Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Mike Flanagan, Founder of ETW Digital, located in Randolph, NJ, USA.

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

We are a consulting and fractional executive firm that provides senior-level McKinsey-caliber results at an affordable price. Our typical customer is an SMB that either cannot afford to high a full-time C-Suite executive but requires that expertise or has a specific problem that hinders the operational efficiency of their business.

Tell us about yourself

I was doing a 2.5-hour commute each way into New York for 15 years. After my last position in the city, I decided to give it a year to see if I could build something independently. Nine years later, I'm still here. My family is what motivates me to do what I do. My kids are early in their professional careers, and remaining a positive influence and role model to them is very important to me.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

A Board Member of a public company asked me to meet with the CEO to see if there was anything I could do to help. I had zero industry experience. The meeting was in Kansas City with their entire executive team. I knew if I went in alone, I had zero shot of winning any business. I convinced my former boss to come with me and take notes and jump into the conversation as often as he felt comfortable. We were given a 30-day assignment and stuck around for three years.

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

Generating new business by far. As a small business, we need to balance how much new business we can absorb at any one time while always keeping the funnel active as engagements sunset.

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

  1. Identify a need in the market: Before starting any business, it's essential to identify a gap in the market that you can fill with your product or service. This will help you to create a unique offering that will be in demand and set you apart from your competition.
  2. Build a solid business plan: A well-structured business plan will help you outline your goals, strategies, and tactics for achieving success. It will also serve as a roadmap for your business and help you stay focused and on track.
  3. Focus on your customers: Your customers are the lifeblood of your business, so it's essential to put their needs and wants at the forefront of everything you do. Listen to their feedback, understand their pain points, and work to improve their experience continuously. This will help you build a loyal customer base that will support your business long-term.

Where can people find you and your business?


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.

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