The struggle to succeed in business is known by entrepreneurs.
Edilene “Etti” Johansson saw that firsthand growing up in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Her father, who grew up on a farm, moved to the city to find his independence as a business owner.
“He worked very hard, and to buy his first truck and become a truck driver was a big deal. It was a dream,” Johansson explained.
Watching his drive to succeed, his engagement with people and his connection to the community, would eventually motivate Johansson in her professional life.
Johansson is the CEO of Buena Vista Consulting, a one-stop shop for customers on the outskirts of Atlanta to get help with their accounting, payroll and insurance needs for their own small businesses, plus, they can get human resource training and even lending assistance.
“Always the goal is to get people out of the struggle. They try to get their business ahead, make a difference. They try to make a better living for their families,” said Johansson. “They know so much about their business, but they do not know how things work in the financial world, so that’s what got my interest.”
Johansson understands the struggle. She moved from Sao Paulo to Atlanta when she was 22 years old. She didn’t know how to speak any English, so while she waited hours for a ride after she finished work for the day as a receptionist at an accounting firm, she would study the language.
I have seen her grow, but she also makes sure that the people she impacts grow.
Dwayne Coleman, Regions Bank branch manager in Suwanee, Georgia
Eventually, Johansson took an interest in accounting, so she added that to her studies. Years later, that work would pay off when the brothers that owned the accounting company she worked for started dividing.
“One of them said, ‘I would like you to take care of accounting and payroll, so choose what furniture, whatever equipment you need, and we will take it to your house, and you can work from home,’” Johansson shared. “So that’s how I started.”
“I have seen her grow, but she also makes sure that the people she impacts grow,” said Dwayne Coleman, Regions Bank branch manager in Suwanee, Georgia. “We work together. With her business model, what’s number one is helping her community be better, and that’s number one for Regions – serving the communities that we bank but bringing value to those communities.”
“I think Dwayne pretty much almost mirrors the way I do my business. He thinks how he can assist you, how he can be a solution for your business,” Johansson said. “Maybe it’s not an immediate business with the bank. Maybe don’t have something that you can close the deal right there, but he’s always looking for your wellbeing in the long term. That has made a huge difference in my business, and I have referred him some customers, because the impact that he has, it is something remarkable.”
Johansson’s growth over the years includes expanding the focus of her business to more than accounting and payroll. Recognizing while it is an important service offering, she wanted to help others grow their businesses as she grew her own.
“I started doing training and studying how to help with human resources, how to hire people, how to motivate people, how to be in compliance with the Labor Department and all the other issues,” Johansson said. “Many times, businesses don’t have the tools or the time, because they are busy with their customers, their market and their product. That’s where I feel very proud, because I study, and I take my time to learn what’s necessary for their businesses to succeed.”
Seeing the businesses in her community flourish with the help of her own is an honor she doesn’t take for granted.
“A lot of people, they dream of having their business, and they have that entrepreneurial spirit and they want to get ahead, but they don’t know all these other parts that are so important, so I feel compelled in doing more and getting more involved,” Johansson said. “I’m proud to be here in America, and I’m very grateful every day.”