Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business services but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Trish Thomas, Principal and Lead Strategist of Akamai Strategy, located in New York, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Akamai Strategy is a New York-based global consultancy focused on research, strategy, planning, foundational brand building, and storytelling. Our advisory, coaching, and team-building services ensure successful implementation of our roadmaps, faithfully delivering ROI for clients.
We are advisors, advocates, and guides. We do the deep work required to understand and blend hard data with creativity, instinct, passion, and vision to advance big ideas in the world.
We consult with clients ranging from startups to Fortune 500 with a track record of boosting performance and profitability rapidly. Clients include Informa, Medtronic, the State of Colorado, Zayo, AirFuel Alliance, Life Time Fitness, and CU Boulder, among many others.
Tell us about yourself
Akamai Strategy was born from two unique experiences. My consultancy practice from 2001-2014 was strategic, delivering strategy, planning and advocacy at the senior executive level. TEEM, my primary venture for over 6 years, which I sold to my 'TEEM team' in 2021, is a full-service marketing agency where I found myself in the weeds on implementation, including advertising, digital campaigns, and complex team assembly and management.
I loved consulting but wanted to ensure that high-level strategy and planning delivered results in the real world. And in running an agency, I found myself so immersed in tactical minutiae that I couldn't see the forest for the trees. Akamai Strategy represents the best of both worlds - a company where I can champion my clients and elevate their brands.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Definitely giving myself and my family the life that we want and deserve. It's taken some time, but I've been an entrepreneur for many years and have managed to carve out a firm where I love my clients, enjoy the work I do each day, earn a high income, and have some flexibility to travel and enjoy life.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
The responsibility. When you are working for someone else, you may feel pressure and stress and cope with performance demands. But the reality is that the entire fate of the business and everyone it serves is not on you. I take my responsibilities as a business owner very seriously and work hard to serve clients well, ensure our team is well compensated and supported, and that the business is positioned to thrive in the future.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Have patience! Building a successful company takes time and dedication. Many first-time entrepreneurs think they will have overnight success and be millionaires in a year. Sometimes that happens, but more often than not, you spend years working long hours, earning a small paycheck, and adapting your model and your team until you get the formula right.
- Be willing to change and respond to the market. No business exists without customers, so your products and services have to meet a real need in the marketplace. You can't just create what you want - and do what you want - and assume that customers will come. You really need to get into the minds and hearts of your target buyer and solve problems for them.
- Be willing to work with people who are smarter than you. None of us are good at everything. And great entrepreneurs know that they may not be the best at anything. But they are usually very good at pulling smart, talented, committed people around them and listening to them. No one builds a high-performing business alone, so be willing to let go of being the smartest person in the room.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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