Starting a business is a big achievement for many entrepreneurs, but maintaining one is the larger challenge. There are many standard challenges that face every business whether they are large or small. It is not easy running a company, especially in a fast-paced, ever-changing business world. Technology advances, new hiring strategies, and now, political changes coming with the new administration, all add to the existing business challenges that entrepreneurs, business owners, and executives have to deal with.
Maximizing profits, minimizing expenses and finding talented staff to keep things moving seem to be top challenges for both SMBs and large corporations. We have been interviewing companies from around the world to discover what challenges they are facing in their businesses. We also asked each company to share business advice they would give to a younger version of themselves.
Below is our interview with Susan Harrow, CEO at Harrow Communications, Inc.:
What does your company do?
Our company keeps girls safe through verbal self-defense by preventing a physical attack, sexual harassment, abuse, or any unwanted contact. True Shield: Verbal Self-Defense For Girls is a 100% digital course that teaches young women 12-24 how to protect themselves in 10 of life’s most difficult and dangerous situations that they’ll likely encounter – and stay safe.
The program, which is a complete online downloadable training kit that can be taught by any teacher/teen/leader, shows young women both the verbal and physical ways to handle these challenging situations.
We’ve licensed the course internationally to schools, organizations, shelters, self-defense dojos, and the YWCA, Girl Scouts, Girls Inc. Boys & Girls Clubs.
What is your role? What do you enjoy most about your role?
My role is CEO of Harrow Communications, Inc. Also: Creator. Sales person. Ambassador. What I enjoy/love is how fast girls learn that they have the right to say “no.” I also enjoy how they can so quickly modify their verbal, facial and body language on the spot and implement what they’ve learned in just a few hours. Then apply it to real-life right away.
This 6-hour program, which is based in neuroscience, evidence based proven practices and the principals of Aikido (Japanese martial arts) shows them how to assess their options under stress and take instant action on the spot – which they do with grace and humor. I love the saying, “The future is female.” These girls are proof of that.
What are the biggest challenges in your business right now?
Our biggest challenges are scaling and funding. We have a waiting list of over 50 organizations that want the course – but don’t have the budget or funding. We are for-profit with a non-profit arm (fiscal sponsorship) so corporations and individuals can donate to support the cause.
We would like to be able to distribute the course to every school, college/university and girl’s empowerment organization so girls can get the tools they need to speak and stand up for themselves and others. If we could make this course available now to all those who needed it we could keep future generations of girls from becoming victims of bullying, and emotional, physical, sexual abuse while giving them the know-how to navigate the challenges of relationships and their educational, social and workplace settings.
If you could go back in time, what business advice would you give to a younger version of yourself?
Focus on the “Who” not the “How.” I believe in connecting “warm hand to warm hand,” to connect to those people with the means to bring this to a global audience. Yet I sometimes get mired in the nitty gritty daily tasks instead of focusing on the strategy that could skyrocket this venture. I would also focus on finding ambassadors to spread the word so it could go viral organically. Everyone I talk to says either “I wish I had this course when I was growing up.” Or, “This is so needed now.” Or, “I want my daughter to take this course ASAP,” then launch into a story of a time when their daughter was confronted with a difficult or dangerous situation – which she either navigated successfully or had disastrous results. I would like every girl to be able to Stand her ground. Speak her mind. Sing her song™.