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.
To begin with, it has the most beautiful city views in the NYC area! Jersey City is less than a mile from Manhattan and has all the sophistication and entertainment you expect from a major city with none of hassles and congestion you get across the river. Your guests will be awed by the riverside walks, mural covered buildings and eclectic culture. Jersey City is the most culturally diverse city in the United States and the streets and vendors are an expression of that diversity. Not to mention, parking is easier and more affordable and the food options are endless.
Do you want to strengthen and expand the reach of your brand? It’s important to understand that a strong branding strategy is all about the right mix of resources and attention. Building an effective brand is a tough road to run, but it is truly worth it!
A key factor for long-term business success is developing healthy habits for yourself and your team. Taking consistent daily action will be a deciding factor in what sets your business apart form the rest. This becomes even more important as your business grows, so the earlier you instill strong habits, the better. You won’t have time when you’re busy!
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.
As an entrepreneur, having financial control of my business makes the difference between me managing my business or my business managing me. One of the main reasons I became an entrepreneur was to be independent and have more control over my life. Read More
I use my business plan every day. It is a living document in my business. It is a tool that helps me stay focused and make decisions, while considering the implications the decisions will have on other parts of the business. A lot has changed since the first draft of my business plan, but it has remained a constant check and balance for me. Read More
It’s often said that the customer is always right. I don’t know if I agree with that, but the customer is who will determine if you will make it or not. You have to have customers to have a business. Friends, fans, likes, followers are not the same thing as sales. You have to find and interact with the people who can and will buy your product or service. I spend a lot of my time getting to know my customers. What they like, where they go, what they read, who they listen to, where they live, how much they make… All of these things help me anticipate their needs and create a relationship with them. A good product is not enough anymore. You have to figure out what makes you different and special to your customers.
Leadership is at the heart of every successful business. There is no doubt that every business will have its successes and failures. Being someone who can stay focused on the vision and lead employees, customers, partners, vendors…whoever is on board, through the ups and downs is what differentiates a leader from a manager. I knew I was a good manager before I started my own business. I was organized, focused, hardworking, outspoken. I knew how to get the job done. Now that I’m an entrepreneur, that’s not enough. I have to lead. I have to see how all the pieces come together, put them in the right order and, most importantly, inspire people to join me. A business plan will help you put and keep the pieces together, but your gut and willpower are the secret sauce.
To be a successful entrepreneur, you have to be honest with yourself. Do you have what it takes? Are you willing to put in the hours and discipline needed to build a business? I find myself working as many hours, if not more, than I did when I worked for someone else. I carry the weight of the success of my employees and the happiness of my customers on my shoulders. I stomach the ups and downs in cash flow and endless commentary of naysayers. But because I’m willing to do those things I have the freedom to choose my path and create my purpose every day. It’s a very cool thing, but not for everyone. That’s why knowing where you stand in the market and what is needed to get to your goals is so important. It will help you stand your ground and push forward.