ScaleUp Success: Dyann McDowell of Training Marbles, Inc.

For passionate entrepreneurs like Dyann McDowell, owner of staff training agency Training Marbles, Inc., it can be difficult to relinquish responsibility of the little details of business management. Her experience — 20 years in supervising and 10 in business and human resources consulting — gives her unique authority on the training and shaping of individuals. And after 16 years of owning and leading Training Marbles, Inc. McDowell sees herself as its best advocate, with the deepest understanding of the company’s vision.

But that vision is growing.

McDowell started Training Marbles in 2001 — back when it had its original name, Safety Link Service Corps, and centered on safety training and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspections. After deciding she’d never do another OSHA class, McDowell repurposed and rebranded the company, creating Training Marbles, Inc.

Dyann McDowell
Dyann McDowell

“We’re literally training the marbles of the mind,” said McDowell, who up until last fall was Training Marbles, Inc.’s sole instructor. “There were a lot of mediocre trainers and education providers out there, and the workplace just really needed engaging education sessions across the board.”

Along with some consulting services, Training Marbles, Inc. offers courses on diversity and inclusion, leadership, and maintaining a drug-free workplace. She provides services to businesses in Ohio and several other states in the Midwest and beyond, including Illinois, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Georgia and North Carolina.

Within three years, McDowell wants Training Marbles to be a million dollar agency that “will have the ability to touch more employers than I can touch alone and currently.”

For assistance, she sought YMT Consultants’ Entrepreneur Exchange program. With the help of intensive entrepreneurial training and hands-on business coaching, McDowell was able to redefine her vision and outline steps to fulfill it.

“If you asked me six months ago if my mission and vision statement had changed, I would have told you ‘absolutely not,’” she said. “[The program] is the master’s course in entrepreneurship and business development. It’s already changed the framework of what the business looks like in January versus now in July.”

After reassessing her revenue streams, McDowell decided to make some cuts, starting with her hourly consulting service. The courses she provides on keeping a drug-free workplace, diversity, and leadership are her most profitable, and they’ll be her focus moving forward. With that in mind, she’s in the process of recruiting new trainers, a trying task for McDowell.

marbles2Like many entrepreneurs, McDowell has learned the art of juggling the day-to-day duties, along with overseeing and managing her business as a whole. It might be time to assemble a team, but as an established professional in the industry, she has a training strategy that might not align with Training Marbles, Inc. applicants. To help her over this hurdle, the Entrepreneur Exchange program has assisted her in determining what exactly she wants in a new hire.

“It was probably the biggest ‘A-ha!’ for me, because I was looking for trainers. I look at other trainers, and I just go ‘No, that won’t work,’ and what I’ve come to realize is my clients depend on the expertise,” McDowell said. “We’re experts first. We’re trainers second.”

Now mindfully in search of field experts who can learn her training style, McDowell is one step closer to her vision, and a few steps away from the micro-responsibilities of Training Marbles. Through YMT Consultants’ training program she learned to know her worth, and to never do work that is below that level.

“I’ve learned really how to run the business and get out of the way to grow the business on a bigger scale,” McDowell said. “So I’m learning to be the president of my organization instead of the owner of my organization — less doing, more managing.”

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To take the next step in scaling up your business, visit to apply and learn more about the Entrepreneur Exchange Program, funded by SBA ScaleUp America.


YMT Consultants is a microbusiness consulting and training firm providing monthly consulting and business development. We help microbusiness owners change their mindset, resulting in greater control of their business, increased revenue and bottom-line, and a strategic growth plan to achieve their “big-picture” vision for them and their business.