(MoneyWatch) Fuad Ahmed is taking on the discount brokerage world one $2.50 trade at a time. The Just2Trade CEO launched his startup in 2007 after spending nearly a decade developing and perfecting proprietary trading technology. His goal? To offer customers the same online trading experience as the competition, but at a lower cost. Since then, the George Washington University grad and Wall Street veteran has won accolades from Barron's, Smart Money and Kiplinger's. Here's how he did it.
Rebecca Jarvis: What were you doing before you started your company?
Fuad Ahmed: I had been working at Smith Barney as a financial advisor for 5 years and was at the point where I needed to decide which direction to take my career. I was either going to go for my MBA or start my own company. With the advent of the Internet I knew it would change the way investors traded. I decided that I wanted to empower investors to take control of their portfolio. This idea led me to combine my passion for finance with technology and design a trading platform that would enable investors to manage their own investments.
RJ: How long did it take to turn your idea into a business?
FA: It took me 2 years to think through the business idea I had, develop a business model and start Success Trade Securities. We were profitable our first year in business, although we incurred costs as we expanded and invested in our infrastructure.
RJ: What's your number one piece of advice to entrepreneurs?
FA: Keep moving. Regardless of what obstacles or failures you may endure along the way, always stay optimistic. Learn from failures and don't let them hold you back from achieving your goals. Also, be passionate about what you're doing.
RJ: If you could ask one person for advice, who would it be and what would you ask?
FA: Andrew Carnegie - What can he share about his optimistic outlook? How did he stay so positive?
Thomas Edison - What kept him going through all the failures he encountered?
RJ: Are you hiring? How do you get hired by a start-up?
FA: Currently, we are not hiring. But here is what I look for in the people I hire: Self-starter; ability to multitask; willingness to take on responsibilities and be responsible for making your own decisions; ability to thrive without being micro-managed; shared passion and vision for the success of the company.
A perfect example of this type of individual is the current COO of Just2Trade, Christian Baez. I hired him as an intern in 2005. He shared my vision for the future of the company, took on responsibilities and created opportunities. He became an integral part in the development of Just2Trade and soared to a position of leadership.
For more on Just2Trade, visit their website.