4 July

Independence and Responsibility

Independence Day is one of my favorite holidays.  It represents so much of what I as an entrepreneur and the founder of Indiegrove cherish.

As an entrepreneur, I have come to truly appreciate the flexibility and freedom we have in running our own businesses and creating our own destinies.  It is truly a privilege.  Nothing brings this to light more than the choices we get to make during the slower summer season, holidays and good times with our loved ones.  But I strongly believe that with freedom comes responsibility.  So while we enjoy what we have worked so hard to create, we must always keep our focus on those around us, our communities, our families, our fellow entrepreneurs and make sure our businesses stay strong, sustainable and represent our values.  At Indiegrove, we take a lot of pride in this responsibility and truly enjoy the experiences and encounters it brings us on a daily basis.

This summer, take some time to reflect on your values as an entrepreneur and business. Are those values integrated into your daily work and goals?  Do your employees know what you stand for?  Do your customers know what you represent?  Your values should be at the forefront of all your decisions.

To Your Success,

-Zahra

28 December

Build Your Team

Nothing is more important to a small business or startup than a good team.  You have to invest the time and energy it takes to find them, train them and keep them.  It is the biggest struggle I see entrepreneurs dealing with daily at Indiegrove.  But when the right team is in place it is a beautiful thing to see.  You can feel the vibe when a good team is around you.  They are all focused on the purpose and willing to do what it takes.  Building that type of team has nothing to do with formal credentials, i.e. degrees, and everything to do with character.  I’ve managed hundreds of people in my career and every time it has come down to that gut feeling I got when I first shook the person’s hand in an interview, the way they responded to my emails when I invited them or whether or not they looked me in the eye when they said “thank you.”  Trust those instincts. Those first impressions will tell you more about their future behavior and performance than anything else. If they meet the gut check, then look at the more objective qualifications, i.e., years of work experience, references, and make an informed decision.  I can’t tell you how much I’ve regretted every time I didn’t hire with that process. It has always come back to haunt me later.

If you find and build your team the right way, they will be your favorite part of every day. They will inspire, motivate and drive your business to greatness.  Your job will become to lead them, not manage them, and that is what entrepreneurs are meant to do.

To your success!

-Zahra

13 December

Step out of your comfort zone, this much

 I can’t tell you how often I watch entrepreneurs recede into their comfort zone the minute they are asked to go against the grain, think of their business as more than their immediate circumstance or just try something new. I don’t pretend that everyone’s comfort zone starts and ends at the same place. I know boldness comes easier to some than others. But if you think you are going to build a sustainable business by doing anything less than bold on a daily basis, you are wrong. It’s a choice that you have to make over and over again as an entrepreneur. One of the best sayings I have ever come across is “Discomfort is a sign of growth.” You have to be uncomfortable if you are growing. It’s just part of the territory. This journey we are all on makes us push our own boundaries and of those around us.  If you are asking people to trust you and buy your product/service, something they are not certain about, you better be willing to do the same all the time. It is really what makes the possibilities endless and the journey worthwhile.

To Your Success!

-Zahra

This post is part of “The Days in the Life of an Entrepreneur” series.

6 December

The Days in the Life of an Entrepreneur

Chasing Money

You hear time and time again in all the entrepreneurial blogs, quotes, guiding principles, etc. that you shouldn’t chase the money, chase the dream and the money will follow. Unfortunately, many would be entrepreneurs take that to mean they shouldn’t be focused on money at all.  Not true.  Money shouldn’t be your only goal or even your primary goal, but it has to be a goal.  Unlike some other goals, if you don’t achieve it, you will be out of business. Too often those who get that part end up only trying to high end markets because they think that is where the money is. But here’s the problem with the high end money.  What is considered luxury changes fast and furious and everything is eventually commoditized in that world. Yes, there is money to be made in those markets, but for how long?  Whatever you are doing make sure it is a sustainable business that can withstand the trials of time and change. As for me, I just like doing business with real people.

To Your Success!

-Zahra

30 November

The Days in the Life of an Entrepreneur

Humility

The lessons of humility are always following you as an entrepreneur:  

“Listen to your customers.”  

“Make it work.”  

“Shake that guys hand.”  

“Wipe the floors.”  

“Pay yourself last.”

“Take feedback.” 

“Smile today.” 

The great thing about humility is that it allows you the space to think, reflect and digest. If you aren’t always taking action, you are able internalize and grow.  It is a lesson that gives back constantly if you allow it to. 

9 October

Member Spotlight: Laura M. Fisher, Esq.

1. Tell us about your business and when you started?

I’m a solo attorney in Jersey City with a practice that focuses mainly on real estate law. I work closely with people who are buying and selling property, whether it’s first-time homebuyers who are purchasing their first home, to real estate developers looking to gut renovate brownstones and turn them into condos. I work with landlords and tenants to help make things right when they go wrong. Essentially, I’m a problem solver: I do my best to ease my clients’ minds by making an otherwise complicated and frustrating process as straightforward and stress-free as possible.

Read More

29 March

Financing a New Business

There are a lot of options for financing a business, but none of them are easy.  I was rejected by every major bank before I took my plan to community lenders and was approved.  The process was painful.  They poked and prodded into every detail of my life and it took months.  In the end it was all worth it.  I had what I needed to build my space and get myself to breakeven. Investors are another increasingly popular option, but you have to be willing to give up control of your business. You have to decide what you can handle and know what the other party is looking for.  Whether you go with debt or equity financing you will be accountable to another party or parties.  My goal is to get to a point the business itself can finance its growth.  For most businesses this is the best option and will allow you to maintain your independence. For others you have to go after outside financing.  Just make sure you never lose sight of why you started the whole thing to begin with.