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Small Business Success Story: Artichoke Consulting, LLC

Posted by PCC Small Business Development Center on March 30, 2023

In 2021, Michael Brandwein founded Artichoke Consulting, LLC after a decade of working in the IT consulting industry. At the same time, Michael came to the PCC SBDC looking for assistance with business planning and goal-setting and began participating in business advising sessions with Kim Allchurch-Flick and other SBDC advisors. Now, he and his team work hard to help businesses successfully implement Salesforce and other IT program management projects, allowing them to operate and grow more efficiently! This is Michael's story. 

Learn more about Michael's entrepreneurial story below. 

Thank you for sharing your story with us, Michael! What inspired you to pursue your business?
I have been working in IT and system implementation consulting for a decade or so. Throughout my experience I started to notice little things that would make a project
successful (or not). These included process efficiencies for the consulting team, i.e.
showing the client project progress more often. This keeps the client team engaged,
and doubles as ongoing checks on our project work and familiarizes the client with our
work as we go.

Artichoke_PrimaryLogoStarting my own business has given me the freedom to guide my team and clients down
these paths that I have seen make projects successful. After all, the projects my team does will change the way the client team does their job, and they should have plenty of say for the same.

What do you LOVE about your business?
My business is giving me the opportunity to live the values I believe in, and bring those
values to the work the team and I do. I had three values when starting my business. First, I wanted to do right for my clients. Second, I wanted to have adequate time to focus (see: plan to work less). Third, I wanted to mentor consultants entering the Salesforce ecosystem and get involved in the community.

For me, these goals work hand-in-hand. Planning to work less means I can work without
worry when a new issue or priority arises. Planning to work less also gives me an opportunity to get involved in the community and time to mentor. With this, I have been able to onboard a junior consultant out of the Purple Mai’a Salesforce appreciation program and help organize Forcelandia, a local Salesforce conference.

Before coming to the SBDC, what challenges were you facing in your business?
Before coming to the SBDC I knew the IT consulting industry and my business goals,
but I did not know the concrete steps to build a business. I have been in touch with the SBDC at each step, starting with getting my business foundation and branding in order, subcontracting to earn money while I started selling my work directly, and getting my first clients. The SBDC has also been available to talk through some interesting decisions on where I wanted to steer my business.

DSC00373Since working with the SBDC, what business milestones have you achieved? 
I started working with the SBDC right off the bat in late 2021. Since that time, my mentors have helped me stay one step ahead and prepare for billable work to be done. The SBDC has guided me through finding and retaining a lawyer and a CPA.

Beyond the tangible next steps, my mentors have been a sounding board to talk through what is going on at any given time and help me focus on what’s important to continue building the foundation of Artichoke.

The SBDC has helped me take big picture ideas and create tangible next step goals. I have worked in companies that are larger, scaled versions of my business, so I can see the overall goal. The SBDC has helped me break down concrete next steps to take on the path there.

How is your business doing now? 
A year into Artichoke, we have a core team that will be successful on any Salesforce implementation project. Each team member personifies the values needed for a successful project.

Screen Shot 2023-03-30 at 18.07.56Annette has over a decade of hands-on-Salesforce experience. This is invaluable when sorting through solution options, configuring the system for business use cases, and mentoring junior consultants.

Rebekkah is a junior consultant out of the Purple Mai’a Salesforce apprenticeship program. She is a voracious learner and so organized. Everything runs through her.

Mark is a training and enablement professional. The work Artichoke does ultimately transforms the way our clients work, and Mark is the bridge between setting up a new technology, and actually getting people to use it and having positive outcomes on their day-to-day.

What would you say to other small business owners thinking of working with the SBDC?
Use your time with the SBDC to build a foundation. Take the time with your advisors to talk and work through the tangible next step advice. Before you know it, the foundation of your business will be rock solid and you will be able to grow and change with confidence.


Want to learn more about how the PCC SBDC can help you start or grow your business?



SBA logoBusiness-Oregon-logoPrograms and services are provided to the public on a non-discriminatory basis. Language assistance service are available for limited English proficient individuals. Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance. Please contact us at 971-722-5080 or sbdc@pcc.edu, to request accommodations. Oregon Small Business Development Centers are funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration, and the Oregon Business Development Department.

The Oregon Small Business Development Center Portland Community College has  helped thousands of businesses over the past 40 years. We combine one-on-one  advising with programs taught by business experts, giving our clients the  resources they need to grow their businesses. We’ve celebrated many successes  with our clients. We'd love to celebrate your success. 

Topics: Small Business, Business Profiles, Business, Starting a Business, Growing a Business, business builders, Business Design Series

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