Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Marjan Najafi, Resilience & Wellness Expert of Qyro, located in Zurich, Switzerland.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Qyro is a purpose-driven Swiss company headquartered in Zurich. We believe that human capital investment toward a sustainable working environment is an integral component of successful leadership today. It is the only way to ensure healthy growth in the business and stay attractive to top talent. So in partnership with licensed experts, we have designed a host of programs to help companies with the leadership, work culture, and stress management skills of their workforce.
- A thorough survey and report to measure the pulse of the teams.
- Executive coaching, workshops.
- Online relaxation technique programs on scientifically proven stress management skills.
- Consulting services through our signature "Corporate Wellness Suite."
Tell us about yourself
I spent 14 years of my career in banking and wealth management in very high-intensity and competitive environments in London, Dubai, Singapore, and Zurich. I noticed three outdated realities of the business world that ultimately changed the direction of my career:
- Top-down and traditional leadership styles don´t work anymore. Maybe they were effective ten years ago, but today, they actually harm business.
- A fear-driven work culture leads to your people cutting curves and lying about their work.
- Increasing pressure on your people can only take you so far. It will ultimately lead to your people leaving your firm.
Someone really wise told me that if I have a problem with something, I always have three options: take it, change it, or leave it.
In this case, I decided to change it by leaving it first. So I left the financial industry and got my hands dirty—from doing all kinds of training you can think of to get my coaching license to partnering with experts and professionals (including the Swiss government). And now, I am proud to be back in the corporate world with my hands full, offering solutions that will actually make an impact in the workplace and lead the way in creating a more sustainable work environment for everyone.
The one thing that motivates me the most is how fulfilling my days have become. Not too long ago, when I was in the financial industry, I was on the verge of being burned out and pretty out of touch with myself. And now, I wake up in the morning feeling energized and very much looking forward to my day, doing the kind of work that means so much to me.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
The newfound belief I now have in myself, I think I really lost touch with myself when I was in the financial industry. I was only driven by promotions, business trips, and then the same cycle again.
However, now, after leaving and starting my own business, I feel so much more in tune with and aligned with my core beliefs and values. And this is huge and fills me with a lot of pride.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
One of the hardest challenges is to be able to keep yourself in check and accept that maybe some ideas or ways of doing things are not exactly right. So getting past your ego and being willing to revise and review your business model, strategy, and growth trajectory is critical.
The world is changing fast, and so will your ideas and strategies. Continuously asking for feedback and hearing criticism with an open mind may seem daunting at times (especially if you have spent months developing a product!). But trust me, it is necessary and pays off in the long term.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Don't do this alone. I would highly recommend starting a business with a trusted person with complementary skills to you. Otherwise, it would be incredibly difficult to get ahead.
- Be open to difficult criticisms – they may actually end up saving your business.
- Make sure you have a business coach from the get-go. They will really help with your planning, strategy, etc.
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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