This week we are highlighting Chonda Ralston. Chonda became a business owner with her purchase of Inuendos Design Co. in Siloam Springs, Arkansas.
WiM: Tell us a little about your business. What do you provide? When did you get started?
CR: Inuendos Design Co. is a print and design shop that provides signs, vehicle wraps and graphics, as well as printed collateral materials like brochures, rack cards or decals. We can also help with logos and branding. The shop has been here for 18 years and I bought it in the Fall of 2020.
WiM: What motivated you to start your business?
CR: I’ve had the entrepreneurial bug since I was in my early 20s and have tried to pursue a few different business opportunities over the years. I would either run into an obstacle that I couldn’t overcome or simply shrink back in fear. I know 2020 was devastating for many, but because so many small businesses were closing, there were once-in-a-lifetime incentives offered through the SBA. I looked around and saw many of my colleagues being downsized and decided to take a leap of faith. I had some familiarity with printing and design because I was the manager of a publishing division for an international nonprofit, but mostly I chose to purchase Inuendos because it was a solid business with an excellent reputation in the community, a great staff and lots of potential for growth.
WiM: Who is one woman who has inspired and/or encouraged you in your work?
CR: There have been many women who have mentored me and inspired me over the years, but my mother is the primary person. She got pregnant with me at a young age and could have gone down a very different path. She chose to work hard and be tenacious in pursuit of a better life, and she taught her daughter to do the same. My mother has always believed in me and encouraged me to pursue my dreams and to not tell myself no! She’s also been my biggest prayer warrior!
WiM: How have you seen God’s hand in your work and the growth of your business?
CR: God has been whispering in my ear and encouraging me on every step of this journey so far. The closing process was long and full of hoops to jump through—He opened doors that no man could close. My transition to running the business full-time didn’t go as I planned—He confirmed that His timing is always perfect and His plans are better than my plans. He’s brought people of faith to help me with critical repairs and led me to community groups where business owners cover each other in prayer.
WiM: How do you see your work as a means of loving people?
CR: This is an area where I struggle a little because I previously spent my days steeped in the Word in a nonprofit ministry. I had no doubt that my work was in service to the Lord and it was a true delight to be a small part of an organization where I knew I was making a difference. I loved sharing the stories of lives changed and the organization’s impact. Now, in a secular business, I’m still learning what it looks like to live out my faith and promote our services. I know all work can be ministry, but it has been an adjustment. I view my business as an opportunity to come alongside other businesses supporting their efforts or even helping some entrepreneurs as they begin their journey with their first set of business cards. I also try to encourage my staff and acknowledge their value and contributions to our success.