Get To Work Wednesdays: Dr. Stephen Peters '81
My name is Dr. Stephen Peters and I am a member of the 1980 Class of Ubiquity at Hampton University (though my official graduation date was May 1981). I played basketball for three-and-a-half years at Hampton (#10 Pete Peters).
After graduating from Hampton, I realized the network of highly successful individuals throughout the world with Hampton connections. Though I have since received numerous degrees, including my doctorate; my degree from Hampton remains the most special to me. There’s something very special about being a Hampton graduate. I’m grateful to have been afforded the opportunity and, more importantly, the Hampton experience as I carry it with me daily, regardless of where I travel.
WHAT IS YOUR BUSINESS?
The Peters Group, LLC. is an educational consulting firm specializing in educational training for school districts and schools engaged in the transformational process. The Peters Group has a track record of creating and sustaining success by supporting educators through a three-step process of teaching and learning as part of a systemic approach for school and district success.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START YOUR BUSINESS?
As a successful teacher, assistant principal, principal and director of principals, I saw a need for someone with my experience at each level of education to tell my story and the stories of my students.
WAS THERE A SPECIFIC EVENT THAT PROMPTED YOU TO CREATE AND START YOUR BUSINESS?
Yes, I was featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show and the exposure helped facilitate my professional speaking career, then development of my business.
WHAT “NEED” IN THE MARKETPLACE DID YOU IDENTIFY THAT YOUR BUSINESS WOULD SOLVE?
A need for REAL TALK about systemic issues, especially facing children of color and those providing services for them.
WHAT PRODUCTS AND SERVICES DOES YOUR BUSINESS PROVIDE?
My company is unique in the sense that we are one of a few companies who provide direct services to public schools that have consultants who have experience working at every level of the spectrum; from classroom teacher to superintendent and higher education (k-12 and higher ed).
READ: Are you a Hamptonian entrepreneur? Emailalumni@hamptonu.edu to share your story today!
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED?
- Consulted with a business attorney
- Developed a business plan
- Hired the best trainers and surrounded myself with people smarter than me
- Developed a brand that had deep meaning and was sustainable
WHAT CHALLENGES DID YOU FACE IN GETTING SET UP?
- Start up funding from banks, we had to use our own money and had cash flow issues in the beginning
- Also, not having a MBA, we had to pay for professional services that were costly in the beginning.
HOW DID YOU FIRST MARKET YOUR PRODUCTS/SERVICES?
Word of mouth at first – people telling others about their experience with us. Then, social media changed the landscape, making it easier and more affordable to re-brand and get our message out to masses of people in shorter periods of time.
HOW DID YOU GET YOUR PRODUCTS FROM IDEAS/CONCEPTS TO MANUFACTURING AND DISTRIBUTION?
Lots of prayer and faith. God orders our steps and I rely upon Him. We use the professional services of people in the field who are very good and it helps.
WHAT RELATIONSHIPS DID YOU HAVE TO BUILD TO CREATE A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS?
Relationships are key to any successful business and I never underestimate the impact they make. I’ve also learned, over time, never to burn bridges.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR ASPIRING ENTREPRENEURS?
- The more successful you become, the more humble you should get.
- Rely on a power much bigger and greater than yourself. Mine is GOD.
- Your success in business and life will largely depend on your failures.
WHAT IS YOUR STRATEGY IN CREATING SHORT-TERM AND LONG-TERM GOALS FOR YOUR BUSINESS?
I never work for money, I work to make a difference. I’ve been blessed with gifts that allow me to work and not feel like I’m working.
WHAT ARE SOME THINGS ENTREPRENEURS SHOULD BE DOING ON A DAILY BASIS TO CREATE AND MAINTAIN A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS?
Develop skills that are unique and will set you apart from others offering same or similar services. Network, network, network!