We’ve launched Secrets of Success, a new weekly interview series here at Web.com’s Small Business Forum. I’ve asked some of the smartest, innovative, successful people I know to share their insights and success secrets.
Meet: Brian Moran, founder and CEO of Brian Moran & Associates, who’s been part of the small business universe for about 25 years. I’ve known and worked with Brian for most of that time, and his mission has always been to help entrepreneurs run better businesses.
Rieva Lesonsky: What did you want to be when you grew up?
Brian Moran: First baseman for the New York Mets. I haven’t given up on the dream, but my chances of success seem to get slimmer with each passing decade.
Lesonsky: The way the Mets are playing, you never know. Why did you start your own business?
Moran: I started my own business for several reasons. First, I love being an entrepreneur. I have tons of ideas and don’t like the process of having to jump through different hoops before deciding on whether or not to move forward on them. Second, I like being in control of my own time and destiny. I am 100 percent not a “9-to-5” worker. Some of my best work is done either late at night or early in the morning. Lastly, even with all the chaos, anxiety and uncertainty of running my own business, I look forward to every single day like a kid on Christmas morning.
Lesonsky: Did you experience a pivotal moment on your way to success?
Moran: Yes. My pivotal moment is often referred to as “The Great Recession.” I previously owned a successful publishing company that ran head-first into the abyss of 2008 – 2012 (my personal timeframe for the recession). It was an extremely painful lesson. After shutting down my business and returning to corporate America, I vowed to learn from my mistakes and come back bigger, better, faster, stronger, and smarter. I started my new company on July 2, 2011. To date, it’s been the best decision I’ve ever made in business.
Lesonsky: What’s the best small business advice you ever gave and/or received?
Moran: The best advice I ever received came from my parents. On questioning the security of entrepreneurship vs. corporate America, my mother said “The only security you will ever need is between your ears.” She was 1,000 percent correct! My father said simply “Don’t complain and don’t explain.” His sage advice has helped me tremendously over the years.
The best advice I’ve given to fellow business owners is to have a plan—and a backup plan. Your chances of success are exponentially better if you know 1) Where you want to take your business, and (2) How you plan on getting there. The backup plan is important because, as we know, very few things in life go according to plan.
Lesonsky: What’s one “best practice” more entrepreneurs should be embracing?
Moran: Take one full morning each month and work “on” your business as opposed to working “in” it. Select the people who have the biggest impact in your company plus any outside advisors (e.g. attorney or accountant) and carve out at least a few hours to take a 20,000-foot view of what’s happening in your industry, among your competitors and with your business. The examination will help you see what’s coming up in the next three, six and even 12 months. This will help you plan your strategy accordingly.
Lesonsky: Do you have a 2014 small business prediction?
Moran: The Mets will win the World Series. That’s the only prediction I offer every year. As you can guess, my success rate as a prognosticator is 4 percent below “Awful.”
Someone once said “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” I wholeheartedly agree with that quote, which is why having plans/backup plans is the advice I give to everyone who places a priority on achieving their goals. I predict incredible breakthroughs in many fields next year by entrepreneurs who believe in themselves and their companies, and who don’t allow the winds of fate to guide their businesses.
Lesonsky: Do you have a favorite book?
Moran: I have more than a few favorite books. I love books that showcase the power of the human spirit. Some of these books include: Unbroken and Seabiscuit, two books written by Lauren Hillenbrand, who has an amazing story in her own right. Another book is C.C. Pyle’s Amazing Foot Race: The True Story of the 1928 Coast-to-Coast Run Across America, by Geoff Williams. I read it right before running my first marathon.
For business, I have three books which I recommend to almost everyone: The Greatest Salesman in the World, by Og Mandino; Road Rules, by Andrew Sherman; and The Knack, by Norm Brodsky.
Lesonsky: Is there a quote you find particularly inspiring?
Moran: As with my book choices, I have so many quotes that I’ve referenced over the years in various situations. Other than my parents’ quotes I mentioned earlier, here a few of my favorites:
“It’s not what you take but what you leave behind that defines greatness.”—Edward Gardner
“Rejection isn’t fatal; it’s merely someone’s opinion.”–Unknown
“Thank you, God, for giving me today.”—Brian Moran