Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal and business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Andrea Simon, Founder of Simon Associates Management Consultants, located in Yorktown Heights, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My name is Andrea J. Simon, Ph.D. ("Andi"); I am an international leader in the growing field of corporate anthropology, an Axiom bronze Best Business Book of 2017 winning author of On the Brink: A fresh lens to take your business to new heights, and the founder and CEO of Simon Associates Management Consultants (SAMC). My second award-winning book is Rethink: Smashing the Myths of Women in Business. Released in January 2021, it shows how women today are challenging the expected business norms and crashing through with extraordinary creative business, legal and professional solutions.
I enables organizations to see their cultures with fresh eyes., My talks on Change Matters and Blue Ocean Strategy have been featured in over 500 engagements. I was widely covered in Inc.com, Business Week, Good Morning America, and Modern Healthcare and have been a blogger for Forbes and Fierce Healthcare.
With more than 130,000 monthly listeners, my podcast, On the Brink with Andi Simon, is ranked among the top 200 business podcasts and rated among the top 20 for futurists. My clients come from across the globe and span industries as she helps them come "off the brink" and learn how to soar again.
Tell us about yourself
I trained to be an anthropologist with a particular interest in American society and the changes taking place in this country. After getting my doctorate, achieving a tenured position, and serving as a professor of Anthropology and American Studies, I was invited to become a consultant for Citibank during rapid deregulation. This new venture transformed my career. After several years as a consultant, I spent fourteen years as a financial services executive and seven years as a healthcare executive, helping those organizations respond to business environments demanding new services, skills, and cultures.
After 9/11, I launched my business as a corporate anthropologist focused on helping organizations change. Our business grew rapidly. People were less interested in who I was or what I did and much more concerned with how my team and I could help them adapt to their changing markets. Whether a university was searching for new students or a hospital was trying to expand beyond its market, the ideas and execution were right in front of them. If only they could see them. Simon Associates developed a reputation for helping people "see, feel, and think" in new ways so they could change.
We have written two award-winning and best-selling books on these topics. And we have a podcast focused on helping people see things through a fresh lens. For me, every day is a new gift for giving. We truly believe that our job is to help others do their jobs more easily, with better perspectives on solving complex problems and communicating with better clarity and direction. We have several leadership academies that have been operating for several years. I conduct over 25 workshops each year on Change Matters: How to Find New Market Space. And we work with a wide array of clients from every type of industry and stage in their development.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
An idea is hard to find. Implementing an idea and turning it into a successful business is even harder. So many people have helped us build Simon Associates into a successful management consulting firm grounded in anthropology's theory, methods, and tools. I am honored each day by their support, referrals, and enthusiastic belief that we can help them do things that stymy them. It is not fun to be stuck or stalled. Our biggest accomplishment is to help others see things through a fresh lens. When it works, we all celebrate.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Depending on how you manage your business model, you often have to grow the business while doing the business. That balance is difficult and, unless managed carefully, can lead to stagnation.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Be sure you have something of value that is different from other solutions in the markets you will serve. To be another type of business competing with others just like you is a losing proposition today.
- If you are the only or the best of the rest, you must create demand. Craft the right story and tell it often to the right audiences. People buy stories, not products or services. So what is your story?
- Think about creating a new market. There is too much supply today and changing demand. Who has unmet needs you could help serve? Spend time hanging out with them to understand better how they solve problems and how you can be their solution. Talk to people lots.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Go for it. Whatever it is you believe you can create, you probably can. Don't let others define you. Take charge of your own image and identity. Build your business, and make it happen. Dreams do come true.
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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