Daniel Koffler is President of New Frontiers, an executive functioning coaching organization. NF provides academic, social, transitional and career supports to clients with a range of abilities and interests, allowing them to maximize their potential and become the most successful, independent, self-advocating members of society they can be. Originally working in his family’s special education business, Daniel founded New Frontiers, in response to a recurring pattern of young people of different abilities transitioning to post-high-school life experiences without being fully prepared. Clients range from elementary-school-aged through seasoned adults looking to push themselves to be the most optimized version of themselves and increase their independence, and overall success. Daniel is a member of the Young Presidents Organization and holds a BS in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing from George Washington University. Personally, he is happily married with three children, including a set of twins.
Tell us about your childhood and where you grew up?
Early years in Queens (New York City), formative years in Great Neck (Long Island). Very normal childhood–ran around with my friends, above-average student, dabbled in sports, looked for action/adventure wherever I could find it. Parents were generally very supportive of my diverse interests and took efforts to expose me to all types of people/places/things. Looking back, a lot of that energy informs my perspective (and to a certain extent, activities) today.
How did you get started as an entrepreneur?
I come from entrepreneurial stock! My father started an education business in the 80s and grew it into a substantial brick-and-mortar school management enterprise, with programs all over NYC serving a wide range of individuals/communities. I was raised to clearly understand that there was not a warm seat waiting for me should I choose to stumble through my academic career and land softly. Stumble I did, but as it turned out I ended up working with him (and my brother) for a number of years (FWIW, the seat was so cold it burned!), and learned a ton–both what to do and what NOT to do. This education became the basis of my current adventure, during which I continue to learn what to do and not to do, only this time the stakes are even higher (but so are the rewards).
What is one business lesson you would tell a startup founder?
Establish a culture, and the sooner the better. Every day that goes by with an ill-defined approach is at least a week of additional time that will be spent untangling the mess that comes from running in a direction with no target in mind. One approach to start this exercise is to think about the BEST member of your team (or a team that you admire)—what makes them the best? If you had an organization full of them, imagine what that could do for you!