Sylvie Tendler’s relationship with PME dates back to 2002. Now a PME board member, she is the first PME Entrepreneur to get a seat at the investor’s table. The Tendler Group originally provided market research for Pharmaceutical companies. In 2007 her company was bought by IntrinsiQ, LLC of Waltham MA. We had a chance to catch up with this accomplished entrepreneur and talk about her company and her experiences. She offers valuable advice about being a woman entrepreneur, as well as the factors that led to the decision of selling her business.
Q: What made you want to start The Tendler Group?
A: The timing was right. I saw a void in the market. I saw there was an opportunity and I felt like I had nothing to lose because any money lost can always be earned back. If it didn’t work out I could always go back and get a job. For me it was an opportunity to control my own destiny, an opportunity to work with clients the way I wanted to. Also, to create a nice environment for myself and for my employees.
Q: Many say that women entrepreneurs tend to be more risk averse than men. What do you think about this?
A: I think that might have been the case in the past but now I think that when you look around the world at some of the major cities, it’s much easier to start a business, you don’t need brick-and- mortar, you don’t need a factory, and you can work remotely from anywhere as long as you have e-mail and a phone, things are much easier. This generation has it much easier in the sense that there is a ton of opportunity and I find a lot of women are getting into it. I think it’s started to equalize. They’re finding their voice, they’re realizing that they can control their destiny and future. Especially a woman with a family. When you’re your own boss you can attend children functions and then go back to work and not worry that your boss is going to say something. You control your own schedule. It allows you to keep that balance between family and work.
I don’t think risk aversion today is gender specific. It comes down to character and to the person. It comes down to timing. You’re more risk averse when you’re supporting a family of 5 than if you’re a single girl, living in your own apartment and taking care of yourself because if you fail you’re the only one that’s going to fall. You might not want to take a risk when you have children and a husband because you don’t want to take your whole family down with you. I think it has a lot to do with character and timing in a person’s life not gender.
Q: In 2007 your company was bought. There are many pros and cons to selling your company. What was the decision process that led you to selling?
A: I felt that I could bring my company to the next level much faster if I partnered or if I was bought by another company. Because I would be able to leverage their services and talent.
It made sense. We were much stronger together than separate. I initially partnered up with a company where the buyers were very good to me, they integrated me into their company, and managed me with a very long leash. There was a lot of trust, respect and they leveraged my expertise for their US business. They did not interfere with my day-to-day stuff, they did not interfere with my everyday relationships. It came down to a monthly phone call to talk about numbers and sales. It was a very nice relationship. I didn’t just sell the company to anyone. For me it was also a very big learning opportunity. Prior to selling the business, there were few colleagues I could turn to for advice. I couldn’t just pop my head into an office and ask for advice. By merging with this company all of a sudden I was able to reach out when I needed help. It turned out to be a very good move.
Q: How did you first find the right buyer for The Tendler Group?
A: Well it all stated off as a licensing agreement. I was going to in-license medical software from the company that ended up buying mine. During the negotiations for the software, a good rapport and relationship was established between them and myself. They liked me so much and I liked them so much that one day they called me and asked me if I’d be interested in selling my company.
That’s why I always tell other entrepreneurs you never know what can come from a business transaction or relationship. You might be negotiating a contract with your future buyer. You always want to keep things professional. We worked through all our issues and they realized maybe they should buy this company in Canada, this way we’d be the top in our market and North America.
Sylvie is definitely a business woman to take advice from. What started off as a licensing agreement led her to making one of the biggest decisions for the future of her business. Making sure you have a good relationship with all your business affiliates is key. Sylvie also works as a PME mentor, advising our entrepreneurs through the different phases of their business development.
PME can give entrepreneurs access to a pool of experienced mentors in the hopes of helping them get to the next level. Our mentors are united by the fierce passion to help start-ups succeed by offering guidance and advice. This includes advice in bookkeeping procedures, outsourcing options, business development, pursuing sustainable growth, customer retention and acquisition, as well as growth hacking.
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