As providers of small business insurance, Hiscox has the opportunity to connect with business owners each day. What we’ve noticed from these interactions is that each company has a unique story on why and how it was launched.
Recently, Hiscox partnered with Under30CEO.com for the “Starting Your Business as a Young Entrepreneur” series. We soon realized there were more stories of small businesses starting up than Under30CEO.com could share! With the launch of the Hiscox Small Business Corner, we’re highlighting small business owners and the companies they lead.
The first feature is 8 Path Solutions, LLC., which was founded in 2011 to meet the growing need for scientifically engineered solutions to tackle real world challenges in nearly every industry. The company focuses on integrating the people, process, technology and expertise to create innovative strategic, technical and data science solutions. 8 Path Solutions uses clinical diagnosis, scientific rigor and technical expertise to meet the immediate needs of clients and to create executable strategies. The company owns two provisional patents and two trademarks in data technology.
Founder Jennifer Shin discusses how 8 Path Solutions was started.
What is your background?
I began working in finance and law when I was in high school and I’ve worked on projects in nearly every industry since then. My management consulting experience has been in both the private and non-profit sectors and I’ve worked on successfully implementing data, business process, and technology solutions for several multimillion dollar projects.
I am a graduate of the NYC public school system and a graduate of Stuyvesant High School. I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Economics, Mathematics and Writing from Columbia University and my Master’s degree in Statistics from Columbia University. I continue to work on research in collaboration with professors, industry professionals and independently and I am in the process of submitting my work for publication in peer reviewed journals.
What encouraged you to become a business owner?
I experienced many challenges as I began my career in management consulting. In 2008, the economic turmoil made it very difficult to continue to work as a consultant because companies stopped hiring or demanded more from new hires such as travelling a minimum of 5 days a week or working longer hours in the office. I decided to try for a more innovative line of work and begin submitting grant proposals that discussed the increased need for the mathematics industry to handle what’s become known as big data. Unfortunately, there was a lack of interest.
I started my company after being rejected by over a dozen graduate schools and then realized that no one would hire me for my full skills and experience, but instead only wanted a small part of what I could offer. Since I had already taken time away from industry to apply to graduate school programs, I decided to pursue science in my own way by starting my own company, which would give me the flexibility to pursue science as well as the financial support to continue with my research.
What advice would you share with other business owners?
I never expected my company to be one way or another. As a new venture, there is no path or template and although this makes the experience a lot more stressful, it also means that there are a less “failures.” Knowing what I want from my company and why I decided to go into business are extremely important for me because it’s inevitable that if you become successful, you will have new options that you never anticipated. If your company is something you really believe in, then you will probably have to accept that you will have to take it all the way and failure is a real possibility. If you think about it in terms of poker, this is the difference between playing to win the pot and playing for the experience of it.
What is your secret to success?
Starting a business has been difficult because I am in an industry that constantly sells clients unrealistic expectations and unnecessary services. In the beginning I felt that I would be unable to compete with other companies because of these marketing tactics, but when I tried to address these concerns when marketing to potential clients, I discovered that selling in this defensive manner results in very little work. Instead, I am finding greater success by offering new options to clients and taking the time to look for opportunities that can demonstrate the value of the services we provide.
Larger companies can choose to market and boast about their successes because many clients are interested in purchasing a brand. As a smaller firm, this approach is difficult so I focus on earning our success by doing the work and not shying away from an opportunity that is less than ideal.
The advent of “data science” and the growing demand for the blend of technical and analytical skills has been beneficial, but selling these somewhat intangible service is a challenge.
For more information about 8 Path Solutions, visit www.8pathsolutions.com at company founder Jennifer Shin at firstname.lastname@example.org.