ideas?

A. Things change all the time: new laws pass, industries are disrupted by a new business, likes and demands change and evolve across generations and around the globe.

I like to collaborate to discuss new ideas, ask for new ideas and evaluate new ideas. Some ideas are ready to implement sooner than later, some take longer to grow legs. What’s essential is timing and opportunity. There is truth to the saying: “If it’s quick and easy, it had better be cheap.”

Q. What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?

A. There are several. I do enjoy being generous with my employees – rewarding them when they didn’t expect anything to show my appreciation. Or being generous with clients by adding an extra service they needed without charging for it.
I also enjoy supporting a worthy community organization to show that we recognized their good works and stand with them and their cause.
Then there’s being a role model for my daughter and many other young women who may have wondered if they should try to start their own business.
I have and will continue to enjoy sharing time, attention and rewards with people who make life more enjoyable.

Q. How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?

A. My decision to go out completely on my own and start a business has had a ripple effect on my family around courage and conviction. It has inspired each of us to question what we stand for and what is important for a satisfying life. It has also encouraged the desire to dream as big as you possibly can and keep wondering: “What if…” Sure, at first it was scary for us as a family, but we now view it as a catalyst that forced us to recognize that each of us were already in control of the direction we were heading, we just didn’t always see ourselves in the driver’s seat. When you see yourself in the driver’s seat in your own life, then you want the destination to be worth the journey.

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