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.
Hello, my name is Zahra Amanpour. I am the founder of Indiegrove, a coworking space in Downtown Jersey City, NJ. My career has been dedicated to providing services to entrepreneurs so that they can build and grow successful businesses. I have a MBA and MA in Social Psychology, which have both helped me in my career and running my own business. I believe entrepreneurs are the real change makers in society. They have the courage to do things differently and pave new paths. They create jobs and solve problems. After working with entrepreneurs for many years, I decided to take the leap. I walked away from a high paying job and for the past year and half have been experiencing the journey for myself with all its ups and downs, challenges and successes, fears and joy. It is an amazing journey, but one that has to be thought out and planned as much as possible. The statistics show that more than 80% of businesses do not make it more than 2 years. That number changes to more than 50% making it with a business plan. The numbers speak for themselves.