Lean Startup Labs Detroit Summit Speaker Spotlight: Tifani Sadek

In the weeks leading up to the Lean Startup Labs Detroit Summit, we’re highlighting some of the amazing people who will be speaking at the event.

When Tifani Sadek moved to Detroit in 2012, she was so inspired by the entrepreneurial energy in the city that she founded a law firm that catered to entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses. During her tenure as a startup law office, she learned a lot — about vision, experimentation, customer service, and pricing policy. She also developed a unique perspective on the role that risk plays in any new business, small or large.

We asked Tifani a few questions about what she’s learned, and what we can expect from her talk at the Lean Startup Labs Detroit Summit.

Tifani-400x380We’re excited to have you speak at the Lean Startup Labs Detroit Summit in September. What will people learn from your talk?

I’ve been an attorney working in the intersection of technology and law for the past several years. I’ve seen so many businesses with capital, well-thought out plans, and captive audiences get sidelined by unexpected troubles. So my talk will teach entrepreneurs how to manage risk. I say manage instead of avoid, because it’s impossible to avoid all risk, but you need to know how to expect it, prepare for it, and mitigate it.  

Why is your story important to share to others in the Detroit region?

I always call myself a “reluctant entrepreneur.” I never planned to start a business, but after moving to Detroit, I realized I wanted to work with startups and to do so, I’d have to start my own firm. So I did. I had to learn a lot of the skills that many entrepreneurs are born with. Along the way, I realized, everyone has something to learn, even the most natural entrepreneur, so I enjoy sharing with others how I learned to pick up certain traits.  

How has Lean Startup affected your business or the way you approach your work?

Lean Startup profoundly affected the way I started my firm. It was especially important because law is such a traditional profession and inherently averse to any kind of risk. However, I wanted to work with startups, which often avoid engaging attorneys, either due to lack of funds or lack of understanding how a lawyer can help a startup. So I had to think outside of the box and try a number of approaches in terms of how I billed for services, what kind of services I provided, and such. I eventually found something that worked for me and my clients, by testing out multiple systems, pivoting, and evolving.  

What is the greatest thing about working in Detroit (and if you’re not working in Detroit, what is the greatest thing about Detroit)?

The entrepreneurial energy in Detroit is incredible. Starting a business was never even on my radar in the other two cities I practiced in (Houston and Chicago). However, after a year of moving to Detroit, I had quit my corporate law job and started by own firm. This was because the entrepreneurial spirit was so strong that I caught the “bug”, but also because the community here in Detroit is so supportive, it was much easier to start something. If you put in the work, the entire community wants to see you succeed and will do whatever it can to help.  

Join us on September 20 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit to hear from Tifani and other rock star entrepreneurs from Detroit talk about the Lean Startup strategies they used to launch and grow their businesses.