From Government Employee To Software Company Founder

From government employee to software company founder Ahmad Ishaq is the founder and chief innovation officer of ByteCubed, an IT consulting firm in Arlington Virginia. In 2017, ByteCubed was ranked No 46 on the Inc magazine’s list of fastest growing companies. It was also voted one of the best places to work in DC by the Washington Post.

In this episode, Ahmad talked about how he built a successful company in the very competitive government contracting space, the challenges of managing hyper-growth and the importance of having a unique value proposition.


“You need to have clear, concise stories of who you are and what your unique value proposition is.”


-Ahmad Ishaq







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How to get and keep customers for service-based businesses

How to get and keep customers for service-based businesses Mina Fies is an award-winning designer, remodeler, and the founder and CEO of Synergy Design & Construction. She is also the author of the Renovation Roadmap system. In this episode, Mina told the story of how she started a business in an industry that she had little prior experience in, how she built a successful business by really focusing on the customers’ needs, and gave lots of tips on business development and networking.

“You can’t be in entrepreneurship for the money alone. You have to have the passion and see the vision ahead of you. That needs to be fuel for everything.”


– Mina Fies



Synergy Design & Construction
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Renovation Roadmap system
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BNI- Business Networking International

Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business

Rocket Fuel: The One Essential Combination That Will Get You More of What You Want from Your Business


How to Build, Launch, And Improve A Software Product

How to Build, Launch, And Improve A Software ProductPJ Taei is the founder of UScreen, a video platform that enables content creators launch their own video streaming service and build a profitable business selling their videos online.

In this episode, PJ talked about how he created UScreen from scratch, from building prototype and getting initial customers, to iterating on the product vision and launching marketing campaigns.

“Ultimately the best way to test your idea is to build something (quickly) and get it into customers’ hands.”


PJ Taei




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The Non-Linear Journey to Product-Market Fit

The Non-Linear Journey to Product-Market FitRyan Croft is the co-founder and COO of TransitScreen, a technology company in DC that helps millions of people save commute time by providing real time display of local transportation information at different locations.

In this episode, Ryan shared the story of how TransitScreen found its market sweet spot by continuously studying its customers, trying new approaches and failing repeatedly. The journey to product-market fit is not a straight line. And Ryan’s story demonstrated that so well.

“I was a serial networker. I would go to an event every night or every other night, to meet as many people as possible, to get our name out there, and to try to understand our market. It was a lot of trial and error, with people saying no over and over again.”


– Ryan Croft




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From One-Man Shop On eBay To DC’s Best Place For Work

From One-Man Shop On eBay To DC’s Best Place For Work Joel Holland is the founder and executive chairman of Storyblocks, a subscription-based online platform for high quality stock media.

Joel has won numerous awards for his work with StoryBlocks. His company has been listed on the Inc 5000 list six consecutive times and was named one of Washington. D.C.’s best places to work by Washingtonian magazine.

In this episode, Joel tells the story of how he started the business selling videos he made himself on eBay, gradually built up his customer base, and bootstrapped the company to what it is today—an online digital media subscription service that offers millions of royalty free videos, audios, and images.

“Until people are voting with their real dollars, you don’t know how customers are gonna behave.”


-Joel Holland




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How to find your business’s unique positioning through continued experimentation

How to find your business’s unique positioning through continued experimentationAlex Hastings and Mike Galyen are co-founders of Guerrilla Vending, a company that creates custom curated vending machines, in collaboration with local Washington DC businesses.

In this episode, Alex and Mike talked about how they started Guerrilla Vending with a refurnished vending machine they found online, and how they discovered their business’ market sweet spot by constantly experimenting with different products they could carry and learning from their own mistakes.

“We had too many ideas (about what to put in the vending machines). We had to see what worked and what didn’t. There was a lot of trial and error.”


-Alex Hastings

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How To Grow A Business Through Low-Cost, Grass-Root Marketing

How To Grow A Business Through Low-Cost, Grass-Root Marketing

Robert Kinsler is the founder of DC Fray, a company that’s on a mission to make living in DC more fun through organizing social sports leagues, special events, and scouting out the coolest things to do in the city.

In this episode, Robert talks about how he started DC Fray as an informal passion project, and grow the business through grass-root marketing with low or no cost.

“I woke up every morning thinking ‘how can I make sure 100 more people know about [DC Fray]’s skee-ball league today?’ Literally grassroot (marketing) to the nth degree.”


– Robert Kinsler

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Why Investing In The Local Community Will Get You More Customers

Why Investing In The Local Community Will Get You More Customers

Lisa Wise is the founder of Nest DC, a boutique property management company that has a strong social mission.

In this episode, Lisa talked about how she started Nest with little industry experience, acquired customers through engaging with the local community and relentlessly focusing on customer service, and why investing in social mission has a positive impact on the bottomline.

“We try to position ourselves as community experts that offer property management, rather than property managers that might know a few things about the city.”


– Lisa Wise

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Content Marketing Tips for Local Businesses

Content Marketing Tips for Local Businesses with Chris Marentis, Ep 48

Chris Marentis is the founder and CEO of Surefire Local, a software platform that helps local businesses generate new customer leads by getting discovered online.

Chris originally started the company to provide consulting services to local businesses who want to strengthen their online presence. Their services got so popular that Chris decided to build software to automate their methodologies. In this episode, Chris shared many useful tips on how local small businesses can use content marketing and other organic methods to build their online reputation and attract more customers.

       “Your blog posts need to be answering questions your typical customers have.”


        -Chris Marentis


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How To Build An App Business That’s Positioned to Scale

How To Build An App Business That’s Positioned to ScaleJunaid Shams is the co-founder and CEO of Rooam, a mobile payment platform that lets users pay their bar tab or restaurant bill directly from their phone. He has received numerous national recognitions, including Businessweek’s “Top 25 entrepreneurs under 25” and Under30CEO’s “Top 30 Most Influential Entrepreneurs under 30.”                  

In this episode, Junaid talked about how he started his first business while in medical school, how he obtained funding to start Rooam, and his strategies for getting early customers when his app was still in beta.

 “We were very strategic about which potential customers we were going to approach at the beta stage.”                                               

-Junaid Shams