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Small Business Spotlight

AACCWP Spotlight: Keep it Simple Training and Development

Friday, June 18, 2021

Joel Burstein, the Founder and CEO of Keep it Simple Training and Development, has spent over 20 years working with both nonprofits in underserved communities and professionals on all levels. He started Keep it Simple with the goal of ensuring that nonprofits have the capacity to serve the populations that trust them, by giving them the most innovative management and fundraising training techniques, typically received by those in Fortune 500 companies. 

Tell us a brief history of your business?  

We started our business in 2016. I’ve been in coaching for 22 years. We do training developments, customer service training, business development strategy work and more. We do a lot of training where people must talk to each other. We help small to medium sized businesses determine their growth strategies. We help connect sales training with their customer service departments. We want to help companies have better business development practices. It’s about growing revenue. We wanted to make sure that minority businesses and nonprofits have access to the tools, tips and tricks that the larger businesses have.  

Can you tell us about what inspired you to get into training and development? 

I wanted to make sure that people who look like us and non-profit organizations can have access to opportunities.   

What services do you provide? 

We provide sales coaching, management, leadership, customer service, strategic consulting and more. We work with high potential employees within organizations that want very specific communications skills.  

What makes your business unique?   

I believe we are one of the very few black business development companies. I’m not aware of many minority owned businesses that focus on sales and development.    

What is your favorite part about being located near Downtown Pittsburgh?   

What makes Downtown Pittsburgh fantastic is that you can walk around and see people all day and every day. We have missed this due to the pandemic. From someone who teaches business development I’m not sure there’s a better way to develop business than walking around Downtown Pittsburgh. There is an abundance of opportunity to run into people.  

How have you had to adjust to being a business owner in the midst of the pandemic?  

From our perspective, we missed the business development piece such as knowing people, talking with people and being engaged. We also did a lot of public speaking, live training and seminars so we’ve missed that over that last year. We had already started training people virtually prior to COVID so it was not a huge transition. However, trying to stay in touch with contacts has been a bit of a challenge. That piece disappeared on us. The challenge is how do you continue to get in front of new clients and prospects to continue to grow your business?   

If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting a business in Pittsburgh, what would it be?   

Talk to everybody. Don’t be afraid to talk to anybody. Tell everybody what you’re doing. Ask for support and help. Share what your new business is. Look for contacts to help your business. The reality is most people want to help with a new business. As business owners, we don’t give ourselves enough credit for starting a business and how hard it is. A lot of times people want to help they just don’t know how. So, it’s important to have these conversations and share your story. Go talk to folks. 

Thanks, Joel! You can find Keep it Simple Training & Development online at and follow Joel on LinkedIn for the latest events and updates. 

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