Small-business owners, what are you doing to stand out from the crowd? Each week, we focus on an entrepreneur who has lessons to share that we think will resonate with other small-business owners.
Mina Fies, co-founder of residential remodeling design and construction firm, Synergy D&C, answers our questions:
What are you doing to stand out from the crowd?
Typically, when people remodel their homes they call in several contractors who provide prices based on their idea of what needs to be done in the home, including everything from lighting and plumbing fixtures to carpet and tile. Rather than let contractors make the design decisions, we pick out every fixture, tile and carpet swatch ahead of time. And then we send out the entire project to contractors for pricing so they are all bidding on the same plan.
What’s the best part about owning your own business?
While owning our own business is still extremely demanding, it provides us the freedom to organize our schedules around what works best for us.
What’s the biggest challenge of owning your own business?
As rigid as we found corporate life to be, at least we could still count on taking a vacation. Now that we’re on our own clock, making sure we take the time off to do things we enjoy has been one of our biggest challenges.
Name: Mina Fies
Business: Synergy D&C, a residential remodeling design and construction firm.
Industry: Design Construction
Location: Reston, Va.
Year founded: 2008
Number of employees: 3
Web address: www.synergydandc.com
What’s the biggest hurdle you’ve overcome?
It was convincing people to take our business seriously. It sounds strange enough that anyone would start a business in this economy. But we started one that’s related to the housing market, causing some people to question our sanity. But after explaining our story, our vision, our background and our business plan, we’ve won over some of the biggest skeptics.
What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made?
We waited until our design team had finished our web site before taking the time to develop the copy that would fill those pages. In hindsight, we would have created that material well in advance and shaved weeks off of the process.
What’s the best business advice you can offer?
Write a complete business plan. Take into consideration every aspect of the business: competition, marketing plan, budgeting and exit strategies. While you will never be able to anticipate every curveball that may come your way, you can avoid a good deal of headaches.
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