Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Ariana Rodriguez, Founder of AR & Company, located in Saddle Brook, NJ, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Our business, AR & Company, offers business development services tailored to tech startups and recently funded companies seeking strategic growth. We specialize in crafting personalized pitches and RFPs with a strong emphasis on a human-first, process-second approach. Our primary customers are startups and companies in the tech sector, especially those led by women and individuals from marginalized communities, who are often underrepresented in venture capital funding. Our services are designed to support these businesses in scaling operations responsibly and efficiently post-funding.

No photo description available.
Images From:

Tell us about yourself

I'm Ariana Rodriguez, the driving force behind AR & Company. My journey into this business was fueled by a passion for leveling the playing field in the tech industry, particularly for startups led by women and individuals from marginalized communities. Witnessing the systemic barriers and lack of resources available to these groups sparked my determination to create a platform that not only addresses these issues but also champions diversity and inclusivity in business development.

What motivates me daily is the impact our work has on our client's success and growth. Seeing the tangible results of our collaboration, from streamlined operations to successful funding rounds, reaffirms the importance of our mission. The opportunity to bring about meaningful change, empower underrepresented entrepreneurs, and contribute to creating a more equitable business landscape is what drives me and the entire team at AR & Company every day.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment as a business owner has been the courage to step away from the security of a conventional job and venture into the unknown by starting AR & Company. This leap was not just about taking a risk. It was about challenging the status quo and committing to a vision that many might have deemed too ambitious or unconventional. It was about having the conviction to pursue what I believed in, even when the path was fraught with uncertainty.

This bold move laid the foundation for a business that not only reflects my values but also serves a greater purpose: empowering tech startups led by women and individuals from marginalized communities. The success of AR & Company is a testament to the power of taking calculated risks and staying true to one's vision, even when it means stepping out of one's comfort zone. This journey has been about more than just business growth; it's been a transformative personal and professional journey that continues to inspire me and my team every day.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

One of the hardest aspects of being a business owner is the weight of responsibility that rests solely on your shoulders. Every aspect of the business, from sales performance to team morale and client satisfaction, is a direct reflection of your leadership and decision-making. When sales dip, it's up to you to analyze why and strategize a recovery plan. If the team is discontent, it falls on you to identify the issues and foster a more positive work environment. Similarly, client dissatisfaction demands immediate attention to not only resolve the current problem but also to implement measures that prevent recurrence. This constant accountability can be daunting, as the success and sustainability of the business hinge on your ability to navigate these challenges effectively and make decisions that align with the company's vision and values.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

Starting, running, and growing a business in today's dynamic environment can be challenging, but here are three essential tips for aspiring entrepreneurs:

  1. Embrace Resilience and Adaptability: The entrepreneurial journey is fraught with ups and downs. It's crucial to remain resilient in the face of setbacks and adaptable to changing market conditions. This means being open to pivoting your business model, exploring new markets, or adjusting your product or service offerings in response to feedback and trends.
  2. Focus on Building Relationships: Strong relationships are the backbone of any successful business. This includes not only nurturing connections with your customers by understanding and meeting their needs but also developing solid partnerships and networks within your industry. Additionally, investing in your team, fostering a positive company culture, and ensuring your employees feel valued and motivated are essential for long-term success.
  3. Prioritize Strategic Planning and Execution: While passion and vision are important, they need to be complemented with meticulous strategic planning and execution. Set clear, measurable goals and develop a roadmap to achieve them. This involves not just financial planning but also understanding your competition, defining your unique value proposition, and continuously analyzing your business performance to make informed decisions.

Starting and growing a business demands a combination of passion, perseverance, and practical strategy. By staying resilient, building strong relationships, and focusing on strategic planning, you can navigate the complexities of entrepreneurship and steer your business toward sustained growth.

You can connect with Ariana Rodriguez:


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.