By Gregory Bresiger
The New York Post - May 10, 2014
Four of the 50 fastest-growing women-owned companies are in New York City, according to a new list issued by the nonprofit Women Presidents’ Organization and American Express Global Corporate Payments.
“One characteristic of these businesses would be that they were all above $10 million in revenue for 2014 and they all fell in the top 35 and have pretty well-established businesses,” a WPO spokeswoman said.
For all these successful business creators, it began with a vision of how a certain product or service might be offered in a better way.
It was a setback that led to her success, says Leslie Firtell.
A lawyer, Firtell was fired from her job, which she believes turned out to be a “blessing.”
Using her savings, she started Tower Legal Solutions in New York City.
“Don’t be afraid to take a risk,” she says. Firtell adds that delegating is one of her keys to success.
“Also, don’t be afraid to hire people who are smarter than you,” Firtell added. Tower Legal Solutions specializes in legal staffing, managed review and consulting.
Tower’s idea is to provide the best help “so that a company will prefer it to a full-time employee.” That strategy has been working well: Her company’s gross revenue grew from $56 million to $59 million and she added 30 employees in the past two years.
More important, she was able to survive the crash when several clients went bankrupt. She found new ones and persuaded clients to pay sooner, a critical cash-flow improvement.
Rebecca Cenni of Atrium Staffing says know your customer. Her New York City business offers temporary, temporary-to-hire and direct-hire placements in numerous sectors.
Cenni says you should know a client so well that he or she will not only call for temporary staffing but ask for help with other kinds of work.
“Project or freelance work is one of the fastest-growing parts of the economy,” she says. She expanded the company’s revenue from $96 million to $185 million and added 330 positions over the past two years.
“Our success has come from sticking to our core principles, but also understanding how the market is changing,” Cenni says.
The ability to respond to change is one of the ways that Elizabeth Elting of TransPerfect was able to establish her language services and technology solutions company.
The turning point for her firm came when she found translators to help one of her clients pay the government a large fine. She provided translation and document-review services.
“We hired almost a hundred Japanese linguists and brought them here to New York to work on-site at the firm. The project lasted for about two years, and was the main source of business responsible for increasing our yearly revenues from $1 million to $6 million,” Elting says.
That, she added, provided a foundation for her business, providing it “with a momentum that has never been lost.”
Her company’s revenue grew from $341 million to $471 million over the last two years, and it added 1,378 employees.
Moira Moser of M Moser Associates in New York City specializes in creating workplace environments, corporate base buildings and campuses. Moser’s gross revenue has grown from $10.8 million to $19.1 million since 2013.
Jacqueline Wilson, founder of American Fashion Network — is the fifth New Yorker from upstate Manlius — wanted to design and manufacture private-label clothing her own way.
“It’s very important to have a vision of where you want to take the company,” Wilson says. Wilson has taken the company’s gross revenue from $16 million to $28 million in the past two years. She has added 10 hires as well.
Any successful owner, she adds, must use others’ talents. An owner, she notes, “can’t let ego get in the way.”
Know the client so well that he or she will expand the quantity and quality of work sent to you.
What tips do these women have for others who want to follow their path?
Take chances. Don’t be afraid to try new things.
Use failure to find new success.
Be demanding of yourself and others.
Appreciate the talents of people around you and delegate.