The Story Of Entrepreneurs

With family values at its core, Abby Connect is a family-owned business spreading those key values to every entrepreneur we serve.

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, the “family feeling” is in the air.

In just about a week, families and friends will come together around their dinner table to show spirits of gratitude.

With this in mind and because we consider ourselves an extension of your family, we wanted to share with you a piece of ours.


In an interview with Abby Connect’s founders, here are insights they’d like to share with you.

Family: What’s it like having a family-owned business?

Nathan Strum: Working with your family is a challenge even outside of owning a business together. Adding business ownership to the equation certainly complicates things. However, once you find that perfect balance of how to work with each other it can be very rewarding especially knowing that there is a level of trust there that cannot be duplicated.

Gail Strum: When we had our bagel stores, our daughter at the age of 10 would help make our cream cheese. Nathan, along with his father, made the dough for the bagels for our store and wholesale business. We always taught our kids the importance of putting 100% towards anything they do.

Mutual respect and professionalism comes first. Family matters stay at the door, and we acknowledge that we’re a team and each member has different responsibilities.

For Jeff and I, it’s been so rewarding seeing our children succeed and carry on our legacy.

Failures: What was maybe one of your biggest failures as an entrepreneur?

Nathan Strum: My biggest failure was a company I started which was meant to match freelancers looking for work with business owners looking to hire freelancers for jobs. The biggest reason that the business failed was a lack of capital. I underestimated the amount of money it was going to take for the technology and to create awareness in order to build the community.

Jeff & Gail Strum: One of our biggest failures was selling one of our businesses to a non-qualified buyer. Even through the massive research we did beforehand.

Startups: What advice do you have for those who are starting their own company?

Nathan Strum: When it comes to creating a brand listen to your customers (or target market) not so much yourself. As an entrepreneur you are a creator. Many entrepreneurs are creative; therefore, they want to create based on their own intuition. But you cannot be successful building a brand that just “you” would be a customer of. You have to appeal to a wider market and not everyone has the same exact taste as you do.

Jeff & Gail Strum: Research, research and research! Be realistic with the cost and fees that it takes to keep your business going.  You need enough business capital to fund the business and also funding until it is productive and profitable.  Keep accurate P&L records.  If a location is part of the plan, do research. You can have a great product or service but location is essential.

Struggle: What was one of the biggest struggles you faced?

Jeff & Gail Strum: Construction delays for our facility was definitely tough. We had at least 10 offices rented, 1 year before our facility opened. We would distribute mail out of the parking lot for our clients. The day we opened we had many virtual receptionists clients and executive suites clients.  With all the extremely friendly receptionists, we lived through the struggles and had a successful move in.

Books: What is one of your favorite books?

Nathan Strum: I have never been a fiction reader but do enjoy business books. My latest favorite is “Start with Why” by Simon Sinek. Abby Connect as a company really takes inspiration from Simon and his advice.

Jeff & Gail Strum: We enjoy a combination of nonfiction, fiction, current affairs, travel and crime books.

Downtime: What do you do for fun outside of your business?

Nathan Strum: I’ll admit it. I’m a foodie. I like to go out to dinner with friends and family which is great because we have a lot of great choices here in Las Vegas.

Jeff & Gail Strum: In our downtime we both also volunteer at the Animal Foundation. Jeff is also a CASA volunteer helping neglected or abused children in need. We both also love traveling to different Independent Film Festivals throughout the U.S. We took our motor home throughout the country following different festivals for an entire year.

Inspiration: Who did you learn from? Who inspires you?

Nathan Strum: As a son of two die hard serial entrepreneurs my parents where my mentors and inspiration.

Gail Strum: I come from a working background, but with my husband’s vision and entrepreneurial experience, he mentored and inspired me.

Written by

Marlene Cosain

Marlene Cosain

Marlene started with Abby Connect 7 years ago as a receptionist and was won over by the culture and care the company has for its employees. The minute she took her first phone call, she fell in love with helping people. Since then, Marlene has been a pivotal piece of growing Abby Connect – having been a long-time leader in hiring, training, developing, and managing the receptionist floor. Outside of work, Marlene and her husband also run an online retail business. Marlene’s personal mission as a certified Life Coach and as an Abby Way Co-Director is to inspire, empower and educate others in the Abby Way.

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