Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Tara Stand, owner of Fail To Fab, located in New York City, NY, USA.

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

I'm the owner of Fail to Fab, a business that teaches business owners how to scale with joy without selling their souls or each waking hour to the business gods.

Tell us about yourself

I'm an industrial engineer (an engineer that designs systems that optimize money, time, or safety) who loves solving business problems. When I was young, my papa was a truck driver. He'd come home and talk about what he saw at the manufacturing plants he delivered to. Often, those stories would go something like this, "I was at this plant today, and they just installed two new machines, now the guy that runs them has to run back and forth between the two. If they had just asked him how he does his job, they could have installed them facing each other and saved everyone a lot of time and energy." I always thought it was crazy that someone wouldn't think to ask the person who does a job, how to make it better. It leads me into industrial engineering where a common phrase is, "a good person can not beat a bad system."

But the BIG DRIVER for my business is to help women step away from the "have to's" in their lives and into the "get to's." We have to stay in our job because we don't have enough money. We have to work 12 hours a day because we don't have enough clients. We have too many, and we don't know how to serve them efficiently. We can't leave a partner because, because, because. But what if we all got to live in "get to"? I get to take my family on a month's vacation. I get to send my kids to any school they want. I get to hang with my clients at a resort for a week." How beautiful would that be?

So many people work so hard to get nowhere. They can't spend time with their kids, they aren't getting the return on investment they were looking for, they can't take a break, and their customers are unhappy on top of all that. Building better systems mean that everyone wins. Customers win because they have a great experience. Owners win because they don't have to work their buts off just to worry all the time. Employees win because they have a clear purpose and are doing meaningful work for meaningful pay. Families win because there's more time to spend with each other. Society wins because there's less stress and more joy in the world. That's what drives me.

What sets me apart is that I work with the whole person or whole team and their goals to develop holistic systems that are built around the needs of the business instead of having one solution that is force-fit into place because it "worked for someone else." Those systems never work long-term, and they often don't feel good to implement. Basically, I connect the heart and brains of entrepreneurs to their businesses, so everything runs smoothly.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I've spoken on stages all over the U.S. teaching lean thinking, innovation, and strategy and have won awards for the mentorship that I do for Greentech accelerators, but my biggest accomplishment is that sigh of relief I hear from a business owner when they realize they don't have to fight their business anymore to be successful. That's the most beautiful sound in the world.

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

Knowing when to let go. Letting go of processes or ideas that don't serve my clients or me anymore, letting go of clients that aren't a good fit, letting go of all the things that look amazing on paper but aren't in alignment with my vision.

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

  1. Figure out your ONES.
    - The ONE thing you do that your customer is paying you for. Starbucks sells that moment of calm in the middle of a busy day. They don't sell coffee.
    - The ONE thing that your customers need to see/feel/hear/do/be a part of before they'll buy from you so you can focus on that one action a day.
    - The ONE thing you do for your business that no one else can do. What's your special sauce?
  2. Your business isn't about you. Your customer pays the bills. Make decisions based on the customer's perspective and what they're buying.
  3. You're making it too hard. Focus on your customer. Focus on serving them, and everything else is easy. No one cares about your brand colors or your logo or if you're perfect or not. Wake up every day and think about what serves your customer, and do that. If you don't make offers, customers can't get their problems solved. You don't have offers that solve their problems. They don't get their problems solved. You haven't reached out to a paying customer in 10 days because you didn't get on that work fast enough, and your customer isn't getting their problems solved.

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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