Solopreneur Spotlight: The SAVA Group
St. Louis is teeming with potential as well as recent successes from the innovation infrastructure that the city has put into place over the past decade. Tech verticals and most recently geospatial and AgTech get most of the limelight. But entrepreneurship is alive and well in many forms in the Gateway City.
The desire to run a business isn’t always innate from birth. Not all entrepreneurs were selling high-output lemonade stands at age five and running businesses out of their dorm rooms. But sometimes that is the case, and building businesses and taking risks is just in the blood.
Meet Shequana Hughes, founder and CEO of The SAVA Group. For the past decade and a half, she has run a variety of different businesses that have stemmed from a desire to help people.
“I just love helping people,” says Hughes. That love of people and the city of St. Louis has resulted in a thriving personal assistant business in The SAVA Group.
“Many business owners and founders get overwhelmed with day-to-day administrative tasks that can easily be streamlined and outsourced,” explained Hughes. “I created The SAVA Group to allow business owners to focus on growth and core operations.”
That pain point was one Hughes felt personally as the founder of a mobile spa she ran from 2012-2015 in Oklahoma City and St. Louis. When she started The SAVA Group in 2016, she worked alone and was primarily helping small business owners in her network.
Fast forward a few months in, and she soon was getting more inquiries than she could handle alone. The business grew so fast that she hired nine additional contract workers in the first year, and the company has continued to grow over the past three years.
The main services offered by The SAVA Group include copywriting, social media, data entry, scheduling, and calendar and email management. “We fit into a niche for entrepreneurs where they aren’t prepared to hire a full-time assistant, but still need the support and the flexibility our service offers,” says Hughes.
Most packages include a set number of hours per month that can be allocated depending on each business’ needs.
Tara Kinney of Atomic Revenue has been one of The SAVA Group’s largest clients and has reaped the benefits of their services. “I am so much more productive with daily administration off my plate. I’ve referred others and will continue to do so,” says Kinney.
Even though a personal assistant sounds glamorous, Hughes does caution that without the proper onboarding by the founder or business owner, the results can vary. “There isn’t always a great process in place, so having structure allows us to do our jobs efficiently and save time and money for the entrepreneur,” she says.
The SAVA Group mostly works with St. Louis-based clients, and Hughes has had an amazing experience being a female entrepreneur in St.Louis.
“Living in Oklahoma City made me appreciate St. Louis so much. This city and the clients we’ve worked with have been amazing.” Hughes adds, “We currently work out of ThriveCo in Clayton, and they do a wonderful job of making you feel wanted and appreciated.”
Entrepreneurs like Hughes are thriving in St. Louis—from supportive coworking centers and referrals from existing clients to a ripe business environment—there hasn’t been a better time to start a business in the city.