Dan Afrasiabi - Executive Profile
Dan Afrasiabi is a seasoned entrepreneur with over fifteen years of experience in starting and leading technology services, analytics and marketing companies, with presence in the US, Latin America and Asia. Dan's experience also includes various debt and private equity investments, as well as managing a number of M&A transactions.
Prior to that, Dan served as the President of Symphony Services Cost Management Group (CMG), an analytics, software and outsourcing company. In that role he was responsible for all of the Company's operations in the United States and India. Dan's position with Symphony was the result of the acquisition of his prior company, Stonehouse Technologies, by Symphony. Dan has also served as the President of Tickets.com (formerly NASDAQ traded under the symbol TIXX) Ticketing Services Group (TSG). The company provided some of the nation's largest sports and entertainment organizations, including various Major League Baseball clubs with outsourcing solutions for the sale and distribution of their tickets. Tickets.com was acquired by a division of Major League Baseball.
Dan also has significant experience in private equity investments, mergers and acquisitions, and the capital markets. Dan was formerly a vice president at Ventana Global, Ltd., a private equity management firm.
Dan received a bachelor's degree in Business Administration with a focus on Entrepreneurial Studies, as well as an M.B.A. and J.D. graduate degrees, all from the University of Southern California.
Dan is a member and officer of the Oregon chapter of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO).
Merchants may pick up the tab
Overall, rewards programs are moving to become more personalized and giving customers more choices, says Dan Afrasiabi, president of ARM Insight, which runs CardPower. But there are a lot of changes afoot, he says, so consumers might want to "wait for this whole thing to shake out a little bit."
Even if your debit card rewards program is going away, you probably haven't heard the last from your bank on the matter, says Ron Shevlin, senior analyst with Aite Group, a research and advisory firm. Other industries, such as airlines, hotels and retail, have found ways to make loyalty programs work, and banks will, too.
"Announcing they're killing their rewards programs allows these banks to re-launch them over the next year," he says.
Entire article: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Banks-cutting-canceling-debit-creditcards-416246959.html?x=0
Symphony Services announced that Dan Afrasiabi has been named president of Symphony Services' Cost Management Group.
As president and COO of STI, a Dallas, TX-based provider of telecommunications expense management outsourcing and software solutions, Dan was responsible for all aspects of the company's business operations, helping to grow the company and guide its success in managing telecommunication expenses for large corporate and government clients.
"The combination of Symphony Services' call accounting expertise with STI's expense management capabilities enables us…………
Entire article: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20041115005183/en/Symphony-Services-Completes-Stonehouse-Acquisition-Names-Dan
Mark Vasco: At what age did you start your first business and what was it?
Dan Afrasiabi I started my first real business after I graduated from college in 1988. The business was called PC Products, and was involved in supplying the printed circuit board industry with supplies, components and material.
Mark Vasco: How did you get the idea for your first business?
Dan Afrasiabi I had different jobs all through college, but I never thought of any of those jobs as a long-term career. As I was graduating from college, all of my friends began interviewing with large companies that were coming on campus to interview graduates. I just had absolutely no desire to go out and get a job with a big company, so I didn’t do a single interview. The next thing I knew it was May, and I was a couple of weeks away from graduating from college, with absolutely no idea what I was going to do next. I was getting a degree in business from the Entrepreneur Program at USC. One of the things that they really encouraged us to do in the Entrepreneur Program was to start a business, while we could still afford to take big risks. It makes a lot harder to start a business, once you have a car payment, house payment, family, etc. I met a couple of guys that were involved in selling material and supplies to the printed circuit board industry. We thought that given their relationships and my training and desire to start a new business, we could create a company distributing products to the printed circuit board industry. I basically gave it very little thought, because we could start the business with almost no money. I asked my parents if I can move back home with them for a short period of time, so that I could start this business without having to worry about paying tons of bills every month. The next thing I knew we were up and running and I was in business, making sales calls to printed circuit board manufacturers, even though I knew absolutely nothing about it.
Mark Vasco: If you could go back and correct one mistake you made in your first business what would it be?
Dan Afrasiabi I would make sure that my partners had the ability to survive a few months, without taking a real paycheck. Unfortunately with that business, I don’t think that my partners really understood that starting a business is different than getting a job. Within a couple of months of starting that business, my partners decided that they could not survive without a steady paycheck; unfortunately, our business wasn’t yet at a point where it could pay everyone a regular paycheck. I was lucky, because I had moved back in with my parents, so I could afford to live on a couple of hundred dollars a month. My partners, on the other hand, had families to support and just could not afford to do that. Because of that, they left the business within three months of our launch, and I was left running a new business that I knew basically nothing about!
Mark Vasco: How many businesses have you started and operated in your life?
Dan Afrasiabi I’ve been involved with three complete start-ups, and two turn-around situations, where I took over smaller companies that were having big difficulties and turned them around.
Mark Vasco: How many of those businesses would you consider a failure?
Dan Afrasiabi Fortunately, I have never had a total failure in a sense that the business completely failed.
Mark Vasco: What advice would you give to a young person looking for their first business?
Dan Afrasiabi Make sure that you really understand how you are going to generate revenues and how long it’s going to take you to get cash in the bank. I remember one of my professors in the USC Entrepreneur Program always used to say: “There is a reason why all financial statements start with Sales or Revenues” Of course he was stating the obvious, but many times people overlook the obvious. More businesses have failed because people have over-estimated their ability to generate cash revenues in a timely manner than any other reason.
It’s simple - unless you generate revenues, you’re going to run out of cash to run the business at some point! The real obvious advice that one of my other professors always gave was - For every dollar of additional sales that you generate, maybe 15 cents will end up in your pocket (assuming you have a 15% net profit margin)“. But for every dollar that you save, a dollar will end up in your pocket! Again, really obvious advice, but it’s amazing how many times people go out and spend a whole bunch of money, before they have generated a single dollar of revenues. When I first started my latest business, I absolutely refused to buy anything except what I could find on Craigs List or Ebay. This included furniture, office equipment, office supplies, etc. We created all of our original marketing material, software programs, and alike ourselves, and absolutely refused to pay anyone for anything that we could do in-house. Simply put - Nothing makes a business fail faster than bringing in less cash than you expected and spending more than you should.
Mark Vasco: How do you know when it’s time to start a business?
Dan Afrasiabi The perfect time to start a business is when are already involved in an industry, and you see some kind of an unmet need from within that industry. If you can start a business with the knowledge of how you are going to get your new customers, you’ll be miles ahead of others.
Mark Vasco: What is your idea of a successful business?
Dan Afrasiabi Well, for me the definition of a successful business is one that is always changing and growing, thereby keeping everyone involved excited. Seeing your people get excited to take on new responsibilities and to experience personal growth, is one of the greatest feelings of achievement. I also believe that a successful business is one in which everyone agrees on a plan and strategic decision, buys into that plan, and then plays his or her part in executing the plan. Nothing gives people a greater feeling of success in business, than being involved in planning and executing a strategic plan that results in growth…both personal growth and business growth.
Mark Vasco: In one word define the quality needed most to run your own business.
Dan Afrasiabi Two words! Judgment and guts.