Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Eric Ashman, Founder of Eric Ashman Consulting Group, located in Cambridge, MA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I help venture capital-backed startups navigate the challenges of growth, scaling, and building value. Many founders get stuck between rounds of funding. They find product-market fit but then lose sight of it in the frantic chase for growth. Through our Startup Strategy Sprint, founders rediscover the critical drivers of their business, extend their runway, and identify a path to scalable growth and their next round of funding.
Tell us about yourself
I've spent my career partnering with founders and CEOs to navigate the challenges of building great companies. I'm at my best when the chips are down and the future is uncertain. I've navigated the bursting of the dot-com bubble, the Great Recession, and the Covid shutdowns of 2020. I've experienced a failed fundraise, successfully raised over $165 million in venture capital, and led a team to a successful exit. I've made tough choices to extend cash runway and leaned in to accelerate growth when the opportunity ahead of us was clear.
I bring all of that experience to every project. I am a trusted advisor who can provide an outside perspective, helping founders balance competing interests and different points of view to make critical decisions as quickly as possible.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishments are viewed through the lens of my clients. When a founder can rediscover the path to achieve their vision for their company, I've accomplished the vision of my company.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
With a never-ending to-do list, focusing on what matters most in hitting key milestones and moving your business forward is the hardest thing about being a business owner. I have annual goals, but I run my business in three-month sprints, with at most three goals for each sprint. Every day, I prioritize my work in service of those goals. This helps me avoid working on tasks that don't move the needle.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Founders are mad scientists in a laboratory, testing hypotheses about product-market fit in a quest to build a flywheel of profitable, scalable growth. Every initiative should be viewed through the lens of testing, measuring, and adjusting to the results you see. Assume that many of the things you try won't work, and many of your assumptions about your customer, messaging, products and go-to-market strategy are off at least a little bit. The key is taking many swings, measuring what happens, and then adjusting until you find success.
- Don't chase growth. You can accelerate your investment in customer acquisition as you build a strong foundation of product-market fit. When your unit economics suddenly don't make sense, slow down, fix that problem, and then try to lean back in again.
- Building a company is hard work. Overnight success is a myth. It's a marathon, not a sprint. Set ambitious but attainable goals. Leave space to take care of your mental health. Don't just focus on the destination. Allow yourself to enjoy the journey.
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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