When I sit down for a late night Zoom interview with Cierra Burch of J&B Financial Services, her bubbly demeanor and megawatt smile immediately make this sales coach feel as though I’m talking to an old friend, and not a financial advisor who I’ve never met in real life. Cierra tells me this is part of her overall business strategy. “I tell all my clients we’re going to be besties by the end of this contract,” she says with a grin. Um, can we be besties by the end of this call, please?
J&B is a business and financial consulting firm that primarily helps women and minority small business owners. Cierra Burch is the sole owner and operator of J&B. Her goal is to ensure her clients’ success by developing their financial literacy and educating them in the back end of their businesses. Based in California, she works with clients all over the US on their business and personal finances. She advises them on everything from tax planning to business insurance to retirement plans.
A senior financial analyst by day with an MBA in finance, Cierra loves numbers. She dreamed about starting a business dedicated to financial literacy for three years before jumping in. It was actually her best friend who prompted Cierra’s leap into entrepreneurship last September. As that friend was starting her own business, Cierra helped her friend with the financial aspects of the startup. Cierra didn’t expect anything more from the situation, but that friend told others. By December Cierra had taken on six clients by word of mouth. At the end of January, she was working with twenty clients: J&B Financial Services was officially up and running.
Defining her ‘why’
Helping her friends achieve success is certainly a worthy cause, but it isn’t Cierra’s only motivation. Knowing how it feels to be a minority business woman in the corporate world and having seen people close to her struggle financially, Cierra dreams of helping others. She doesn’t see the solution as setting people up with a plan and then leaving them to fend for themselves. Instead, she seeks to teach people about healthy financial mindsets. She hopes to improve both their businesses and their personal financial lives.
“With my corporate job, I’m the only person of color and top of that, the only woman in my department, and the youngest. There’s not many people who look like me who are in a senior level position in the finance world,” Cierra explains.
“On top of that, there are so many minority and women business owners that are starting businesses. They don’t have the success and longevity of other businesses because they don’t have the back end or the capital that others do. So having someone to educate you is my ‘why.’ Empowering and educating, not only in business but in personal finance too.”
Business bestie and marketing strategy
Social media marketing – on Clubhouse in particular – has been a major part of Cierra’s lead generation process. Once she’s in contact with the leads, her personality tends to take care of the rest. “I try to sell myself as if I was talking to a friend,” she tells me, noting that she wants to get to know a potential client first to make sure they’ll be a good fit together. This friendly approach helps take some of the anxiety out of finances, she says. “I want them to have that confidence to text me. Let’s sit down and go through it together. We’re in this together.”
Future money moves
Cierra tells me that her future plans for the company include seeking nonprofit status. She also wants to teach more women about the power of investments, and develop high school programs for financial education and mental health. “Stress and money go hand in hand,” she notes, “and when you come from an area where you aren’t presented with finance/money life in a manner that it’s something you can attain, it’s discouraging.” To that end, she’s working on a Game of Life program that will educate young adults in mental health and financial literacy. Ultimately, Cierra wants to show students what different life and career possibilities might look like.
One last question – what does J&B stand for?
Cierra explains that she named her company J&B – Jordan & Bright – for her grandfather, Sammie Lee Jordan, and her grandmother and biggest cheerleader, Evelyn Bright Jordan. After losing Evelyn unexpectedly in 2013, Cierra knew she wanted to honor her grandmother’s memory.
“No matter what wrong I did, she would always tell me ‘I’m proud of you.’ So I knew I wanted to make her proud in some fashion,” Cierra tells me. “I knew if I had a daughter, I would name her Evie after my grandmother. The reality is, kids aren’t for me right now. What’s a better way to make a namesake out of her? So I named my company Jordan and Bright.”