Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Sherry Foster, co-founder of AscendX Digital Inc., located in Toronto, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We are a digital through-channel marketing company. Our customers are manufacturers and distributors who sell their products and/or services through partners - which is most companies. The World Trade Organization has estimated that 75% of world trade flows indirectly - meaning that it flows through distributors and resellers/retailers, aka "partners." Most partners are small/medium-sized businesses with limited marketing resources. We use technology to automate marketing for the ecosystem and help companies reach more customers through more partners.
Tell us about yourself
After working for 28 years in the corporate world in senior leadership roles, I felt that it was time to do something different. I decided to take my experience in corporate sales and marketing, technology innovation, and digital business and create something new that would add value to companies that needed help. I'm constantly motivated by the challenge to do new things and to help businesses be successful.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment so far has been to create an offering that no one else has done and to have lots of customers want to do business with us! Being seen as an industry innovator and expert is exciting.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
The hardest thing that comes with being a business owner is finding time to work "on" the business and not just "in" the business. It's easy to get wrapped up in day-to-day activities, but it's really important to have strategic goals, visit them regularly, and be accountable.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
As a new business owner, I'd advise these three things:
- Take the time to structure your business correctly from the start. Understand all of the legal requirements and the ramifications of setting up your business, whether it's a sole proprietorship or a corporation, and if/how you take on partners. It's hard (and expensive) to change things later on.
- Find a network of other entrepreneurs. Your local region, state/province, etc., may sponsor local and regional innovation centers or incubators. These are excellent places to get advice on strategy, funding, and everything related to starting and growing a business. You can also find groups on social media of like-minded entrepreneurs that are happy to share their experiences.
- Network! Tell everyone you know what you are doing - your friends, your former colleagues, your acquaintances, your neighbors, etc. I have been surprised so many times at the connections that I've made based on someone saying, "Hey, that's interesting. I know someone who you should talk to about that...." It's a small world!
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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