Suham Alexander | Flexibility for unbounded success
Suham Alexander is the founder & principal consultant of Dream Business Consulting Group. She works closely with people to give them practical tools and solutions that breakthrough limitations and push them to achieve their goals. This is accomplished by performing a needs assessment and analysis of the business to identify pain points.
1. What are the key factors that got you to where you are today?
My professional experience has been varied having studied microbiology in university, practising dentistry for 20 years while returning to university, simultaneously, to earn a business degree and growing a thriving business. It has been through a strong drive to succeed, sheer hard work and determination as well as an extremely supportive husband and family that I am where I am today. Another key factor which has been important is the ability to “turn on a dime” and be flexible. At times life throws you curves and you just have to re-adjust and move on. I couldn’t have predicted 10 years ago that I would be making a shift to a new industry today.
2. Name 3 business principles that are of core value to you?
Honesty, integrity and keeping the client’s best interest at heart are the most important principles for me. As I uphold these values, I know everything will work out well for the client and therefore, my business.
3. What has been the hardest part of being an entrepreneur?
Being an entrepreneur is a 24-hour, 365-day of the year “job”. There is always room for improvement when you are looking at your own business and trying to grow and provide better services for your clients to meet their changing needs. Starting, owning and growing a business can also be lonely, as you become focused on making it a success.
4. What 3 core advice principles will you give women that are wanting to start their own business?
Stay true to yourself - follow your heart and gut! You know what will make you happy and don’t let anyone dissuade you from pursuing your dreams.
Find a supportive group of like-minded men and women that will understand your drive and desire. Starting a business is not for the faint at heart; it has many ups and downs. Surround yourself with those who will encourage and uplift you.
Hire a business coach to help you remain accountable to your OWN dreams and goals. It is fairly straight forward to outline goals and timelines, but to implement strategy and execute on tactics to achieve them is much more taxing. When you are an entrepreneur you usually have a small team and the daily rigours of running and growing the business detract you from the focus required to achieve the goals that will really help you. Your coach will help you reset yourself, reenergize you and reach those lofty aspirations! The return-on-investment is immeasurable.
5. How do you overcome rejection?
Overcoming rejection is difficult at the best of times. I believe that rejection is difficult to deal with given our primary motivation is usually to do our best for our clients and ourselves. My strategy is to reflect and try to understand the mindset of the individual or situation that has caused this feeling. Sometimes, it is simply not the right time for them to connect with me on a personal or professional level. It’s difficult at times, but I have to stay positive and not take it personally.
Many years ago, a good friend explained rejection in relation to dating like this to me: “You have to be rejected by some people, otherwise you’ll never find the right person. It’s like going through some sort of a ritual.” I realize it’s not quite the same, but in some ways, it does hold true in other aspects of our life too. We have to keep moving forward and keep trying because every “no” is one step closer to a “yes”!
6. How do you juggle motherhood with your busy schedule?
That is the absolute ideal word – juggle. It is always a juggle. Women often search for a work-life balance and even with the most supportive and capable partner, this often seems unattainable. I’ve come to realize that, at different times, certain elements in one’s life shift in terms of priority. One day, my daughter’s project may be more important than something else and vice versa. Another day work is number one on my list.
Again, it’s about remaining flexible. You will often see me at one of my children’s activities with my computer open, speaking on the phone or up late at night or very early in the morning. When something is important and a priority for you, you will make time for it. Motherhood, being present and able to support my children are absolutely central to my life, so everything fits around and within it.
7. What are the three top business books you have read?
Good to Great and Great by Choice (Jim Collins)
The Starbucks Experience (Joseph A. Michelli)
Questions of Character (Joseph L. Badaracco)
8. What does success mean to you?
Success looks different and feels different for each individual. I define success as waking up every morning feeling happy, healthy and excited to begin my day with my family. Success is also having the freedom and ability to work as much and for as long as I want to and being able to take time for my family or myself when I need it.