Erëmirë Musliu – Founder and CEO of Siera Language School offers more than just general English lessons for children and adults. Through their Business English programs which can be tailored to specific corporates, they skillfully develop not only your employees language proficiency but also their essential soft skills.
With a team member who is a professor at the University of St. Gallen, they have crafted a cutting-edge Business English curriculum over the past three years.
Can you briefly introduce yourself and describe your journey as an entrepreneur? What made you take the plunge into entrepreneurship and what were some of the key milestones along the way?
My name is Eremire Musliu and I was born in Kosovo. During my Bachelor’s degree, I started working as an English teacher and had a vision to start my own school. After gaining experience in different institutions for more than 8 years, I founded my school. When the pandemic broke out (a few months after starting the school), we quickly went online and expanded to six countries within three months. This was a significant milestone in our journey.
Looking back on your entrepreneurial career, what are the three most important lessons you learned that you think every aspiring entrepreneur should know?
1. Persistence and thorough exploration can lead to solutions: If you thoroughly investigate seemingly hopeless situations or complex problems, you will eventually find a way out. This has been the case in countless situations along my journey.
2.Embrace collaboration and seek support: As a perfectionist, I was initially hesitant to ask for help or rely on others. But then I realized the importance of delegating tasks and seeking support. Trying to handle every aspect of running the school operations slowed down its growth. It’s crucial to trust and involve others to accelerate progress.
3. Distinguish between “working in the business” and “working on the business”: although I heard this advice fairly late in the game, I have learned over the course of my journey the importance of mastering a particular skill in your business and creating a plan for others to follow. This way, you can free yourself from the day-to-day operations and focus on strategic planning and business development.
Starting a business often means taking risks. How do you assess the risks in your ventures and how do you deal with them? What advice do you have for entrepreneurs on navigating uncertainties?
No matter how detailed and well thought out a business idea is, there is always a risk of failure. To manage the risks in my ventures, I conduct thorough market research, maintain a valuable network, and stay true to my business idea. I advise entrepreneurs to be passionate about their cause, work hard, network, conduct market research, and constantly learn. These factors contribute to success, despite the inherent risk of failure when starting a business.
No matter how detailed and well thought out a business idea is, there is always a risk of failure.
Building a strong network is critical for entrepreneurs. What strategies have you used throughout your career to build meaningful connections and partnerships? How has networking contributed to your success?
To build a strong network, I prefer to meet with like-minded people from different fields. Attending business conferences in general or summits related to my field has proven valuable as I am exposed to new ideas and grow personally. Networking has played an important role in my success by providing valuable insight and opportunities. Everyone you meet knows something you do not, which can be very helpful.
One of the challenges for many entrepreneurs is finding the right balance between innovation and market demand. How do you approach this balance and what steps do you take to ensure that your products/services meet the needs of the market?
In order to find a balance between innovation and market demand, it is important for me to constantly educate myself and stay in touch with my target market. The world is changing every day, so I am constantly learning. On the other hand, staying in touch with your market is one of the best things you can do. That way you can tell when it’s time to adapt to new ways of doing things. So if you know the market trends and customer needs, you can find the right balance between innovation and meeting market demands.
Staying in touch with your market is one of the best things you can do.
Scaling a business requires effective leadership and team management. What leadership skills do you think are essential to leading a successful team, and how do you foster a positive work culture in your company?
There are people who have told me that I am too empathetic to be a good leader. It turns out that empathy is one of my strongest attributes. I believe in being kind and supportive and treating my team like friends. Recognizing their needs, emotions, and challenges ensures a positive work culture and allows me to lead a successful team.
In your experience, what are the most effective marketing and branding strategies for early stage startups? How can entrepreneurs make the best use of their limited resources to raise their profile and attract customers?
For early-stage startups, effective marketing and branding strategies often require experimentation and adaptation, and be prepared for many of the strategies to be futile. Building brand awareness is critical, and leveraging multiple marketing channels and social media platforms can maximize visibility. Sharing success stories will always be a good idea.
Building brand awareness is critical.
Financial management is critical to a company’s sustainability and growth. What financial practices or strategies have you found most useful in managing cash flow, securing financing, and making sound financial decisions?
Do not make the mistake of trying to do everything yourself! Get professional help from an accountant and, if possible, legal counsel to manage the complex financial and legal aspects. Their expertise is invaluable when it comes to managing cash flow, securing funding, and making informed decisions for your business.
Do not make the mistake of trying to do everything yourself!
Many entrepreneurs experience setbacks and failures along the way. Can you give us a specific example where you faced a major challenge or failure and how you overcame it? What lessons did you learn from this experience?
One major challenge was that I expanded my school too quickly with multiple language programs. Since I couldn’t evaluate the quality of teaching in languages I didn’t speak fluently, it became an overwhelming task for a newcomer like me, even though our students were consistently achieving success in all of our courses. This experience taught me the importance of slowing down growth and educating myself in areas that are not my own.
As an experienced entrepreneur, what advice would you give to someone just starting their entrepreneurial journey? What are the key factors or habits that contribute to long-term success in the business world?
As you begin your entrepreneurial journey, focus on one direction and experiment to find out what works. Once you figure out what attracts customers, stick with it and adjust as needed. Cultivate a habit of constant learning, stay adaptable and build a supportive network to succeed in the business world for the long term.
On your entrepreneurial journey, focus on one direction and experiment to find out what works.
Technology and digital transformation have revolutionized several industries. How have you used technology in your business and what new trends do you think business owners should keep an eye on in the coming years?
Fortunately, I have a close connection with the entire leadership team of one of the top tech companies in my country called Basecode. Technology has always played an important role in my business, so thanks to Basecode’s expertise, keeps me updated on the latest technological trends. In the coming years, entrepreneurs should keep a close eye on advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI), as it has the potential to reshape various industries and revolutionize the way we do things.
Finally, could you tell us about any recommended resources such as books, websites or communities that have been useful to you as an entrepreneur? How do you keep up with industry trends and continue to learn and evolve?
The Ten Types of Human by Dexter Dias is definitely one of the most inspiring books I have ever read. It has helped me look deeply into myself and other people, which has also had a positive impact on my entrepreneurial journey.
To stay up to date with industry trends, I actively engage in online communities and forums related to my field. I also follow influential thought leaders and industry experts on social media platforms and regularly read blogs and publications related to my industry – education.
Erëmirë was one of this year’s Pirate Summit speakers! Were we had the opportunity to hear one of the most innovative and inspiring minds in business, tech, and beyond. 🚀
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