There’s nothing the Greater Fergus Falls team loves more than celebrating the successes of our business community. While we take a lot of pleasure in watching businesses of all types and sizes grow and thrive, we can’t help but get excited when a new business makes its home in the Fergus Falls region. On that note, we wanted to highlight a brand new addition to the area, Cardinal Consulting Solutions.
This new business is the brainchild of Amy Johnson, a Minneapolis native with extensive human resources experience. Cardinal Consulting Solutions “helps companies empower their workforce and energize productivity by optimizing their recruitment, retention, and engagement processes while offering customizable, comprehensive solutions.”
Workforce development is an area Greater Fergus Falls is passionate about, so we’re incredibly thrilled to welcome Cardinal Consulting Solutions to our business community. Keep reading to find out more about Johnson and her entrepreneurial pursuit.
Feeling Called to Making an Impact
While both Johnson and her husband are originally from Minnesota, they spent several years living in Clarksville, Tennessee. Johnson’s husband was stationed with the U.S. Army at Fort Campbell, KY while she worked in human resources in Nashville. In 2011, the couple made their way back to Minnesota.
“We chose West Central Minnesota because of the quality of life it has to offer and immediately found a life in Fergus Falls. Everything fell into place: work, childcare, and housing. I found a job immediately in human resources at Lake Region Healthcare. Five years later, I transitioned over to Northern Contours as a Recruitment, Training, and Development Manager.”
Johnson had been working in human resources for years at that point, choosing the profession because she wanted to help people and make a difference. While she genuinely enjoyed her work, she felt like she could make a bigger impact.
There were times she considered starting her own business but Johnson says she didn’t really have “the clarity or guts to take the leap.” That all changed in 2020 when her position at Northern Contours was eliminated. She was offered other roles within the company, but Johnson ultimately decided it was time to try her hand at entrepreneurship.
Vector Windows Recruitment Video via Cardinal Consulting Solutions
Tapping Into Local Resources for Entrepreneurs
Johnson was confident she could use her background in human resources to help companies attract, retain, and enhance their workforce. However, she knew she needed a little help with the technical aspects of getting her business off the ground. Johnson initially tried to figure it out on her own but quickly realized it wasn’t enough.
“There are so many pieces to the entrepreneur puzzle that I didn’t see coming,” she recalls. “I was Googling everything. It was exhausting, time-consuming, not the most reliable resource, and serious information overload.”
This was all happening right around the time Greater Fergus Falls launched its Entrepreneur Initiative, a free program dedicated to helping entrepreneurs and startups in Fergus Falls succeed. Johnson was introduced to the program during a conversation with former Greater Fergus Falls CEO Annie Deckert. That introduction was a turning point for Johnson, and she credits it as one of the best things she could have done for her business.
In addition to gaining access to valuable resources and training, she was connected with an experienced entrepreneur to coach her through the startup process. “After one conversation with my entrepreneur coach, I had a checklist of fundamentals I needed to accomplish, the proper websites to visit, and the timeline for each,” she recalls.
Finding the Path to Success
With the help of her coach and expert pieces of training, Johnson refined her business concept and brought Cardinal Consulting Solutions to life. Now she’s helping companies in West Central Minnesota strengthen their retention and recruitment efforts and create positive engagement with their workforce, the latter of which Johnson says is critical to a company’s success. It also inspired her Cardinal Rule:
“A company functions best when there is positive engagement throughout the workforce. Company culture should be based on mutual respect for mutual gain.”
The desire to make a positive difference for companies and their employees is at the heart of everything Cardinal Consulting Solutions does. Every service is tailored to the client’s unique needs, whether it’s helping a company identify gaps in recruitment and retention strategies or helping individuals with workforce readiness and career exploration. Cardinal Consulting Solutions also collaborates with Eggen Group Marketing to offer affordable video services for recruitment, virtual tours, and candidate profiles.
Northern Contours Recruitment Video via Cardinal Consulting Solutions
Like any new business owner, Johnson faced some challenges getting to where she is today. Thankfully she had a network of supporters, including her business coach, to see her through. With the right people and resources on her side, Johnson celebrated the official launch of Cardinal Consulting Solutions this June.
Whether you’re in the early stages of your business or have yet to take the leap, Johnson recommends checking out the Entrepreneur Initiative and getting connected with a business mentor.
Congratulations again to Amy Johnson on the launch of Cardinal Consulting Solutions! The Greater Fergus Falls team is excited to watch your business flourish as you help other companies grow and develop their workforce.
Interested in learning more about Entrepreneur Initiative and how it can benefit your business? Reach out to our team for more information or fill out the program application to get started. If you’re looking for business and financial tools and incentives, check out our list of local and state resources here.