Entrepreneurs and business owners are constantly on the lookout for ways to improve their operations. Some turn to their mentors. Some look to mimic the success of others in their industries. Some scour through articles published on reputable online business platforms in hopes of gaining some insight from industry leaders across the globe. But those in the entertainment and film industries seek Debra Whelan Johnson’s expertise.
Debra’s resume and reputation speaks for itself. She has a decades-long successful career as a business management executive, financial advisor, and lawyer. She is currently Managing Director at Allied Financial Advisors, a firm that she co-founded with her business partner, Randy Hermann. The two are an entrepreneurial match made in heaven. Their diverse backgrounds and complementary skill sets are what led to the creation of such a lucrative company where they help clients build their businesses and invest in entertainment-related projects.
“I’ve never been one to create or build a vision from scratch,” Randy said. “Give me a roadmap and I’ll execute it, but Debra’s the visionary.”
And it’s this vision that has helped the company grow and procure a distinguished list of clientele, although Debra Whelan Johnson is very private about the clients she serves. “I’ve always chosen to be humble about the individuals and organizations we work with, whether presently or in the past. Your services should do the talking for your business, not the names you throw around.”
Debra gets asked a lot about how her and her business partner have found such success with Allied Financial Advisors. She also gets asked how they attract such prominent clients in the industry. Her response: “You get good people by building something that puts you in their presence.”
For Debra Whelan Johnson, this is bigger than just the services you offer. It’s more than how you competitively price yourself against your competition. Instead, it’s about giving clients the biggest bang for their buck.
This demands that leaders are efficient with their time. Debra leads all aspects of an organization’s operations, including the business planning, financing, budgeting, greenlight analysis, and film exploitation and distribution. If efficiency isn’t a priority every single day, it would mean having to push back a timeline or sacrificing a task for the sake of completing another project. “That’s just not an option for me,” she says, “or my clients.”
Concurrently, leaders must also be good multitaskers. Multitasking and efficiency go hand-in-hand; one without the other would be adverse. “Leadership isn’t about being speed-driven, it’s about giving your all to your clients. To give them what they want and need, you need to be able to do more with less. If you can’t multitask and use your time efficiently, you can’t adequately serve your clients.”
The advice that Debra wants to leave readers with is: don’t overthink it. You will attract opportunities if everything you do is guided by the best interests of your clients. There is no secret to success, but a client-first approach to business is the key to profitability.