Member Spotlight: Andrea L. Dunathan

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For 15 years, Andrea Dunathan has been a consultant, working with for-profit and non-profit clients of all sizes. She founded Dunathan Consulting LLC in 2004 to utilize her varied experience in a variety of industries. Today, Dunathan Consulting helps small business owners (typically those with 2-5 employees) organize their internal operations so their organizations may become stronger and more efficient. They save their clients time and effort, eliminate frustration, and free them to concentrate on what they do best.

The Dunathan Consulting website, www.dunathanconsulting.com sums it up:  “Dunathan Consulting helps small business owners who feel burdened by administrative tasks to set up straightforward, efficient systems so they have more time for the work that matters.  Since our start in 2004, we have worked with a wide variety of clients – from global corporations to tiny non-profits – to improve internal operations and free up staff to do their best work.” 

“In general,” says Andrea, “Small business owners want to grow their business, but they may often need help in understanding or implementing solutions to internal operations issues in areas such as financial management, HR, IT, and other areas, in order to grow, and to profit as they grow.” Her company can help with processes, systems, policies, vendors, planning, budgets and financial decisions. Consultants come in as a part-time COO and work on a long- or short-term contract for clients for as long as they need help.

Providing practical help to customers, Andrea’s company utilizes simple, effective solutions that meet clients’ needs, and not only recommends solutions, but also helps them hands-on to implement those solutions to make operations run more effectively.  If clients request ongoing support, it often takes the form of training staff, keeping an eye on things, explaining procedures that work, and serving as a confidential sounding board for the business owner. For example, Andrea is training a staff member in one client company to become more of an office manager and take on more responsibility.

 “I want the business owner to know where their money is going,” says Andrea. “They don’t need to learn how to do bookkeeping, but they must understand the financial reports. Likewise, for HR, they need to make decisions about policy and how they want their people treated.”  Andrea notes further, “A business owner makes many decisions daily about how the business should run. If we can come up with a standard process for how to do it, they can be freed up to focus on what they do best. They don’t have to reinvent the wheel each time.”  This saves the owner time and energy.

Andrea has worked with many different types of businesses, from small non-profits to big global NGOs and international development companies. Because her experience was always in operational consulting, she decided some years ago to work with small businesses because “small business owners need help -they bear the same burden of financial management, staff management and HR policies, and other operational issues as larger businesses, but they have to do it all with fewer resources.”

Andrea enjoys her wide variety of clients in areas such as graphic design, real estate, and even  “a meat producer who works with farmers to obtain animals to butcher and turn them into lamb chops and sell.” Her background experience includes work at an organic vegetable farm, biology research in a lab, and a great deal of experience combining the people and process aspects of a company. “I’m good at seeing patterns and analysis,” says Andrea.  “I know there are things that have to be done a certain way, but you can adapt how they’re done and do them in a different style. I often ask clients to define the style of the business and then figure out how we can make something like accounting work and suit the style of the business.”

One client, the managing director of an information services company, praised Andrea for her “understanding of and respect for our business culture, values, and approaches as well as her uncanny ability to thoroughly asses what we saw as challenges and translate them into meaningful opportunities for the business.”

What does she like best about what she does?  “I like understanding the goals and vision of the small business owner,” she says. She loves it when they are trying to grow and able to succeed. “I like seeing that my work is some little piece of their bigger success. It feels good!”

A relatively new member who joined WBO last November, Andrea calls our group “collaborative and supportive” and likes having a peer group of other women business owners.

Andrea, who was born outside Philadelphia, has lived in New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois, Thailand, and even the USSR.  When most of her family members had moved to the DC area, Andrea joined them to be near the people who are important in her life. 

These days, when she is not working, she spends time training and working with her family’s new dog, a Golden Retriever/Border Collie about 1 ½ years old.

She is currently developing offerings for solo entrepreneurs and also volunteers in facilitating a small business group through the Greater Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce.

Andrea can be reached by phone at 301-495-0800 or by email at andrea@dunathanconsulting.com.

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Ellen R. Cohen is a free-lance writer and editor whose “editorial advertising” helps her clients advertise their goods and services in a variety of ways.  She can be reached at (301) 984-7444.

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