By Team Subkit
Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Daniel Neidorf, Founder and President of Daniel James Consulting, located in Westchester County, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My name is Daniel Neidorf, and I am the Founder and President of Daniel James Consulting. We are a full-service Business Consulting and Marketing Firm, and our office is based in New York. Our services include a suite of Consulting services, including strategic planning, marketing and competitor research & analysis, PR, and ADA & WCAG Compliancy Best Practice. When it comes to digital marketing, we develop Marketing Plans, manage print and digital media campaigns, PPC and Paid Search, Web Development, Reputation Management, and more. Many of our clients are start-ups or SMBs and are based in North America, yet we have also had the pleasure of working with clients with an international footprint located in areas such as Uruguay, London, Dubai, and The Philippines.
Tell us about yourself
Before starting my company, I had been previously employed by a hospital in an administrative role, followed by the New York State Department of Education. I found myself in both roles as a bit of an intermediary, working with doctors and patients and later educators and students. For me, these dual-focus roles were challenging and captivating. I thoroughly enjoyed working with a broad range of people and backgrounds daily. During this time, there was a bit of overlap working with some Realtors from a college summer job in a more of a marketing role. I assisted them with the digital marketing aspects that they were not used to at that time (this was during the introduction and boom of Zillow and other online real estate platforms). Coupling these different jobs with my educational background transformed my vision into where we are today, bringing a wide range of expertise and technical knowledge to provide our clients with a single point of entry for many of their projects. Our service offerings provide a decrease in required onboarding times and project development deliverables and nearly eradicate communication errors between roles and responsibilities.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
The COVID-19 pandemic has been an especially difficult time for almost everyone all over the world. At the onset of the pandemic, one of our concerns was the immediate effect on the restaurant and hospitality sector, as this made up about 30% of our client base. We quickly started deploying "on-location" solutions for them from online ordering and pickup, catering, and "at-home" events and continued to tailor growth options based on the current regulations. We also ensured there were zero pricing increases from the start of COIVD-19 and offered a variety of payment options to provide our clients with the services they need while scaling payments based on current projections and revenues. In 2021 and 2022, we were featured in a few publications and won multiple awards, such as MarketWatch, DigitalJournal, and CBS, regarding our continued support and development of Main Street USA during the COVID-19 pandemic.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Learning to say no was especially difficult. Personally, I think this comes from two channels. First, in my personal life, I receive a lot of joy from helping those around me. I never missed a soup kitchen service in Boy Scouts, and now, even simple things, like fixing a family member's jewelry, taking the nieces and nephews shopping, or landing a hand to a neighbor, I seem to always say yes. That's true if it is at the expense of my own time to wind down, refocus and relax. Second, from a business perspective, you never want to say no to a client or a prospective engagement. But, this is an incredibly important skill. First, you can't give away your services, so if saying no is coming from a budgeting place, you must make sure you can "keep the lights on ."
It is also important to tailor abilities and time to client needs but to not create an environment where every time they ask for something at the drop of a hat, you say yes and deliver. Your time is equally valuable as theirs, and it's great to have the bandwidth to do a favor until the favors become their new expectation, which brings me to the final point. Any time you have to say no, it's important to turn this into an educational experience. Don't say no, and be cold about it. Instead, try to explain it. Why can't something happen, why is a budget too low, and why does something take the time it does to complete? Take the extra few minutes to explain this and convey the expectation vs. reality. Doing so leads to an increase in communication, transparency, and education. The benefits of this with your clients will last a literal lifetime and decreases stressors all around.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Research, Redefine and be Resilient. This is something I have devised for our clients, and I drill down on this as much as possible with our Startup clients.
Research: Start by searching your local, regional, or national markets for your business. How saturated is the market? What is unique to your concept that will attract, convert, and retain? I heard somewhere if you aren't introducing something cheaper, brand new, or completely innovative, then what are you bringing to the market? So, with that being said, how are you making your business unique and necessary? From there, before evening forming your business, learn what works best for your model (LLC, LP, Corp, Etc.). Building a company is like a house, and first things first, you select your plot and then pour that foundation. If the land is made of mud and the foundation has more cracks than a dropped smartphone, how are you going to build a sustainable home with the expectation of longevity and growth?
Redefine: BE FLEXIBLE. This doesn't mean that if you have a clothing business but sales are down because of a pandemic, you rebrand as a grocery store. What this means is, based on the market and necessities around you, you should tailor your offerings to current demand. Sell bathing suits in the summer, sweatshirts in the fall, and snowsuits in the winter. At the start of COVID, using us as an example, we started pushing clients that were previously against takeout, deliveries, DIYs, etc., to start offering these new channels to prop up their revenue streams. We started developing more digital tools and tech stacks to ensure their continued existence during lockdowns. Redesigning menus, 3D modeling of proposed redevelopments, and expensive multi-channel video development projects were halted and unnecessary. We need to focus on reducing the expenses outbound and creating stability. Every market is constantly changing and evolving. Don't lose yourself or your core values, but be flexible in offerings, trends, deliverables, or whatever else is necessary to retain your business' market share.
Resilience: Simple. Don't give up. Keep pushing, keep trying. When trends change, customers' age, and environmental factors shift, learn how to shift with them. But don't forget, this only works within reason. Don't try to sell hats to parrots for 20 years if we haven't had a sale in 17. We have been fortunate enough to be a part of some absolutely inspiring success stories over the past few years with companies, including my own, focusing on resiliency. We see towns lose their major manufacturing plant and bounce back with a reimagined downtown area. We saw restaurants expand their footprint and private member clubs open their doors worldwide.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Don't ever stop asking questions. Don't ever stop learning. And don't ever lose that awe you have at the world around you. Take a moment to watch the leaves blow around in the wind and refocus. I know at this point it sounds cliché, but we're all in this together. Don't forget about yourself and your health. You can't help the world around you if you can't help yourself. Take a break. Get your annual physical, go to a dentist, and talk to someone. You matter.
Where can people find you and your business?
Website: https://www.danieljamesconsulting.com/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/danieljamesconsulting Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/danieljamesny/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/danieljamesny LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/danieljamesconsulting/