Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Dr. Sandi Webster, Founder and CEO of Sandi Webster LLC., located in Brooklyn, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Do you know business owners or corporate executives who don't have anyone to speak to or float an idea to? My company, Sandi Webster LLC, and my brand, Sandi Webster Coachsulting, help lonely-at-the-top female business owners utilize an advisory board to scale towards exiting their businesses. Additionally, I coach indecisive female corporate executives on furthering their careers by forming a personal advisory board. My online course, "How to Form an Advisory Board," is a do-it-yourself guide that takes them from identifying the right people to board management. I help them create, launch and manage their boards on a consulting basis if they are pressed for time.
Tell us about yourself
9/11 impacted the NY building in the financial center where I worked. As a result, I was laid off from my high-paying corporate position. Earlier in the company, my vice president and I realized that women left the corporate environment when they had their second child. Flexible work arrangements were not yet accepted. We founded our marketing and analytics company to give those talented, highly educated women who left corporate the ability to choose how and when they wanted to work for market rates.
We formed an advisory board early in the process to grow that organization. That board was crucial to scaling and successfully selling our company to a private equity group. Yet, women are afraid to harness the power of groupthink in the form of either a paid or unpaid advisory board. I wake up every day eager to share the good news that boards are not just for men.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment was building, scaling, and exiting a successful business and starting a new one. I lived the entire lifecycle of a company. Through good and bad times, I've learned that it takes a lot of confidence and hard work to start a business when people are leaving the corporate world to become entrepreneurs. According to the Small Business Administration, small companies create 1.5 million jobs annually, accounting for 64 percent of new jobs in the US (Fundera, 2019). I'm proud to be a part of this country's economic system.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
The number of responsibilities that comes with a business is mind-boggling – no wonder they say it's lonely at the top. One must have a high-risk tolerance to own a business. Small companies are responsible for creating a large number of jobs. To me, that means I become accountable to and responsible for the welfare of the people who work with me to grow the company. They are making a big bet to work with a small company – that might mean a decrease in salary and stature. I try to reward them for investing in me with bonuses and small gifts to show my appreciation.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Use the knowledge of experts when you can by forming an advisory board.
- Install systems and technology that can help you work by yourself to depend less on workers.
- Be creative. Hire interns, use free social media for marketing, and have fun.
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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