Find a system that works for you in as much as a proactive state as possible. Test it, tweak it, implement it, gather data, and make it better next time, always move it forward.
Grace brings over 18 years of experience in business specializing in brand strategy, shopper marketing, employment branding, and large-scale events. Some of her notable work includes: Procter & Gamble Beauty’s Olay For You digital space and Atlantic Canada House at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. In addition to the brands mentioned above, her past client mix includes Daimler-Chrysler, Rogers, Microsoft Xbox, Coca-Cola, Cadbury, Adams, National Football League (NFL) / SuperBowl, and AB InBev/Labatt. Currently, she has a wide variety of clients that includes The Pacquiao Brand Group, ESPN, The Government of Rwanda, Beauty & Wellness TV, SwitzerCultCreative, Select Global, BC Food Processors Association, and The Government of Canada where she develops programs and initiatives in remote Indigenous communities. Her parent company, Grace Lanuza Brand Strategy + Consulting Group, houses three subsidiaries; Brand Apiary (branding and digital marketing), Clickruit (employment branding, training & curriculum development) and Pelota (influencer and sports sponsorship brokerage). The companies have offices in Vancouver, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles. Her work has been featured on numerous press outlets, such as Business Insider and is featured as an official partner on the AMA Feed.
Mentorship, especially for women is an important part of Grace’s volunteer sphere. She’s currently serving as a Mentor for Young Women In Business – both SFU and UBC Chapters and the Forum For Women Entrepreneurs (FWE). In the past she has been a notable Mentor for the Vancouver Board Of Trade’s Leaders Of Tomorrow program and the Beedie School of Business at SFU. She’s also an active volunteer at Junior Achievement Canada where she helps bring entrepreneurship and business workshops into Lower Mainland classrooms. Being a serial entrepreneur, Grace is a Co-Founder at Sip & Shop Inc., an innovative retail movement that encourages local, women entrepreneurs to collaborate, build community and to conduct commerce.
These days, she can be found carving a path in the tech world as a partner in women led tech startups, CHKM8T and wErk Anywhere. Poised to launch in the Fall of 2018, her innovative e-commerce lifestyle subscription service, Green Queenz puts her in the Cannabis space globally. As being Canadian is important to her, she helps welcome refugees and immigrants to Canada by serving as a Board Member at Neighbour Next Door, a local initiative to help people make Canada home. Grace’s expert advice can be found when she guest blogs for Talent Formula, specializing in employment branding to GenY and Millennials as well as on the Pick My Brain platform.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
The idea of Brand Apiary came from the desire to have more freedom of choice. What do I mean by that? Well, I thought if I were going to work my butt off, I’d do it doing only the things I truly love (brand strategy) and doing it for myself, not for anyone else. Working in an agency was fun and the opportunities were amazing but it didn’t truly fulfill my vision of working in projects that are a true value match for the impact I wanted to create.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
A typical day slightly varies if I’m at home and if I’m on the road! But regardless of where I am, I’m an early riser. I wake up at 5am local time and have a specific morning routine, apple cider vinegar shot, meditate and set intentions, coffee while listening to a podcast, get ready for the day. If I’m at home, I drop off my son to school, then emails, meetings, school pick up, dinner, putting my son to bed, more emails and hot yoga or dance class! If I’m on the road, I go straight to meetings and client events at night. We also have clients all over the world so I have to juggle time zones a lot. Everything is scheduled in my calendar with time blocking; even lunch or else I wouldn’t eat. I have an amazing team who are great pacing partners and ensures we’re constantly delivering what we call “simplified excellence” in what we do.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Let it flow! It begins with a conceptual idea then reverse engineer that back to what’s viable or actionable now and then how that makes sense for the long term. It’s like real life chess!
What’s one trend that excites you?
I really love the use of video in a very AR or VR way! I think this is only the tip of it all. There are so many possibilities on how we can use that technology across different industries and in innovative ways as part of a brand’s strategy.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I’ll share my secret! After many years of juggling different time zones, clients sometimes expect that you’re available 24/7. What I do to start my workday wherever I am in the world is answer all my emails but put them in the Drafts folder first. After I’m done actioning and answering everything then and only then, I press Send and watch the phone light up. My team and clients know when they get an email from me, “Oh she’s awake or off the plane!”
What advice would you give your younger self?
You are enough. The best is yet to come.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
That women can have it all but they don’t have to do it all! It’s about delegation, which tasks or experiences are you willing to do yourself and which ones can you get the result you want but you can outsource so that it’s the least amount of effort for the most gain.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Find a system that works for you in as much as a proactive state as possible. Test it, tweak it, implement it, gather data, and make it better next time, always move it forward. Stanford Professors and Authors of “Scaling Up With Excellence: Getting To More Without Settling For Less” Bob Sutton and Huggy Rao says, “Don’t just do something, stand there.” When you play to win, the intent is well thought out and strategy is in place. When one plays to not lose, this is a desperation move where you’re in a reactive state vs. a proactive, strategic state.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Hands down the “Blue Ocean Strategy” method. The book Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne is an all time favourite read. Basically, focus on the whole blue ocean vs. the red ocean where it’s a feeding frenzy. Create a new market space where competition is irrelevant, increase consumer value and decrease cost.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
There were many over the years but the important thing is to learn from it. We had clients skip out on invoices and that’s a failure on our end because we didn’t have as system that prevented this from happening in the first place. This prompted us to really lock down a system that avoids this challenge going forward. We found by doing this, you take back the power in the deal, yes they need you but also they have to pay to get you, there are no free rides. And what if they don’t want to pay? Then they’re not the clients for you, move on.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Someone invent a cell phone / laptop that you don’t have to charge! Anyone? Elon, where you at?!
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
A pass for Moksha Hot Yoga classes! The live music, candlelit class helps recentre me throughout the week.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
I love Slack and Trello! I love that they’re both mobile and as a conceptual and analytical thinker, I love the dashboard view on Trello. It gives me a quick temp check on my teams for multiple companies and tasks in an efficient way. One genius idea is also the platform Pick My Brain! This enables people who I meet at speaking engagements to continue the conversation with me on a one to one basis. It’s completely turnkey and trackable, so I know where I spend my time and with whom.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Just one? Blue Ocean Strategy (and the new Blue Ocean Shift!), as this has been instrumental on how I help take brands to the next level.
What is your favorite quote?
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anais Nin
• Do things for yourself and not for anyone else for maximum value match and impact.
• Set expectations and time block, especially when juggling different time zones.
• Women can have it all, but don’t have to do it all!
• Strategically being proactive is the ideal state in order to play to win.
Personal Instagram: @itsmegracel
Company Instagram: @brandapiary
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.