Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Cindy Fisher, President of Smart Steps LLC, located in Overland Park, KS, US.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Smart Steps Mobile is a customizable decision-making app that supports high school and college students with autism and other disabilities. Customers are schools, colleges, social service agencies, and families.
Tell us about yourself
I was a special education teacher working with 18-21-year-olds in the community. My goal was for them to be independent and confident so that they could go to college or hold a job after high school. One day, a student lost his backpack and had to go home without it. This would be stressful for anyone, but it was especially hard on him because he did not have the mental bandwidth to problem-solve and handle his reaction. After consulting with an autism specialist, I tried making flow charts for him to use, but he could not (and should not need to) memorize them. I decided it would make a great app.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Having created this tool and making it freely available for practice is my biggest accomplishment. It required a lot of work, but I took it one step at a time, just like the app!
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
I find the most difficult part is knowing the next step to take. There are many different roles involved in running a business, and figuring out which thing is the priority is a challenge.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Network, network, network! By reaching out, it is amazing how a chance conversation can lead to a critical connection or piece of information.
- Bootstrapping might take longer to get the business going, but to me, it makes financial sense.
- If you do not have a business background, take a business class or series of workshops through your local small business development center. Learning how to write a business plan is important, but so is the interaction you have with others in the same boat. Practicing your pitch (as a set of slides and a verbal 30-second elevator pitch) is important so that you can effectively communicate. You need an audience for this.
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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