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So You Want to be A Strategist: Yvette Owo on Helping Businesses Thrive

Portrait of Jaguar Heart

Managing Partner, YOLO Accounting


Key Takeaways


  • Yvette Owo's time at Accenture was beyond crunching numbers and generating reports; it was a valuable lesson in cracking hard negotiations and uniting people to achieve common goals in a high-pressure environment.

  • Now, Owo’s work at YOLO Accounting as MD focuses on helping small-to-medium-sized businesses get the high-quality finance, planning, and accounting expertise the ‘big boys’ used to get largely.

  • Between satisfying customers, appeasing those who have invested in their business and managing employees, entrepreneurs lose sight of the importance of taking care of their mental health and physical well-being. They must practice self-care.  




For as long as she can remember, young Yvette Owo’s mind bubbled with ideas of different ventures. First, it was a lemonade stand for neighbours who were not thrilled to partake. At other times, Yvette found herself engrossed in hours-long Microsoft paint sessions after watching ‘Muppet Babies,’ trying to design inventions in exchange for a few cents despite a generous dollar-a-week allowance. She wanted to create and sell things because it was fun.


Selling lemonade or hand-crafted objects, a childhood rite of passage for most was nothing short of entrepreneurship in its most nascent form for 10-year-old Owo.


“People did not want me inside their houses because I was black. But I rang their doorbells anyway and sold homemade cookies,” Owo confesses. Yvette never took no for an answer, even when the odds were stacked against her. Fast-forwarding a few years, she found herself in the chair of an executive at the world’s largest consulting firm, Accenture, wielding business strategy for C-Suite leaders. It was a far cry from a card table covered in mismatched plastic cups, but the core drive – the desire to build, to help businesses thrive – remained the same.


After the door-to-door cookie sales and a few other businesses that summer, her parents banned her from selling. They planned for her to be a lawyer. But Owo would eventually return to entrepreneurship after following a more accepted career path.


For ten years after college, Owo seamlessly led finance, accounting, and bookkeeping and acquisition work for Fortune 500 Companies. When she could no longer fight the entrepreneur bug, she gave in to the first job she ever loved.


She left Accenture to do consulting for owners of small businesses. She helped them grow their net income and work less. She helped owners apply the strategies, tools, and tactics that helped big companies win. During this time, she also needed to face some very serious health challenges. A car accident while she was biking to work had created a chronic illness and even eventually qualified her for disability. She started her entrepreneurial career amid debilitating pain.  By working with hundreds of health professionals from around the world for over 12 years and doing thousands of hours of research and self-experimentation, she continues to heal her body so that she can live her dreams.


She had a bucket list goal to become a professor. Dealing with her health issues while watching the world struggle with COVID, pushed her to pursue her aspirations. Goal number one was becoming an adjunct professor at the University of Texas Macomb School of Business. As she continued to heal, Owo decided it was time to start goal number two: acquiring businesses.


Owo’s current work at YOLO as Managing Director focuses on helping small-to-medium-sized businesses get the high-quality finance, planning, and accounting expertise the ‘big boys’ used to get largely. Yvette is also passionate about helping people acquire businesses, speaks frequently on the topic, and is building a community for acquisition entrepreneurs in Austin, Texas. By June of 2024, she’s on track to acquire 2 accounting companies, in addition to the one she started. She buys companies for her portfolio and helps others do the same.


Yvette's Journey at Accenture 


Before securing a position with Accenture, Yvette thought hard about an intellectually challenging job in business outside of investment banking. 


Strategy consulting piqued her interest. Owo played the role of Business Strategy Senior Manager here. She helped business executives in large corporations launch new products, execute global cost reduction programs, and plan post-acquisition integration. “I sometimes think I chose the hardest battle; it would have been much easier for me to sit behind a spreadsheet,” she confesses. But ever a challenge seeker, Owo wanted to test the waters, not play to her strengths, and call it a success. 


Yvette’s time at Accenture was beyond crunching numbers and generating reports; it was a valuable lesson in cracking hard negotiations, assessing personalities at the workplace, and uniting people to achieve a common goal while making room for errors in a high-pressure environment. 



Self-Care is Integral For Entrepreneurs

"The only person whose job it is to consider your self-interest is you from now until the day you die." Yvette Owo

“You are your most valued asset,” says Yvette to anyone who wishes to tread the path of entrepreneurship. Somewhere between satisfying customers, appeasing those who have invested in your business and managing employees, entrepreneurs lose sight of the importance of taking care of their mental health and physical well-being. It is not cowardly for champions to admit defeat in the game of life.



Becoming A Life Strategist 


Owo says having a long-term goal in developing any business strategy is crucial. A strategy sans a vision is aimless wandering. Beyond business, people also need to set aims in health, relationships, and personal finances. People grapple with questions that they know the answers to but struggle to execute. They catch themselves thinking: “What should I weigh? How much time should I spend with my kids or spouse? Am I making enough time for friendship? What qualities do you want as a parent?” Without these goals, one is bound to feel directionless. Life strategy is about choosing a direction for yourself, saying yes to what fits the strategy, and saying no to what doesn’t. “Have goals but be flexible with how you get them because life is going to happen. And that is not necessarily bad,” Owo says. 












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