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.
Andrew Yang, chief executive of business school test prep company , Manhattan GMAT , answer our questions:
What are you doing to stand out from the crowd?
The teacher is the single biggest determinant of the student experience, and we’re willing to invest to make sure we deliver the best experience. As a result, we pay $100 per hour plus bonuses, well above the industry standard.
What’s the best part about running your own business?
The ability to make decisions based on what we think is best for Manhattan GMAT in the long run. We often incur short-term costs to improve our offerings or help our instructors continue to hone their skills. We’re willing to absorb such expenses up front if it benefits the long-term health of the business. That’s a tough thing to do if you’re a manager or working for a firm that’s focused only on quarterly goals.
What’s the biggest challenge of running your own business?
Maintaining a steady outlook, whether things are going great or not-so-great.
Name: Andrew Yang
Business: Manhattan GMAT, a test prep company that helps students and professionals prepare for the GMAT, a standardized test required for MBA applicants.
Industry: Test Preparation
Location: New York
Year founded: 2000
Number of employees: 20
Web address: www.manhattangmat.com
What’s the biggest hurdle you’ve overcome?
Our clients include companies like Goldman Sachs, Google, McKinsey and JP Morgan, but that sort of trust didn’t occur overnight. It took us several years to establish credibility in the marketplace. The test prep industry is essentially a free-for-all. Anyone can put up a shingle and say anything they want about themselves.
What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made?
We’ve made some hiring mistakes, and put some people in the wrong positions. For example, we gave a lot of responsibility to one person who was very effective early on at helping us get off the ground. Over time, however, we realized he didn’t really take well to his expanded role and we had to make a change.
What’s the best business advice you can offer?
Make every decision as if it were going to be replayed publicly in front of your staff, your friends and your family. That way, you’ll have no regrets.
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