The Art of Standing Out: Finding Your Business Niche with Robert Brawner

Cadence Bank Podcast: In Good Companies

Great business often starts with a need that hasn’t been met. Whether you’re operating in an emerging field, or offering a new service within an established industry, a good niche holds unique potential for your company. Our guest Robert Brawner knows this from experience.

As an environmental consultant and the founder of One Consulting Group, Robert was carrying out health and safety assessments, digging out landfills, and removing asbestos before climate change was on everyone’s mind. He started in his field in the 1990s, when environmental regulations were not a primary concern in real estate construction and development, and built two successful environmental consulting firms in Atlanta, Georgia. Thirty years later – his field is booming, and he is still at the heart of the action, with a boutique business and clientele he has nurtured intentionally.

So in this episode, Robert reveals how to identify a good business niche, and dig in! We unveil the strategies that helped him seed his company, and reflect on the forces at play within the environmental industry today. We draw lessons from Robert’s inspiring professional journey to find out how to keep business flowing even through changing partnerships and financial crashes.

Tune in with Robert Brawner for a lesson in motivation and resilience.


  • Robert Brawner’s professional background (2:31)
  • How to explore your niche and gathering information (4:15)
  • Unpacking the “Blue Ocean” strategy (5:52)
  • Getting into Environmental Consultancy in Atlanta (7:07)
  • How Robert became a partner at his first firm (8:43)
  • Developing environmental consultancy in the commercial space (10:04)
  • Growing your clientele within your niche (11:56)
  • Switching Gears: Anticipating the 2008 financial crash (13:15)
  • “When you leave a business relationship, don’t burn bridges” (15:05)
  • Pivoting the property development market after 2008 (16:45)
  • How the Atlanta Beltline gave One Consulting Group a new lease on life (17:34)
  • Property redevelopment: adapting & reusing building sites (19:50)
  • The effects of climate change on Robert’s practice (22:08)
  • Convenience, consistency, connection: the Japanese approach to client relationship (24:18)
  • Advantages of keeping business at a boutique scale (27:22)
  • “Now is a great time to grow” (30:02)



If you have questions about the show or topics you'd like discussed in future episodes, email our producers, [email protected], [email protected], or [email protected].


Read the full show transcript.

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Meet the Speaker

Robert BrawnerPrior to founding One Consulting Group, Inc. in 2006, Robert Brawner worked extensively in the construction and environmental arena on a wide array of projects. He has embraced the commercial lending, construction and real-estate development industries. Leveraging his broad knowledge base, ranging from indoor air quality to hazardous waste management to underground storage tanks, Mr. Brawner is able to holistically manage the myriad of environmental concerns that confront clients on a daily basis. His sound understanding of actual and potential challenges facing clients has enabled him to cost-effectively and quickly assist real-estate developers and loan officers with their projects. He focuses on forecasting any potential problems then proactively implements solutions to avoid unnecessary delays and unexpected cost overruns. He has supervised over 3,000 Phase I Environmental Site Assessments, has resolved to closure over 400 subsurface investigations involving numerous contaminants of concern and has personally inspected over five million square feet of commercial property for Indoor Air Quality concerns.


One Consulting Group is a regional environmental consultancy offering due diligence, investigation, remediation, and development services that provide turnkey solutions to complex regulatory problems. You require quick response, attention to detail, and personal responsibility for your investment. We solve environmental challenges cost-effectively and efficiently while focusing on your environmental needs.


This podcast is provided as a free service to you and is for general informational purposes only. Cadence Bank and its affiliates make no representations or warranties as to the accuracy, completeness, or timeliness of the content in the podcast. The podcast is not intended to provide legal, accounting or tax advice and should not be relied upon for such purposes.

To the extent that this podcast includes predictions about the economy, these predictions are subject to a number of variables and you should confer with your legal, accounting and tax advisors for their input regarding the possible outcomes of any economic subject matter discussed herein. Predictions are forward-looking statements that reflect current views with respect to, among other things, future events. Forward-looking statements are not historical facts, and are based on current expectations, estimates and projections, many of which, by their nature, are inherently uncertain and beyond the control of any person or entity. Accordingly, please be aware that any such forward-looking statements are not guarantees and are subject to risks, assumptions and uncertainties that are difficult to predict.

The views and opinions expressed by the host and guests in this podcast are solely their own current opinions regarding the subject matter discussed in the podcast and are based on their own perspectives. Such views, perspectives and opinions do not reflect those of Cadence Bank or any of its affiliates, or the companies with which any guest is, or may be, affiliated. The production and presentation of this podcast by Cadence Bank does not imply the expression of any opinion on the part of Cadence Bank or any of its affiliates.

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