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March 2015 - Sahar Hashemi

04

Mar

How to be your Own Customer

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I was brought up with the advert featuring Victor Kiam, head of Remington Products, in which he said, “I loved the shavers so much I bought the company.” Some things haven’t changed since the 80s. A decade or two later, Will King created King of Shaves because he was allergic to foam shaving products. The moral of the story: many entrepreneurs start companies out of the frustration of not finding what they want for themselves and create products they love or need as customers. Approaching a business this way, customer service becomes the essence of what you do rather than a nice extra. The customer is your core compass in making decisions.
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04

Mar

What’s Love Got to do with Leadership?

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When you love something, you notice the details. In a relationship, that might be a partner’s laugh or particular way of moving. For Howard Schultz, who grew Starbucks from a local Seattle coffee shop into a globe-spanning giant, love was in the details of the coffee-making process — the hiss of the machines and the smell of the beans.
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04

Mar

How to Press Delete on Our Fears

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I don’t consider myself someone held back by fear. As a former lawyer who threw it all in to start a coffee chain with my brother, I know my career path personifies life outside the comfort zone. My first book is titled Anyone Can Do It and is all about overcoming the fear of starting a business. My motto is “leap and the net will appear”.
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04

Mar

Act Like a Big Kid: The Importance of Being Clueless

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My brother and I started a business we were completely clueless about. It was a coffee business—the UK’s first coffee bar chain, an answer to Starbucks before it hit our shores. Our idea was good, but it wasn’t a market we really knew. I had been a lawyer all my working life and my brother a banker. We knew zero about coffee, about retail, about catering. It didn’t run in our family either. We were complete outsiders.
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04

Mar

Entrepreneurship: Can Anyone Do It?

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Writing a book about our journey of starting Coffee Republic taught me one thing: yes, anyone can be an entrepreneur. Really.
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04

Mar

Best Advice: The Only Question You Need to Ask Yourself Every Day

The best advice I was ever given wasn’t from any of the CEOs or successful entrepreneurs I’ve met. Nor was it from any business book. It was from my dad. I was doing my Law Society Finals, which is basically the final exam you have to take to qualify as a lawyer in the UK. It was a difficult year, lots of hard graft, and when all my friends had already started working, I had gone back to studying.
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01

Mar

Margaret Thatcher Taught me Self-Reliance

Often, we only realise the value of things when they’re gone, which is exactly what happened to me when I heard of Baroness Thatcher’s death.

The news made me suddenly aware of the huge impact she has had on my life and how, although I had never consciously acknowledged it before, I am one of Thatcher’s children and her values are deeply entrenched in my psyche.

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