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In the series “My Worst Crisis”, entrepreneurs from all over the world tell us about their biggest test on their entrepreneurial journey and what they have learned from it.
On this anniversary of the day that changed the course of American history, I have to think about how that September 11, 2001 It changed me both as a person and as an entrepreneur.
Nineteen years ago I ran my first business AbraCadabra digital printing on the 18th floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. Business was booming. With 30 employees and five locations in New York and New Jersey, we generate around 4 million US dollars annually.
I was finishing up a meeting with my manager when the first plane crashed into the north tower at 8:46 a.m. Seventeen minutes later we were on the streets of New York when the second plane crashed into the building we were in.
After the events of September 11th, my once thriving business suffered like so many others at the time. My sales dropped to $ 600,000 in 2003. In 2004, I finally sold the business for $ 325,000.
It was a huge setback for me both professionally and personally to see so many lives destroyed and lose my business. Ultimately, I learned a series of lasting lessons about perseverance, rebuilding from the ashes, and the importance of continually investing in myself. . While it is difficult for anyone who was absent to relate to the extreme tragedy of September 11th, the lessons I have learned can be applied to reversing any difficult business, and for any entrepreneur involved in one want to start a new company.
Know when it’s time to let go and start over
The New York business was dead after September 11th. Our most profitable office had been destroyed and the business suffered badly. I had a family to look after, and I had to lay off the employees I have worked with for years. When my business income dropped to just 30 percent from a few years ago, I knew it was time to leave this company.
Both business owners and business people often make the mistake of sticking to what they know when letting go could be your best chance for future success. As a business owner, when you find your business is failing and you know the chances of it getting better in the foreseeable future, it is imperative that you accept that it is time to move on.
This means reinventing yourself and reinventing your business without giving up entrepreneurship forever. Stay in the same line of business if you get excited about it, but find that new sweet spot with a better, clearer future that fuels the new energy and rekindles the excitement behind the business.
When I decided to sell AbraCadabra Digital Printing and join Cartridge Word, I was breaking new ground. I knew very little about franchises, advertising for such products, key competitors in the industry, etc., but I made the brave decision to purchase the franchise rights to Cartridge World when there were no locations in the US. Now there are 287, 70 of which are mine. Sometimes neglecting smaller businesses can lead to greener pastures.
Reinvest in yourself
As an entrepreneur, you are your greatest asset. You are the driving force behind the business; Therefore, whenever you need to make important decisions, you should always try to learn as much as you can about your company and your industry.
Make time for additional courses throughout the year to learn and grow. Whether it is a business course on the latest techniques or technologies, or a marketing and advertising course that covers modern trends and creativity, you are always working to reinvent yourself and expand your knowledge base. I usually allow five to ten days a year to attend classes so that I can continue to grow and expand my skills.
You can also get advice from a mentor during your business trip. If your interests or your line of business change, look for new mentors to accompany you on this journey.
In my experience, those who have succeeded, so to speak, often help others achieve their dreams. Do your best to return the favor. Meet with other entrepreneurs, learn their stories, and share yours. Networking is critical to growing your business.
Take responsibility for your company
Regardless of whether times are good or bad, you need to realize that the state of your business is a reflection of how you and only you run the business. When times are bad but you insist on running your business like you have for the last 10 years, you can’t expect things to change. When a disaster like 9/11 strikes you must be ready to make major changes and adapt, even if it means leaving one company and starting a new one.
To run a successful business, you need the energy, goals, and dedication for self-improvement to keep it going and thriving. All businesses can be stale, but it’s up to you as the backbone of the business to make changes and keep the energy high.
When I decided to move one of my Cartridge World locations back to the new World Trade Center, I was the only commercial tenant prior to 9/11 to return after the attacks. I knew it was a brave move, but one that ignited my mind and, with it, my business.