Questions to ask Yourself as a Starting Entrepreneur

Hadi Aboukhater young entrepreneurA recent article in Business News Daily talks about the other side of the entrepreneurial coin. On one side of the coin, there is the business acumen. Does the product work? Is the product scalable? Is the market research all laid out?

On the flip side, there is a more psychological side of entrepreneurship. Now a days, many young people are becoming increasingly displeased with their 9 to 5 jobs, so they turn towards business school or simply starting their own business. A lot of people think that becoming their own boss and developing their own product will fix all of their problems. As an entrepreneur, there is an abundance of freedom and various possibilities, but this is only half of it. The reality of the whole situation is that there is a lot of hard work that comes with running a company. A lot of discipline is required throughout the entire process. There is a certain emotional and mental preparedness that early entrepreneurs must keep in mind before initiating this long journey.

The article continues to ask a couple of questions that young entrepreneurs should ask themselves before starting on this journey. The first question is: Why do I want to do this? There are many entrepreneurs out there that easily get excited about an idea because of the opportunities to make money. They don’t have a clear vision of why they are creating such a product and the value that they want to instill in the world. Passion, drive, and discipline are necessary for when the going gets tough, which it will.

The next question: Am i sure that the job that I have now can’t fulfill these desires? Some people simply need more structure and a clearer brand. A lot of people jump into entrepreneurship only because they are not content with their current job. The simple solution to this might be that they need a new job.

Question #3: Do I have a strong network base? The network base is huge when it comes to starting a business. Having people to bounce ideas off of, having people in different industries that can help expand the brand will only make scaling easier.

The last question is What time frame am I comfortable with? A business owner needs to have a time frame in mind so that they are psychologically prepared for the journey ahead. This will allow for a more structured attack rather than a sporadic day by day life filled with uncertainty at every corner.

Entrepreneurship Lessons: From Dead-End Jobs to Entrepreneur

Hadi Aboukhater Entreprneurship MindA recent article on Fast Company’s blog describes four entrepreneurship lessons learned by Chet Kittleson while working dead-end jobs. Over the course of his career, Chet has worked as a pizza delivery driver, salesman, boat cleaner, landscaper, dishwasher, shoe stocker, house painter and cloths folder. Each one of these jobs taught him something different and made him into the entrepreneur that he his today. Chet organizes this article into four key entrepreneurial lessons.

He starts out by promoting perspective as a key aspect in becoming a good entrepreneur. Perspective helps people get through tough times, and as an entrepreneur, there will be plenty of tough times to get through. Having gone through numerous dead-end jobs can help an entrepreneur gain perspective to help him through his own rough times. An entrepreneur will feel less pain if he has already gone through low pay, no benefits, and working overtime. Perspective helps the entrepreneur stay focused rather than dwelling on the negative.

The next word of advice is empathy. Empathy is the emotional understanding of another person’s state of mind. When dealing with customer’s it is always essential to empathize with their needs. By empathizing rather than catering to your own needs, you are able to develop a better relationship with your customer. In various jobs, a customer base might come from a completely different mindset than the employees. It is essential to focus on their needs because that is what customer service is all about.

Going off of empathy, customer service is the next word of advice. In the business world, there will be a lot of people who are different. From a global entrepreneurship standpoint, one must embrace the differences and focus on the task at hand. Learning to cope with customer service takes time, but it is important to understand the employer-customer dynamic when entering the business world.

The last word of advice that Chet has for us is drive. Working hard is essential in any position of entrepreneurship. Perspective can help fuel drive and lead people to work harder than they have ever worked before. If someone works hard at whatever they do, keeps customers happy, and maintains a good perspective, this can really help bolster an entrepreneurial career.

The Three Phases of Building a Startup Company

Hadi Aboukhater Startup PhasesA new article in Forbes magazine discusses the steps that new tech startups have to take to get off the ground. Jeff Wald and Jeffery Leventhal wrote this article. They go on to claim that growing a tech startup involves a mix of fortitude, attitude, work ethic, risk management, with a touch of irrationality. Each stage of evolving a startup is almost like the beginning of a new company. At each stage of developing a startup; the environment, work pace, and culture can be vastly different. Jeff and Jeffery describe the growth in three phases.

Phase 1 is the idea phase. It involves thinking about a new concept that involves a new, easier, and innovative way of doing things. They describe this phase as staying in your garage until 4am in the morning with friends. They are having a lot of fun with large amounts of stress. There are typically a few people in stage one. There is little structure or process, and a lot of caffeine and gut feelings. There is no need for financing or charts in Phase 1; the people who make it past this phase just find a way to get it done and move on to Phase 2.

Phase 2 is the building phase. This is the phase where the team builds their budget, process, and organization. The team might even have to rebuild itself. If people from Phase 1 are not interested in structure or organizing a real company, then they have to go. This is when the real organization needs to begin. This is the phase where the founders are taking the idea and turning it into a real company. Phase 2 is when the founders have to grow up and finally start their own company.

Phase 3 is the optimization phase. This is the phase when the company is optimizing their budgets, organization, and process. They are finding the best way to make their product work at the lowest cost. This is when the company is thinking in terms of “the long term.” The company is adding a finance team and an HR team as well as integrating sales and marketing. The founders are consistently thinking about scaling different aspects of the company. Debt needs to be paid back and the product needs to fit to scale.

This article is based off of this Forbes article.

Urban Compass with a $360 Million Valuation from Investors

Hadi Aboukhater Urban CompassIn a recent article by Bloomberg, Urban Compass Inc. has just received a $360 million valuation after receiving $40 million from investors. The New York startup’s revenues have jumped 10-fold in the last year, so investors are keeping a keen eye on this company. Urban Compass is a tech startup that makes buying and renting apartments easier in New York City. They list properties and connect real estate agents with people searching for apartments. This app is beneficial for both brokers and people searching for apartments. Users are able to get down to precise specifics on what they want when looking for apartments, and brokers are easily able to connect and maintain in contact with clients through the mobile application.

Ori Allon, co-founder of Urban Compass, states that their services are about to expand to such cities as Boston, Chicago and San Francisco. Urban Compass is attempting to take the dishonesty out of searching for an apartments and make the entire process a more transparent and effortless.

Allon and Urban Compass’ CEO, Robert Reffkin, are experienced when it comes to business and finance. Allon has already sold companies to Google and Twitter, while Reffkin was the chief of staff for Goldman Sachs. Their latest round of investments have been from Thrive Capital, Founders Fund, .406 Ventures, and the CEO of American Express, Kenneth Chenault.

Urban Compass currently employs close to 150 people as they are moving to a new office location in Union Square. Half of the staff is made up of licensed real estate sales people, as Allon hopes to reach over 200 licensed real estate sales people within the next year. The brokers are easily able to use Urban Compass’ software to maintain relationships with clients and keep tabs of their hectic schedules. Searching for an apartment in NYC is hectic, so it’s about time that better software has come out to fix this industry with many holes in it.

This blog post is based off of this Bloomberg article.