Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Fahd Alhattab, Founder of Unicorn Labs, located in Ottawa, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Unicorn Labs is a Canadian leadership development and corporate team retreat company. Our customers are teams and companies looking to improve their leadership and management capabilities. We offer coaching, corporate retreats, leadership programs, keynote speaking, and free resources such as our podcast and blog.
Tell us about yourself
I genuinely believe that the way we organize businesses, organizations and charities has so much direct impact on human life and the way we live that I think by placing myself in a position where I can improve how teams work together, I can genuinely impact and change the world. My superpower is helping people and teams unlock their superpowers, find synergy and help leaders solve their biggest problems. These small organizations impact everyday life more than the government and politics do. The companies, people, and problems we work with motivate me, as does trying to make the world a better place.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
We've worked with, spoken to, and trained over 100 000 people, and that's the impact we're most proud of.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Creating the necessary clarity and road map for your business's growth and having the discipline/focus to stick to that road map while continuously experimenting. Too many fall into the trap of too much or not enough experimentation. Some try to do too much at once and forget about how a company has different needs at the different stages the business reaches. Also, as a business owner, you have to be versatile: you need to understand every part of the business from marketing, sales, your team, finance, etc. There's no role in the business you can't somewhat understand.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
To start a business, the number one tip is to find something you really enjoy and are really good at and go get some customers. Get your customers before even thinking about a logo or website. Build your reputation. Make the customers you find extremely happy with the work you've done. Everyone worries about scaling and ensuring their business can scale, but it's a secondary issue. The customers should be given remarkable service - so good people are talking about and sharing your work.
If you enjoy too many things to pick, choose a challenge (climate change, homelessness, education, poverty, etc.). If you find a challenge or problem you enjoy solving, take the time and space to learn about it and turn it into a business. You have to ask yourself if you want a business to make money on the side or to work at it full time. If your goal is simply to make money on the side fast, find the most expensive thing you can sell and find as many people as you can to buy it.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I think starting a business is over-glorified - most people need to recognize that if they create a business, they'll constantly be building and creating new products and opportunities. The hate around 9-5s is misplaced because 9-5s have bad marketing. People blame the 9-5. Entrepreneurs joke about quitting the 9-5 to do the 9-9. The most common problems with 9-5s are that you're not personally connected to the issues being solved by your work, you don't see how you're changing the world, and you don't like your team. Instead of starting a business, you can always put more effort into researching and finding a company you resonate with and would be excited to work with.
Starting your own business can make you more money in the long run. The key is understanding the hard you choose and the hard you're looking for. Creating a business is hard, finding a meaningful job is hard, and being unemployed is hard. All options aren't easy. It's about the sacrifice you decide to make. With businesses, there are 2 facts to keep in mind. In 76% of poker rounds, professional poker players will fold. 76% of opportunities aren't taken. That's because the pro players analyze the odds, and if there's not a good enough chance or opportunity, they don't risk it.
When starting a business, look at the long term. Think about good business opportunities in 5 years. Not immediate results. It takes 4 years to get a degree, so why would we think starting a brand new and successful business would take any less time. 5 years is the minimum to build a business that gets great results.
Where can people find you and your business?