RIBBA’s mission is made possible by a stellar community of businesses, staff, volunteers, and supporters. We’d like to place a spotlight on one of the members of this incredible network: C.C. Business Corporation.
Marcellus Sharpe, Owner and President of CC Business Corporation, a business focusing on security services, office cleaning services, knows personally what it means to build, grow and adapt even when it’s uncomfortable or unpopular. This is a key ingredient for success in the world of business. Sharpe grew up in the Providence, RI area and spent some time between other locations such as Virginia, as he moved forward in the workforce, trying different jobs. As Marcellus did not attend college, it was very important to him to pursue other avenues of education and training and tapped into his strong sense of self-motivation to help him with this. In 1984, Marcellus officially embarked on the business owner path and started C.C. Business Corporation. These efforts paid off as he completed programs such as SCORE, through the SBDC, and started to pave the way toward notable leadership in business. A notable moment along this path included his receipt of the District Director Special Achievement Award from the Small Business Administration (SBA) in 1995.
Although Marcellus experienced success early on in his career, he didn’t go without weathering some challenges as well. A key event that propelled Marcellus forward into stepping out into entrepreneurship was when he lost a job within the cleaning industry that he had held for three years as a young professional. Another key to success in business is building a network and having meaningful and intentional conversations—something that Marcellus exemplified from the beginning of his career. When he was transitioning out of the company as result of job loss, he was committed to developing a solid plan, and had a pivotal conversation with the owner about his interest in starting a business. He received helpful recommendations such as: starting without partners to hold onto more equity, and begin with low overhead and startup costs to accelerate growth. This conversation led to the beginning of a mentoring relationship, to which Marcellus credits a lot of his success.
Some things that set C.C. Business Corporation apart include the relatively small size of the business (est. 40+ clients at a time) and personalization of the high quality customer service experience. It is important to Marcellus and C.C. Business Corporation to receive, address, and incorporate feedback about issues as soon as possible, which is something they take pride in. Marcellus and C.C. Business Corporation are committed to high quality process, results and experience, which does become challenging due to barriers such as hiring the most committed, competent, and skilled workers. Marcellus attributes the gap in finding the right talent within the security industry to a lack of adequate training for people to pursue this avenue. On the other hand, what does allow people to persevere in business despite challenges according to Marcellus is, physical and mental strength. In his own life and experience of running a business for over 37 years, he has experienced closed doors, a changing business landscape, increased barriers to success, and bureaucracy, but tenacity and determination along with the right resources, work ethic, and support have kept him on this path. One example of this is the resilience of the business structure amidst the pandemic. As Marcellus has previously learned the importance of diversifying business offerings and services, this was particularly helpful during the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, as they pivoted away from office cleaning, and stayed solely with Security Guard and patrol services as this area grew increasingly complex during this challenging time.
No one achieves and sustains success in business without the right combination of support and resources. Marcellus is no stranger to this truth. In his years of being within the RIBBA network, he has received services including loans, marketing consultant & content development, legal consultant, financial consultant, collateral support loan program, all of which RIBBA is proud to make possible for many businesses in the network, in addition to other services and opportunities. Some advice that Marcellus offers for emerging and aspiring entrepreneurs is: demonstrate tenacity, find a mentor, you’re only as good as your last day’s work, there is no substitute for experience, and remember to work “on” your business, not “in” your business. As he turns the corner toward 40 years in business, his current focus is on continuing to strengthen the foundation and structure of the business, particularly in areas such as hiring and marketing, for the next phase of growth as he considers what his own next steps will entail and as he approaches the retirement season of his career.
Mr. Sharpe, along with RIBBA, is committed to and passionate about advancing equity and access within entrepreneurship and seeing an increased number of BIPOC owned businesses in the state continue to grow and shine. According to Marcellus, this will require commitment from the top down and from leadership of various industries and organizations. We are grateful for the commitment, leadership, and vision of entrepreneurs like Marcellus Sharpe that makes the work of RIBBA continue to expand and reach as many people as possible.
For more information about CC Business Corporation, please visit: http://www.ccbusinesscorp.com/index_security.php
For more information about RIBBA, please visit: https://ri-bba.org/
About the author: Stephanie Mireku is RIBBA’s volunteer Content Writer and works with businesses, volunteers, and community members to highlight their and RIBBA’s work. Her passion for writing of all kinds, and background in English and Business Administration fueled her interest in combining these areas through the Content Writer role. Stephanie first became involved with RIBBA through the LEAP Mentoring program as a mentee in the 2021 cohort. She is enthusiastic about relationship building, mission centric creativity, social impact, and philanthropy, and puts this into action through various outlets including her work as an Assistant Director of Alumni Relations at Providence College.