The Story Exchange, Stefanie Prokity, Successful InnovationsYour Name: Stefanie Prokity

Business Name: Successful Innovations, Inc., a provider of family outreach services to assist schools and education

Type of Business: Educational Consulting

Business Location: Lynchburg, Virginia, United States

Twitter   @successfulinc

Reason for starting
Successful Innovations, Inc. was started by three former public school educators who while still working full-time in the school system saw a need to engage, educate and equip parents with the tools and strategies necessary to help their children be more successful in school. As a result, we shared our outreach efforts with other school divisions and the idea was born to market our products and services and share our expertise with others in order to impact parents and educators nationally and internationally.

How do you define success?
Success can be defined as learning from one’s mistakes and being able to take calculated risks in order to continually grow and improve and make an impact in others’ lives. Man measures success by wealth and notoriety. We measure our success by adhering to God’s will for our lives and fulfilling our purpose in life and serving others with the gifts and talents that God gave each of us.

Biggest Success
Our biggest success is continually beating the odds. We are not formally degreed in business education and have had a huge learning curve to overcome to become knowledgeable and experienced with operating a small business. Our local chamber of commerce awarded us the 2011 Small Business of the Year Award and the United States Chamber of Commerce awarded us the 2012 Dream Big Blue Ribbon Small Business of the Year Award. We are currently serving educators and school divisions in 46 states, Puerto Rico and New Zealand.

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
Our top challenge is competing with nationally recognized, large educational companies, like Scholastic and Pearson. Fortunately, we built our business on relationships, we individualize and customize our products and services to meet our individual customers’ needs. We also provide 24 hour customer service and free product replacement on all of our interactive software products. We recognize the investment that schools are making when choosing our products. Therefore, we are committed to continually equipping educators to be successful and boost and sustain their parental involvement and student acheivement goals. So we don’t ever want a damaged or misplaced product to inhibit their efforts toward success.

Who is your most important role model?
We thrive on other’s success stories for inspiration, motivation and education. We are fortunate to have our families’ support and many local business leaders’ mentorship and counsel. Our most influential role model would be S. Truett Cathy, Founder and Chairman, Chick-Fil-A. Mr. Cathy has built a very successful business but more importantly, Mr. Cathy is able to keep the important things in business and in life important. We admire and esteem to be that type of business leader.