Zack Zelner is a serial entrepreneur and successful business owner. In his relatively short career, he has developed brands such as ZBaked, a cookie company, DocMJ, a platform facilitating patient prescriptions for medical marijuana in Florida, and Thread Studio, an on-demand printing manufacturer that works with industry giants such as Disney, Zazzle and more. Today he joins ASBN’s Lee Heisman, a x9 entrepreneur and renowned speaker, on The Roadmap to give his insights into business scaling and forming an exit strategy.
When to plan an exit?
Zelner notes that few entrepreneurs should create a business with an exit strategy in mind. This is because it can lure them into a sense of complacency over their business’s longevity. Companies need to have a solid foundation before they can attract buyers. Investors will only show interest if the business’s revenue is secured, its operations are reliable and its team is equipped to handle the ups and downs of the market. If an owner is focused on their own plans without showing concern for the business, not only do they risk their own source of revenue, they also risk alienating potential buyers when the time comes. Optimally, owners wait until their company can thrive, not just survive, on its own before considering an exit strategy.
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How to keep customers?
Zelner recommends that first time entrepreneurs consider their product from the perspective of the consumer. “How well you know a customer, and your ability to speak to them,” dictate the success of your brand’s growth strategy, explains Zelner. New owners should practice putting themselves in the shoes of their buyers whenever they introduce a change to their business’s products or structure, to make sure they retain and grow their following’s loyalty.
How hard is it to run a business?
Many entrepreneurs are caught off guard by the challenges their business presents. Zelner is no strange to encountering cataclysmic issues when scaling a business. “This journey is not going to be easy, and the longer you believe that it’s just going to be a cruise, the more disappointed you’re going to be,” he notes. There is also no shame in abandoning a business plan, if one is simply not prepared for the stresses it could bring. However, for those hoping to grow their companies and lead them to success, their ability to cope with the stress dictates their ability achieve their goals. Simply put, growing a business is a challenge that should not be undertaken lightly.
Zelner’s wisdom comes from his personal experiences in entrepreneurship. The stories he has to share demonstrate the number of problems that can arise in different industries. While many can learn from his expertise in navigating the business world, it is also important to be aware of the mistakes and challenges others have experienced which allowed them to grow as people. Starting a company can be a messy endeavor, but it can help to know that others have experienced the same challenges and survived.
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