Meet The World’s Newest And Youngest Self Made Billionaire Luminar’s Austin Russell

The race to commercialize self-driving car technology has attracted billions of dollars of investment but not created many billionaires. Luminar founder and CEO Austin Russell is among the rare exceptions. With the Nasdaq listing of the laser sensor company he founded at age 17, the optics prodigy is one of the first billionaires to emerge from the autonomous-vehicle world—and the youngest self-made billionaire in the world.

“It’s been insanely intense, grueling . . . everything through every day that we’ve had to go through, scaling this up. And of course it’s incredibly rewarding to have an opportunity to be able to get out there now and get into the public markets and scale through this IPO SPAC,” 25-year-old Russell tells Forbes in a video interview from his office in Palo Alto, California. “I’m still relatively young, but … a lot of blood, sweat and tears have gone into it. And I was fortunate enough to be able to retain a good enough stake.”

Good enough, indeed. Russell’s 104.7 million shares, about a third of Luminar’s outstanding equity, was worth $2.4 billion at the close of Nasdaq trading on Thursday. The listing, announced in August, resulted from a merger with special purpose acquisition company Gores Metropoulos, a unit of Beverly Hills-based finance firm The Gores Group, and raised Luminar’s estimated market value to $3.4 billion prior to the start of trading. Investors in the newly public company include fellow billionaire Peter Thiel (net worth: $4.6 billion), who helped get Russell started with Luminar by making him a Thiel Fellow in 2012; Volvo Cars Tech Fund; Alec Gores of The Gores Group, another billionaire ($2.2 billion), who is also a Luminar board member; and billionaire Dean Metropoulos, the company’s chairman.

Thiel, the Paypal cofounder who famously created a fellowship offering extraordinary young people $100,000 to drop out of college to pursue their dreams, has been an advisor to Russell since he left Stanford to start Luminar in 2012. As a mentor, Thiel is impressed not just by the new tech billionaire’s intellect, but also his ability to hold on to a significant chunk of Luminar as it moved from Russell’s garage concept to Nasdaq.

“You can build a billion-dollar business but that does not mean you can become a billionaire,” says Thiel. “It’s remarkable from a financing perspective to retain a financial stake of that size.”

Russell, who’s also a Forbes 30 Under 30 alum from the class of 2018, isn’t looking to take on self-driving tech giants like Alphabet’s Waymo or GM-backed Cruise, but instead is perfecting sensors that help autonomous cars “see” their surroundings by bouncing a laser beam off objects in their path. Known as lidar for “light detection and ranging,” the technology is fundamental for autonomous vehicles. Luminar is competing in that space with Velodyne, the early leader in lidar for autonomous vehicles, and newcomer Aeva, both of which are also going public via SPAC mergers. Russell has sold prototype sensors to major auto companies for the past few years, but more recently secured production orders from Volvo Cars, Daimler and Intel’s Mobileye that may ensure revenue growth for several years. 


You can build a billion-dollar business but that does not mean you can become a billionaire. It’s remarkable from a financing perspective to retain a financial stake of that size. Peter Thiel


Luminar will likely post sales of just $15 million this year, but could generate at least $1.3 billion by 2026, based on estimates in an SEC filing.    

Russell’s abilities extend beyond the lab to the boardroom, according to Alec Gores, who helped arrange Luminar’s listing. “When we were negotiating, he was so on top of everything, the small details. Sixty-year-old guys who’ve been in the business for 40 years don’t understand this stuff, but he took time to study the SPAC,” he says. “I’m looking at this guy and saying, ‘You asked more questions than anybody I’ve seen that’s been doing this sh*t for a long time.’”

The lanky 6-foot-4 Russell, with shaggy strawberry blonde hair and a light beard to match, was racking up notable achievements long before his new billionaire status. As the story goes, he memorized the periodic table of elements at 2 years old and rewired his Nintendo DS game console into a crude mobile phone when he was in the sixth grade after his parents forbade him from having one. At 13, he filed his first patent: an underground water recycling system that catches sprinkler water and saves it for future gardening to reduce wastewater. Rather than go to high school, he spent his teen years at the University of California at Irvine’s Beckman Laser Institute. 

Next came admission to Stanford to study physics, but that didn’t last long. He dropped out midway through his freshman year after winning a $100,000 Thiel Fellowship stipend for his lidar concept, founding Luminar not long after obtaining his driver’s license. 

Excluding inherited fortunes, Russell is ​one of about a dozen people on the planet to make a billion dollars before they turned 30.

Lidar was an early fixation for Russell as he believes it has the potential to save lives both as part of self-driving cars and as a component of advanced driver-assistance systems that Volvo and other carmakers are bringing to market in the next two to three years. As a teenager, he’d looked at what Velodyne and other companies were doing with laser sensors, but determined a completely different approach was needed to make them cheap enough to be ubiquitous.

“It should not be a 16- or 17-year-old and then subsequently a 25-year-old that can build a business like this,” says Russell. “We’ve been able to accelerate this because no one has really done this before.”

It doesn’t hurt that Russell has zero distraction from social media or time-sucking general education requirements of college and high school degrees. Unlike most 25-year-olds, he has neither Twitter nor Instagram accounts, but confesses to learning most of what he knows about the world from avid Wikipedia and YouTube explainer consumption.

As a Gen Y billionaire, Russell is also thinking about his impact. Though he has no immediate plans for Bill Gates-like philanthropy, he sees his contribution as eradicating automobile accidents. “When this becomes a new, modern safety technology on vehicles that’s integrated on every vehicle globally produced, that’s when I’d firmly say that we’ve accomplished the goals that we set.” 

Alan Ohnsman

Alan Ohnsman

From Los Angeles, the U.S. capitol of cars and congestion, I try to make sense of technology-driven changes reshaping how we get around. Find me on Twitter at @alanohnsman

Alexandra Sternlicht

Alexandra Sternlicht

I’m the Under 30 Editorial Community Lead at Forbes. Previously, I directed marketing at a mobile app startup. I’ve also worked at The New York Times and New York

.

.

CNBC Television

Luminar, an autonomous vehicle technology startup, is set to go public through a SPAC merger with Gores Metropoulos Thursday. Luminar founder Austin Russell joins “Squawk Box” to discuss. For access to live and exclusive video from CNBC subscribe to CNBC PRO: https://cnb.cx/2NGeIvi » Subscribe to CNBC TV: https://cnb.cx/SubscribeCNBCtelevision » Subscribe to CNBC: https://cnb.cx/SubscribeCNBC » Subscribe to CNBC Classic: https://cnb.cx/SubscribeCNBCclassic Turn to CNBC TV for the latest stock market news and analysis. From market futures to live price updates CNBC is the leader in business news worldwide. The News with Shepard Smith is CNBC’s daily news podcast providing deep, non-partisan coverage and perspective on the day’s most important stories. Available to listen by 8:30pm ET / 5:30pm PT daily beginning September 30: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/09/29/the-n… Connect with CNBC News Online Get the latest news: http://www.cnbc.com/ Follow CNBC on LinkedIn: https://cnb.cx/LinkedInCNBC Follow CNBC News on Facebook: https://cnb.cx/LikeCNBC Follow CNBC News on Twitter: https://cnb.cx/FollowCNBC Follow CNBC News on Instagram: https://cnb.cx/InstagramCNBChttps://www.cnbc.com/select/best-cred…#CNBC#CNBCTV

4 Ways to Successfully Build a Bootstrapped Business

Many aspiring entrepreneurs think the key to growing a successful company is linked to the ability to secure investor funding. For some businesses this may be true, but many successful companies have been built from the ground up with no outside investment or support, aka bootstrapping. It takes great dedication, strong work ethic, sweat equity and an immense amount of drive to bootstrap a business to success.

Today, the majority of entrepreneurs are bootstrapping their companies. One recent report found that of the 202 million working-age adults in the United States, 27 percent are either running a business they own and manage or starting such a business. Of these, 33.1 million are in the entrepreneurial phase (starting or running a business for less than three and a half years). Now consider that venture capital is used by only 0.5 percent of those 33.1 million entrepreneurs for startup capital.

Growing a business using a self-sustaining approach requires a strong vision for the company, supported by a focus on several key areas. These include developing a sustainable business model, prioritizing customer acquisition and retention, building transparency into the company’s DNA, and strategically expanding the company’s footprint and offerings.

Related: The 7 Elements of a Strong Business Model

1. Acquiring and retaining customers

Instead of chasing after funding to drive growth, bootstrapped companies devote their time and attention to customer acquisition and retention. With no outside investment, it is critical for bootstrapped businesses to build a customer base quickly to generate positive cash flow.

Attracting new customers and boosting loyalty in existing customers can come from listening to what they need and paying attention to their feedback about the company’s product or service and using this input to develop offerings that deliver the most value.

GitHub, a web-based hosting service for software development projects, is a prime example of this. The company, which functions as a social network, portfolio space and co-working space, started as a weekend project funded entirely by its three founders. As the project began to take off, programmers began requesting additional features to project their data, and the founders knew it was time to make the project a full-time job. The team began releasing new products tailored to accommodate customer requests and the business skyrocketed to success, currently serving 50 million developers worldwide.

Related: Are You Sitting on a Customer Retention Goldmine?

2. Developing a sustainable business model

Finding a problem and then developing a solution are foundational to successfully growing a bootstrapped company. Developing a business model that solves core problems serves a gap in the market and provides real value to customers, allowing businesses to quickly start selling services or products to establish and sustain cash flow.

Building a bootstrapped business allows for flexibility that a company backed by outside investors may not have, namely slowly and quietly growing to develop paying customers that offset the business costs rather than facing the expectation to prove high growth from the get-go to boost investor trust.

Different markets have different challenges, of course, but common among bootstrapped businesses is the desire to fill a market need and solve for its pain points. 

3. Practicing transparency

Customers are the only metric that counts for bootstrapped companies. In order to attract and retain customers, a company must make transparency part of its DNA. In a digital world where consumers have easy access to company information and reviews, customers expect and demand transparency from businesses. Business buyers want openness and honesty along their entire buying journey. A 2019 report by Marketo and Adobe on Creating Epic Customer Experiences found that 78 percent of business buyer survey respondents cited brand transparency as a top purchasing driver.

Business transparency is a game changer that can fuel business growth. Companies that practice transparency build strong, positive relationships that increase long-term customer loyalty, which in turn generates ROI in the form of profits and long-term sustainability.

Related: How Transparency Became a Top Priority for Businesses, and Why You Should Care

4. Growing through acquisition

Bootstrapped companies can also set themselves up to grow through impactful and strategic acquisitions. One of these growth strategies is horizontal acquisition, which involves buying a competing company to increase market share and/or scalability and accelerate company growth. When a company acquires a competing company, it gives them the ability to tap into existing elements such as key executives, proprietary technology and customer databases.

Building for the long term

The willingness and patience to grow at a smaller scale initially allows you to have the freedom to build up a company culture without outside pressure, while simultaneously retaining 100 percent ownership of your company and future vision. With the bootstrapping approach, founders call the shots on operating and growing the company.

While growing a bootstrapped company involves a lot of moving parts, a focus on prioritizing customer acquisition and retention, developing a sustainable business model, building transparency into the company’s DNA  and strategically expanding the company’s footprint and offerings can drive company growth and long-term sustainability.

By: Austin Mac Nab / Entrepreneur Leadership Network Writer

Starting a business is hard enough. The last thing you need to do is set up a foundation that works against you. A better approach is to take stock of your natural advantages, disadvantages, goals and needs, and “back in” to what that has to mean about your business model, pricing, market, product, approach, advertising, etc… Presented by Jason Cohen at MicroConf 2013. Check out Jason’s MicroConf speakers page for more talks → https://microconf.com/speakers/jason-…https://microconf.com#microconf#microconf2013 MicroConf Connect → http://microconfconnect.com Twitter → https://twitter.com/MicroConf E-mail → support@microconf.com MicroConf 2020 Headline Partners ► Stripe https://stripe.com Twitter → https://twitter.com/Stripe ► Basecamp https://basecamp.com Twitter → https://twitter.com/Basecamp

6 Steps to Starting a Business Successfully During the Worst of Times

Starting a Business

10 Mistakes People Make When Starting a Digital Marketing Agency

INTRUSION

This New Service Makes Government-Level Cybersecurity Available to Entrepreneurs

By INTRUSION Starting a Business

5 Honest Truths About Starting A Business

US Bank

The Difference Between Savings, Money Market, and Business CD Accounts

Advertisement

2 Vital Things You Need to Do to Protect Your Business

As the Covid-19 lockdowns went into effect, I immediately started receiving calls, text messages, and emails from clients, friends, and family members worldwide. 

The texts included questions, fears, and a consistent theme of not knowing how their business would survive the lockdown. They were stuck trying to figure out how they would pay their team, pay their vendors, and pay the rent with the business shut down. 

Many small businesses in the US have already closed permanently, with an estimated 55% of businesses closed since March predicted not to reopen again. 

Related: 4 Ways Brands Can Be Activists for School Safety Right Now

I sat down with my team and spent a few days brainstorming some actions business owners could take to give them the ability first to survive the lockdown and second rebuild a more substantial business than they had before all the chaos started. 

1. Protect your operating cash

To make this easy to understand and relatable, let us look at how humans handle a lack of resources. Humans can survive 30 days without food, 3-4 days without water, but only 3-5 minutes without oxygen. 

Operating cash is oxygen in your business. When you run out of operating cash your business chokes to death very quickly, if you want to keep your business healthy and alive, you need to make sure you protect your operating cash.

We use a very easy to understand exercise that can help you discover considerable savings in just a few hours. Since the global lockdown started, we have been teaching this to business owners worldwide, and we were able to help:

  •  A gym owner in Texas save $5,400 per month from their P&L (roughly $60,000 for the year)
  • A business consultant in Toronto saved $3,000 per month from her business expenses (approximately $36,000 for the year)
  • A midmarket firm in Amsterdam was able to save €300,000 from their expenses 

Our team named it the stoplight exercise. Imagine a stoplight in the United States; it consists of red, yellow, and green colors. Red means stop; Yellow means slow or caution. Green means go. 

Related: 4 Ways 2020 Has Changed Company Culture Forever

Part 1 is to print out your itemized P&L or your credit card receipts for your business. 

Part 2 is to comb through all of the expenses and color, each with red, yellow, or green. Red is for any expenses that you need to cut out immediately, yellow is for the expenses that you might need to keep or might need to cut out if your business starts to slow down. Green is the expense you must maintain for your business to stay alive. 

Part 3 is to eliminate the expenses in red immediately. Put a plan together for the expenses in yellow (the question below can help), and you will keep the expenses in green since they are necessary for your business to stay alive. 

Question: What specific results do we need to maintain or achieve to keep the yellow expenses? If we drop below these results, we will need to eliminate these expenses immediately. 

2. Protect your core clients

A core client is a client that you do business with regularly and consistently. They depend on your product or service to meet their own needs, and your business depends on their business to keep the door open. 

According to Harvard Business Review, Acquiring a new customer costs 5–25 times more than keeping an existing customer. And in  Salesforce’s annual State of Sales Report, it reveals 79% of business buyers agree, it’s easier than ever to take my business elsewhere. 

Related: 6 Keys for Getting Temporarily Remote Teams Back Together

A few years ago, I was working closely with one of my favorite business mentors Keith Cunningham. He proposed a question that reshaped the way I think of working with my core clients. 

He asked, “What would you have to offer your core clients so that it would be INSANE for them ever to consider going anywhere else for this type of product or service?” 

To figure this out, we must take time to get to know our core clients’ needs, wants, and desires.

A need is something that we cannot live without. If this need were not to be met, the business relationship would end immediately. 

A want is something that we can certainly live without, but we might not want to. An example of this would be the fact we need a safe place to live, but most of us want a ______ (lake house, fancy home, one with a great view, etc.) place to live. 

A desire, these are the things that call to us as we drive around town or flip through a magazine, but we could never actually justify investing the capital in getting. 

Take time to sit with your core clients and learn about their needs, wants, and desires. Once you have done your research answer these two questions:

  1. What would you need to offer to your clients that would make it insane for them ever to consider going anywhere else? 
  2. What would you need to provide to your clients to make it insane for them ever to consider stopping working with you?

By: Jairek Robbins / Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

A LIVE Broadcast with Q&A on how to protect your company secrets and clients lists. SIGN UP for my weekly newsletter to download my FREE E-book “The 10 Best Tax-Saving Secrets Everyone Should Know” and schedule a FREE 15 Minute Interview with an Attorney or CPA from my team! http://markjkohler.com/youtube Also, make sure to subscribe and hit that bell icon so you get a notification every time I post a video, go live, or post an awesome tax or legal tip! For the Estate Plan Special Visit: https://kkoslawyers.com/estate-planni… Check out my Law Firm KKOS Lawyers at http://www.kkoslawyers.com Visit my Accounting Firm K&E CPAs at: http://www.ke-cpas.com Check out my personal website with all my products at: http://www.Markjkohler.com

4 Ways Companies Can Foster a Culture of Giving Back

Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox

It goes without saying that 2020 has been a pretty rough year in a lot of ways. The global economy took a significant gut-punch with an unprecedented level of unemployment, and news broadcasts highlighted record numbers of people turning to food banks for support. Maybe you know somebody who has lost their job this year, or maybe you’ve found yourself in that unfortunate boat. 

If that’s not the case, count yourself lucky, and do what you can to put a little bit more good out into the world. The holiday season — and specifically December — accounts for 30 percent of annual giving, but building a company culture where giving back is a year-round occurrence has numerous benefits. For starters, it just feels good to make a positive difference and that positivity trickles down through employees.

Companies that regularly participate in philanthropic causes report happier employees. As you may very well already know, happier employees make for more productive employees (13 percent more productive to be exact) and overall, a more productive and successful business

Giving back is good for your brand — plain and simple

Besides the impact of helping others — the most important reason to give — and overall happier employees, businesses that embrace the philanthropic spirit are regarded in a higher value by consumers. As former St. Louis Rams player Torry Holt points out, regarding the NFL’s relationship with United Way, “the act of giving back evokes emotion and fosters an authentic connection.” It’s that sort of relationship that today’s consumers take notice of in a business. According to a 2016 survey, the majority of millennials prefer companies that actively give to charity

Related: 4 Ways Your Company Benefits From Giving Back

When a company aligns itself with charitable causes it’s not just benefiting the direct recipients of that giving, but its employees, and customers. So now that we’ve touched upon the benefits of creating a culture of giving within a business, how can leaders go about actually weaving it into their company? 

1. Volunteer days

Encouraging a spirit of giving in your employees shouldn’t be difficult and there’s a good chance many of them already have causes that they’re passionate about. One of the best ways to fuel team members’ passions for these causes is through a day — or even week — of volunteering. The concept is simple and incredibly effective: a business sets aside a certain number of days where employees are given time to volunteer with the charity of their choice. 

Some companies may simply allow employees to pick any organization to work with, while others may offer a selection of charities or nonprofits for employees to choose from. Team leaders may also choose to go with a majority rule and have employees vote on which charities the company wants to align itself with for volunteer work. Building volunteer days into a business not only builds camaraderie between employees but foster relationships within the community. 

2. Lend your resources

Another big way that companies can make a positive impact in their communities is by taking the pro-bono route and lending their resources free of charge. If your business has some extra space that’s not being used on the weekends or at night, consider reaching out to a nonprofit and offering it. 

Related: Here Are Legitimate Fundraisers Helping Damaged and Destroyed Small Businesses

One of the most beneficial ways that a company can offer its resources is through the knowledge of its employees. Whether it’s by offering a company’s time through a mentorship program (such as graphic design) or through a pro-bono service (such as legal advice or tax preparation, for instance) for those less fortunate, these acts of charitable giving can build meaningful relationships and have a dramatic impact on the lives of others.  

3. Get your customers involved

We’ve already touched on the fact that consumers view charitable companies in a more positive light, so why not get those customers involved in the giving? It’s easy for a company to simply write a check and hand it over to a charity, but it’s more inclusive if they bring their customers into the act. Company matching programs are a fantastic way of doing this and with the right structure, can be a robust way of generating substantial fundraising.  

Another way to go about involving your customers is by encouraging recurring donations to a nonprofit. Applications like Donorbox or GoFundMe make it incredibly easy for businesses to incorporate giving into their existing website. Giving incentives that include the consumer not only can provide much needed financial support, but build a stronger connection between a business and its customer base.

4. Become an event sponsor

Sponsoring a charitable event in the community is another way businesses can both lend their support and weave a spirit of philanthropy into the existing company culture. There are endless ways a company can choose to go about sponsoring a community event. Simply making a financial contribution is probably the most common — and oftentimes the most needed — but even with that, there are options: raffles, silent auctions, etc.

Many times charitable events will also need volunteers or a place to host an event, so again, there are a variety of paths a business can choose to go down when it comes to sponsoring an event. Whether it’s financially, or through its resources, when a company aligns itself with a charitable event, it’s showing a level of commitment to the community it serves. 

Related: 3 Ways to Give Back That Don’t Require a Financial Investment

Business leaders should look at giving back as an investment and apply a similar ROI strategy when choosing how to give,  just as they would any business decision. Building a culture of giving within your business shouldn’t be complicated and incorporating several different strategies is going to yield the best results — both externally and internally.

Chris Porteous

By: Chris Porteous Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor / High Performance Growth Marketer

More from Entrepreneur

Sign up now to Entrepreneur Press: Book of the Week

Get heaping discounts to books you love delivered straight to your inbox. We’ll feature a different book each week and share exclusive deals you won’t find anywhere else. Sign Up Now

Jumpstart Your Business with Entrepreneur Insider

Jumpstart Your Business. Entrepreneur Insider is your all-access pass to the skills, experts, and network you need to get your business off the ground—or take it to the next level. Join Now

Go to Biz Planning Plus

How Bryan Janeczko and Kuda Biza Became a Dynamic Startup Duo Combating Food Insecurity One Cookie at a Time

social good

5 Ways to Profit With a Purpose

Charity

10 Wealthy Entrepreneurs Who Give the Most to Charity

Facebook

Facebook Is Going to Start Handing Out Employee Bonuses If They Help the Company Achieve ‘Social Good’

Lifestyle

61 Books Elon Musk Thinks You Should Read

How to Boost Sales When Consumers are Spending Less

1

Know me before selling me; that’s what Americans expect from sales reps. In a , it’s critical to align with customer preferences to avoid losing sales to rivals. Competition is stiff, as people have less disposable incomes. A 2018 study by the Federal Reserve found that 40 percent of Americans can’t come up with $400 to pay for an emergency. And that’s before 40 million people were out of work virtually overnight.

Here are tips to increase sales, even when the is in flux.

A must do whatever it takes to serve customers well

Buyers are weary. They’ve been locked down, and many have to fight for jobs before unemployment benefits run out. Not to mention 27 million have recently lost employer-based health insurance, according to Kaiser Family Foundation. Post-pandemic consumers, therefore, are thrifty and budget-conscious.

Salesy employees seem indifferent to customer needs. Businesses must encourage reps to truly listen to what customers want, even if they don’t articulate their needs and desires clearly. A helpful salesman should read between the lines and notice what isn’t being said. Moreover, he should act more like a product consultant than a commission-chasing machine.

“Our startup scaled significantly in our third year when we excelled at customizing apparel and giving customers a very personalized service,” says Michael Nemeroff, CEO of Rush Order Tees. The Philadelphia-based ecommerce brand grew from $30,000 a month in sales to $200,000 a month during that transition period.

Nemeroff credits his company’s extreme growth to streamlining of processes, expanding Rush Order Tees’ customer base and catering to orders of all sizes. “The real key was doing whatever it took to deliver any size order with any design for clients on extremely short deadlines,” he adds. “We earned a great reputation, and we have now reached a point where more than 40 percent of revenue is reorder business.”

Think long-term value

Any entrepreneur would pick recurring revenue over one-off transactions. So why should sales mentality be any different? A 2019 survey by Gartner found that millennials are generally skeptical of sales reps.

One sales expert believes that current events can be leveraged to create favorable impressions with prospective buyers. “Design your pitch to take advantage of everything that’s currently going on,” advises Temple Naylor, an influencer in high-ticket sales, in a recent call. “The recession can be utilized to help design the pitch. Do research and create data points that inform your pitch because prospects will be inclined to trust you as an authority.”

Trustworthiness and accurate product information are extremely important in the purchase decision. In other words, prospects are more likely to purchase from a rep with a solid reputation. “Everyone is scrambled in fear because of the downturn,” says Naylor. “So get your facts and data from very credible sources such as new studies from global consulting firms or large universities. It’s hard for prospects to argue with great information.”

Skepticism of a salesperson’s claims reduces a customer’s chance of buying by half, according to a 2020 survey by Gartner. There’s real risk of losing a customer by being inauthentic. They won’t feel special and appreciated, and lack of customer loyalty means they can easily switch over to a competitor.

Therefore agents, shopkeepers and anyone else who rings the cash register must earn trust by helping customers find what they need. Aside from getting word-of-mouth business, influencers may promote your brand on social media after you establish a solid reputation for helping customers. The sales commission should be a byproduct of great service rendered, not the goal in itself.

Be persistent with contacts

Finally, there’s nothing like good old follow-up. Prospects don’t buy at the present time for many reasons, even though they’re interested in a good or service. They may currently be busy, lack time, need a boss’s approval, lack money or have other priorities. However, a good salesperson will reconnect with a prospect when the timing is right and secure the transaction.

Only 2 percent of sales occur at a first meeting, according to Marketing Donut, a sales-resource website. And prospects say “no” four times before buying a product or service. Persistence matters. Many rejections are soft rebuffs — they don’t really mean it. And many are presently unsure of what they want until they see more information. A “no” often brings you one step closer to “yes,” especially for would-be customers who are teetering on the edge of purchasing.

“Have an emotionally intelligent dialogue and not a sales script,” suggests Naylor. “Talk like a normal human. You don’t have to be perfectly polished. Instead, lead people through self-doubt and resistance at the end of an offer.”

To underscore his point, according to HubSpot research, buyers want reps to listen to needs (69 percent); to not be pushy (61 percent); and to provide relevant information (61 percent). Is your staff properly trained and inspired to sell in the new economy?

Tom Popomaronis

By:

Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com

GM-980x120-BIT-ENG-Banner

The Joy of Failure : Can Closing a Business Be a Good Thing

1

Last month I did something I’ve never done before, I closed a company. The company in question was Old Friends Brewery, a craft beer microbrewery that I ran with (you’ve guessed it) an old friend, Tim.

The whole thing began four years ago and started as a conversation over Sunday lunch. We were enjoying a couple of craft beers and talking about the (then) lack of any interesting breweries in our home town, Cambridge.

Things escalated a little, and we started to think about whether we could make beer. One week later, and having spent a few hundred pounds, we embarked on our first brew. It tasted awful, we made a lot of mistakes, but curiosities had been piqued. Research began (lots of essential taste testing of other beers), we started to put together mood boards for what the brand would look and feel like, and the name was coined. Old Friends Brewery: ‘From a friendship based on beer to a beer based on friendship’ – a tagline I’m still unashamedly proud of.

At this point, things started to get serious, we registered a limited company. We approached some friends who run a local design agency (The District) and offered them the chance to become minority shareholders – in exchange for their branding and design expertise. Everyone was excited! Suddenly we had a brand identity, a website, and Instagram account that had announced to the world that our beer was coming soon – time to learn to brew!

What followed was a rollercoaster four years of ups and downs, learning and failing, trial and error – cutting to the highlights we had some real successes. Although consistency was an issue, when our beer was good, it was delicious. We gained a lot of momentum locally and started selling to an array of restaurants, off licences and hotels in the city. Some of our favourite bars started selling our beer; it was such a buzz. I remember going out on my birthday and overhearing someone at the bar ordering our pale ale; it made my night! We upgraded our kit on three occasions, and by the end, we had a 100-litre system. A big enough setup to become a fully-fledged, full-time micro-brewery.

On the flip side, we had some low points. An ill-fated canning run saw us pouring away a lot of spoiled beer and losing a lot of money. In an industry where margins are tiny, incidents like this can hurt you. The biggest issue, though, and the one resource that is finite to all of us, was our time. There’s no getting away from how time-consuming brewing is. From start to finish a brew is at least a seven to eight-hour process. Although there are times during that process when you can be failure-passive, you still have to be attentive and present.

So, when you throw in day jobs, school pick-ups and everyday family life that becomes a significant time drain. For this reason, we got into a pattern of brewing in the evening and on into the night. There were times when we were stood outside on a January morning at 2am with soaking wet feet, when we questioned what we were doing. We were burning the candle at both ends.

So reluctantly we took the decision earlier this year to close the business, sell our equipment and hang up our mash paddle for good. Since doing so, I’ve thought a lot about what the experience taught me, and the answer is quite a lot.

First and foremost, I can confirm the adage is true; success teaches you nothing. I’ve been running Handsome Frank for almost ten years now, and we’re fortunate in that it has always worked. Virtually from day one, the business began to grow, and although we’ve put a tremendous amount of time and energy into it being a success, getting things right and succeeding didn’t teach me anything.

As soon as I started running a craft beer business, my eyes were opened. I realized why Handsome Frank worked and how the structure of that business was much healthier. With beer, you have to think about physical products, storage, ingredients, shelf life, technical processes, none of the things are part of being an illustration agency. I realised what we’d done right and the advantage of the way we’d structured Handsome Frank.

With brewing, making something physical (and with love) and sending it out into the world was one of the things I enjoyed most about the experience. With Handsome Frank, even though the work is sometimes printed, or installed, we’re dealing with digital files on a day to day basis. I liked the feeling of making something tangible that could be experienced and consumed by people. When people liked our beer, and they told us so, it felt amazing. The flipside to that was when the feedback wasn’t positive.

Feedback and how to handle it is a massive part of being an illustration agent, but it’s not something I take personally, because after all, it’s not directly a comment on my work. In the beer world, feedback comes via several apps and online communities. The beer community has an unquenchable thirst for new brews, and they’re very keen to give their verdict on your efforts.

The most popular community is the Untappd platform, a service that allows drinkers to record and rate the drinks they’ve tried and, like any corner of the internet which invites review and scores, it can be brutal. Old Friends Milk Stout has a very respectable average rating of 3.77 out of 5, and I’m happy to report a few five-star reviews.

Our beers weren’t to everyone’s taste, and we received some savage reviews. “Drain pour” was one particularly damning verdict. Suddenly I gained a new-found empathy for our illustrators. There you are, pouring your heart and soul into something creative and sending it out into the world only to get criticism and negative comments. It can be hard to take, and you need to have thick skin. It’s made much more sensitive to how an artist feels when their work is critiqued, and I’m more mindful of the language that should be used when giving feedback.

Without a doubt, one of the best things about this experience was the chance to connect with people locally. Cambridge has a vibrant food and drink scene these days, and the opportunity to meet and work with other small business owners was fantastic.

With Handsome Frank, our clients are all over the world and on many occasions, I never meet the person behind the emails. It was so good to work with people who you can meet face to face, bump into on the street or grab a quick coffee with. I felt like it reconnected me with where I live, my community and that’s something that I want to take forward in future. It’s so easy for a business owner to sit behind a laptop and not connect with real people these days.

I guess the final things that I learned from all of this is that hobbies don’t need to become businesses. If you’re an entrepreneurial type of person (sorry I hate the word, too), there’s always that temptation to take something you enjoy and monetise it.

In this instance, though, I think that was a mistake. By taking something you love and turning it into a business, some of the joy is lost, and the pressures of everyday life come into a world which should be fun and free. I plan to brew beer again one day, hopefully with my old friend Tim, but next time, it’ll just be for fun. And if we fail to make anything nice, we’ll have fun failing.

By:

GM-980x120-BIT-ENG-Banner

Сегодня мы продолжим экскурсию по частной мини-пивоварне OLD FRIENDS BREWERY в Красноярске.
С первой частью вы можете ознакомиться здесь: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQwZR…
Инстаграмм пивоварни: https://www.instagram.com/old_friends… _______________________________________________-
Наш сайт: https://kraspivo.ru
Группа Вконтакте: https://vk.com/kraspivo

5 Ways Family Businesses Can Adapt To Covid-19

1

There are “unique challenges with a family business, particularly when it comes to making tough decisions in difficult times,” a friend of mine who runs a leisure and hospitality business with her siblings, wrote me this week.

I had sent her a note asking how things were going since the coronavirus shuttered the doors on a myriad of enterprises and I knew her industry was particularly slammed. She thanked me and said the question was a little “close to the bone.” But, she added, “Having a strong brand identity established by our parents has frankly been a beacon of light and inspiration during a very dark period.”

I decided not to press her about what the company has been faced with, knowing that the situation is very personal for family business owners. The repercussions of making tough professional decisions can have a lasting impact on family relationships. (For more on this and other advice for family business owners, check out Familybusiness.org, from the University of St. Thomas’ EIX, Entrepreneur & Innovation Exchange; full disclosure: EIX and the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation are Next Avenue funders.)

“There is always this pressure in a family business to not be the one to screw it up.”

“This crisis is forcing family businesses to make trade-offs among objectives that would have previously been unimaginable — all while dealing with the complex dynamics of a family,” wrote Josh Baron (a partner and co-founder of BanyanGlobal Family Business Advisors) and Ben Francois (a principal there) in their Harvard Business Review article, A Crisis Playbook for Family Businesses. “But family businesses differ from other companies in that their form of ownership gives them the ability to take critical actions that could help them through these difficult times.”

A recent BanyanGlobal survey of family businesses found that 82% had seen a negative impact on their business from the Covid-19 pandemic at and about half of those said the impact has been significant.

(Read all of Next Avenue’s Covid-19 coverage geared toward keeping older generations informed, safe and prepared.)

During crisis times for family businesses, “family members tend to come together and do whatever it takes to promote the family’s health and prosperity,” says Kimberly A. Eddleston, a professor of entrepreneurship and innovation at Northeastern University and a senior editor on the EIX Editorial Board. “Opportunities for a family to come together and work towards a common purpose make the family stronger.”

The Advantage Family Business Owners Have

And that’s a distinct advantage that other entrepreneurs don’t have.

“Being a family business can be a real strength, because they can rely on family members to chip in where needed,” according to Eddleston. To harness the lessons of this crisis, Eddleston is gathering information through a survey of family business owners.

For more about how the pandemic is affecting family business owners and how these entrepreneurs can best adapt to it, I interviewed BanyanGlobal’s Josh Baron. Highlights:

Kerry Hannon: How do things look out there for family business owners?

Josh Baron: Most family businesses are stressed and filled with anxiety.

There is always this pressure in a family business to not be the one to screw it up. If you are the one running the business, you are feeling that pressure in a time when, through no fault of your own, it could go away.

What surprised you about your survey’s findings about family business owners and Covid-19?

You see examples of businesses with revenues dropping fifty percent or ninety percent. No one builds a plan with revenue going away to such an extent overnight.

How has the pandemic impacted family relations at family businesses?

Our survey shows a split between those reactions: twenty-nine percent have seen some negative impact on family relationships, while twenty-six percent have seen a positive impact (the rest have seen no change).

It’s understandable for those having negative reactions, because this is a stressful moment. If the decisions you are having to make are about laying people off and cutting salaries and cutting dividends, stopping projects — these have a real emotional impact.

But we also saw that this is a moment when members of family businesses come together, a rally around the flag effect, where it’s a sense of let’s put aside our differences and focus on saving the business.

How does having a mission or purpose help?

This does offer that kind of opportunity as a silver lining. We are seeing a lot of families coming together around the need to save the business, to save the employees, rescue as many careers as they can, to continue this legacy as something they really value and to come out the other side as strong as possible.

If you have a sense of purpose and here’s this mountain that we are trying to climb, here’s what we are trying to accomplish together, it helps you deal with all of the daily challenges, issues and stresses that come with working together as a family.

If you have something you value in the business beyond the financial results — maybe it is the impact on your community — you can create something that motivates and brings people together.

The Opportunity Offered by the Pandemic

Why is this an opportune time for family business owners to have conversations with other family members in the company that may have been pushed aside in the good times?

A real advantage of a family business is you are naturally thinking ahead.

‘I really want this business to last beyond me for the next generations, for my children and my grandchildren.’ That can be a very motivating effect.

Why are family businesses well-positioned to survive this business shock?

As a general rule, family business owners are making decisions not on ways that rely on results this quarter or maybe next year, but in being able to make investments that might not pay off for a year or two or even longer.

That generational approach and mindset can be really valuable in a time like this.

Unlike public companies, which typically focus on maximizing shareholder value, family owners value objectives that usually go well beyond financial returns — such as family legacy and reputation.

This period is an example of that ability to think over the long-term and realize that this year is going to be tough. We have to tighten our belts, cut our costs, cut our dividends, cut our salaries, but it will pay off in the long term.

We have also found that family businesses are able to make big decisions very quickly. That nimbleness is proving to be a real asset now.

How has Covid-19 helped get family members more involved in the businesses?

It is creating a fertile ground for bringing people into discussions that might otherwise not have been asked to participate.

For those who have been around twenty years and have been through other crisis points, they look at this as an opportunity to bring the next generation into the conversation and explain to them: ‘We made it through previous ones, here’s what you can learn.’

What are the obstacles in navigating Covid-19 that a family business might face?

When things go bad for a family business, it is not just in a professional sense, but in a personal sense. It intermingles and spreads over and there are no boundaries.

It can be very stressful. The business is on the line, careers are on the line. It can spiral out of control.

You need to press the pause button. Go back to the question: Why are we doing this? Hopefully, turn the moment into a positive way of improving relationships.

But the pandemic has the potential of making things a lot worse. It puts things on the table you never would have had to worry about, like that brother or cousin who is making a lot of money and not really doing anything. You might have looked at that as a cost of doing business. Now you aren’t able to afford that. Now, you have to deal with them in an environment when people are feeling really tense.

5 Tips for Family Business Owners During Covid-19

What are your five key pieces of advice for family business owners now?

Number one: focus on innovation. Don’t waste this opportunity to have a hard look at the way things are working. One retail firm we have worked with has always talked about having a more direct to consumer approach, but never gotten their eyes to focus on it. By necessity, a lot of the retail stores they have sold through have been closed, so they have had to focus on it.

Number two: start thinking about what your company will look like after this. How do we keep things going right now but put more energy on when we come out of this?

Number three: preserve cash. Cash is never more important than when you are in a crisis. Make sure you are taking steps you can to strengthen the balance sheet, so you can navigate through what is to come.

Around sixty percent of our survey respondents say they have reduced or shifted operating expenses to preserve cash.

Number four: live your values. Who you are as a company, and as people, comes out in the decisions you make in a crisis. As a family business, you want to make sure that you anchor yourself in that conversation of who you are as a family and what are the values we bring to this business?

Make sure the decisions you are making, if possible, are really reflective of those values.

I see in the families we are working with that they are making choices to keep employees or being generous in severance or helping employees find other jobs or repurposing them to other positions within the company rather than lay them off. It’s a more human approach.

Investing in people and communities is so much a part of who they are.

And number five: Communication is the most important part of making a family business work. Trusted relationships are one of the most valuable assets of a family business. In the absence of communication, people will draw their own conclusions — which are often negative.

A dialogue gives people a chance to share concerns and ask questions. It’s amazing how many family businesses that didn’t have any sort of platform like Zoom or Microsoft Teams became very adept at using it, due to necessity. Across the board, the comfort level has gone up and opened up communication better than before.

This will be a beneficial leftover of this crisis. Some of the comments we received from those participating in our survey include: ‘Covid-19 has brought us closer together for the time being, and we have put aside differences.’ And ‘We have seen greater family unity, with more concern for each other.’

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

Next Avenue is public media’s first and only national journalism service for America’s booming older population. Our daily content delivers vital ideas, context and perspectives on issues that matter most as we age.

Source: https://www.forbes.com

728x90

On this episode of The Family Business Voice, Alfredo De Massis and Farida F El Agamy speak with Ramia about the global pandemic and its unprecedented impact on family enterprises around the world. Alfredo De Massis, Professor of Entrepreneurship & Family Business, Free University of Bolzano in Italy, and Lancaster University Management School UK, is an organisation and management scientist who specialises in family enterprise. Based in Italy, Alfredo is at the epicentre of the outbreak currently.
Subscribe to the channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXYS…

$900 Million Wealth Advisor Is Top Choice For Wealthy Asian Immigrants

1

The Los Angeles area is home to the third largest Chinese population in the U.S. behind New York and the San Francisco Bay Area, and it’s the perfect place for Sean Yu’s $900 million business.

Yu, 42, is managing director of The Sean Yu Group at Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management where he oversees money for first-generation immigrants from China and Taiwan. Yu, who immigrated to the U.S. from Taiwan at the age of 12, says many of his clients are doctors living the American dream, and looking for ways to grow and maintain their wealth.

That particular segment of clients helped grow his business when he first launched it in 2003. More recently, he’s added clients from a new wave of immigrants who, unlike his early clients, are arriving to the U.S. with loads of money ready to be invested. Yu says they are typically Chinese nationals looking to access U.S. markets to help diversify their portfolios.

For the full list of Forbes‘ Best In-State Wealth Advisors and more, click here.

Managing money for international clients can be tricky. “Immigrants to this country are more used to brokerage-style advice from Singapore or Hong Kong” that tends to be more transactional, he says. “I tell them we are more like an endowment, looking at asset allocation and risk among varied factors,” Yu adds.

Wealthy clients often have high expectations from their financial advisors, and investors from China are accustom to big returns. Yu makes sure these clients know what they’re getting into as he aims to create a long-term relationship. “It is much harder to make money here, compared to in China, so in addition to focusing on that, I talk to clients a lot about adding community value with their money through a donor advised fund or similar type of vehicle. If they want to stay here for the long run, I want to help them make sure they know what is important to them and what isn’t.”

https://i0.wp.com/www.genesis-mining.com/files/banner/970x90/GM-970x90-BIT-ENG-Banner.gif?resize=777%2C72&ssl=1

It seems to be working. Yu estimates his average client, typically worth $30 to $50 million, gives him roughly $10 million to invest and manage. The firm, ten employees including Yu, works with 100 households and new clients are required to have at least $5 million in assets to join.

Yu relies on two investment advisors to help with retirement and other financial planning aspects of the business while he focuses primarily on client portfolios. Yu says his current asset allocation mix is 60% in bonds and 40% in stocks. Yu plans to allocate more assets towards private equity through trusts which he hopes will benefit his next generation of clients: the children and grandchildren of existing clients.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Send me a secure tip.

I’m a wealth management staff writer at Forbes based in New York. Prior to joining Forbes, I was on the same beat for Private Asset Management. I also covered public policy and compliance for compliance reporter and the auto industry for the New York Daily News. A lifelong New Yorker, I got my M.A. from the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York. Email thoughts and tips to JBisnoff@Forbes.com. Follow me on Twitter at @JBisnoff.

Source:https://www.forbes.com/sites/jasonbisnoff/2020/02/10/900-million-wealth-advisor-is-top-choice-for-wealthy-asian-immigrants

 

Subscribe to France 24 now : http://f24.my/youtubeEN FRANCE 24 live news stream: all the latest news 24/7 http://f24.my/YTliveEN Visit our website : http://www.france24.com Subscribe to our YouTube channel : http://f24.my/youtubeEN Like us on Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/FRANCE24.Eng… Follow us on Twitter : https://twitter.com/France24_en\

3

 

 

 

5 Ways You Can Recession-Proof Your Business That Go Beyond Simply Saving Money

The economic outlook at any point in time can cause confusion. Is the market bullish or bearish? What if Wall Street is happy but wages aren’t keeping pace and thus customers are tightening their belts?

One thing we can say for sure is that traditional markers of economic growth and stability show the U.S. economy is improving. Hiring is up, and unemployment is down. California just posted it’s lowest unemployment numbers in more than four decades. However, there are always doubts about the economy when debt is high and many people have little extra spending money.

What are some unconventional but beneficial moves for small businesses to make in this economic climate, then? Here are a few options.

Invest in upgrades now, not later.

Typical posts about recession-proofing your business would have you save up and hunker down for the inevitable economic downturn. While saving up is always a good thing, sometimes the best strategy to meet economic uncertainty is to grow before it arrives. Growth requires facilities sufficient to sustain increased demand. Consequently, now’s a great time for your business to invest in better equipment and facility upgrades.

Make sure you line up funding before you begin a facility overhaul or equipment buying spree, however. Start shopping around now for the best funding options. Explore bank loans, lines of credit, or other kinds of financing from different sources so you can find the most competitive terms available to you.

The types of financing available to small-business owners are increasing these days. Financial and risk-management technologies are making the extension of business credit in the form of loans or revolving lines of credit more attractive for lenders. That means you’ll have an easier time securing financing now than, say, later on, if the economy takes a turn for the worse.

Add mobile payment options.

How easy do you make it for your customers to make purchases? According to a recent Bank of America report, 46 percent of small businesses were equipped to take digital payments in 2018, a substantial increase from 36 percent in 2017.

Expanding your customer base and making it easier for those customers to make purchases is one of the soundest investments you can make in your business. Leaning into digital payment technology isn’t something that’s usually at the top of the list for most companies when times are lean. With a healthier economy right now, make sure you’re keeping up with the technological times and helping your mobile customers give you their business.

Attract top talent.

If you want your business to dominate your industry or even just a slice of it, you’ll need the best possible people on your team. Figure out ways to court the best workers in their fields for open positions.

A key strategy for accomplishing this goal is to examine what your industry leaders do. What kind of compensation packages are they offering? Where do they recruit? Do they offer college internships, and are they paid or unpaid? Adopt and adapt their tactics to suit your own business.

Plan to expand.

The crash of 2008 put a lot of business plans on hold. While the economy has certainly improved, that sense of pressure and crisis is hard to shake off. And many companies have shied away from significant investments.

Therefore, an unconventional tactic may be to dust off those expansion plans. Be careful, though. Evaluate your revenue and cash-flow projections to make sure your future earnings warrant such a move. If so, then proceed with those plans if the expansion still makes sense for your business. However, remember that goals you set years ago may not necessarily fit your business today.

Attack your debt, and build up reserves.

Pay down both personal and business debt where you can. High levels of credit card debt can rack up thousands, especially with interest rates in the double digits. If you have college student loans, pay those down as well.

Also, aggressively add more to personal savings and build up cash reserves for your business. Extra cash on hand will come in handy during a downturn.

Get a professional opinion and advice about other smart money moves. Hiring a personal or business financial planner is a savvy investment. In addition, expand your own knowledge in other ways. Read books on the economy and financial planning, take a course at your local college or online, and spend more time keeping up with financial developments through news sites and financial blogs.

Finally, set realistic yet challenging financial goals, both for yourself and your business. Goals that feel like a bit of a stretch are usually the ones that keep us fired up and motivated. Write down your goals and then figure out how you can achieve them within a realistic time frame.

By John Boitnott Journalist and digital consultant

Source: 5 Ways You Can Recession-Proof Your Business That Go Beyond Simply Saving Money | Inc.com

2.14M subscribers
How Do You Get Started In Sales And Business? With The Right Mindset. Click Here To Get Dan’s Book, F.U. Money For Free: http://improvesalesandbusiness.danlok… How do you improve your sales process and increase business? In this video, Dan Lok reveals some of the most important methods to making more money, getting more leads, and scaling your business. Watch this video now to discover how to improve your sales process and increase business. 👇 SUBSCRIBE TO DAN’S YOUTUBE CHANNEL NOW 👇 https://www.youtube.com/danlok?sub_co… Check out these Top Trending Playlists – 1.) Boss In The Bentley: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list… 2.) Sales Tips That Get People To Buy – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6Csz… 3.) Dan Lok’s Best Secrets – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZNmF… Dan Lok is a Chinese-Canadian business magnate and global educator. Mr. Lok is leading a global education movement spanning across 120+ countries where Mr. Lok has taught millions of men and women to develop high income skills, unlock true financial confidence and master their financial destinies. Beyond his success in business, Mr. Lok was also a two times TEDx opening speaker. An international best-selling author of over a dozen books. And the host of The Dan Lok Show – a series featuring billionaire tycoons and millionaire entrepreneurs. Today, Mr. Lok continues to be featured in hundreds of media channels and publications every year and is widely seen as one of the top business leaders by millions around the world. ★☆★ CONNECT WITH DAN ON SOCIAL MEDIA ★☆★ Podcast: http://thedanlokshow.danlok.link Instagram: http://instagram.danlok.link YouTube: http://youtube.danlok.link Linkedin: http://mylinkedin.danlok.link #DanLok #SalesProcess #IncreaseBusiness This video is about How To Improve Your Sales Process And Increase Business https://youtu.be/dyihEhXje78 https://youtu.be/dyihEhXje78

Kaiser CEO Bernard Tyson Dies Unexpectedly, Here Is His Impact

In stunning news, healthcare lost a major leader today. Bernard J. Tyson, the Chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente, unexpectedly passed away in his sleep at just 60 years young. Unexpected is an understatement since it was only yesterday when Tyson was a guest speaker at the AfroTech gathering in Oakland as shown by this tweet:

                               

And three days prior, he had been in New York City to speak at the Fast Company Innovation Festival as seen in this picture:

Today In: Innovation

Discussing and advocating for key health issues was a big part of Tyson’s life. Through my career, I have met many hospital, health clinic, and insurance executives, and Tyson without a doubt has stood out from most of the rest. He was far from a “mind the store and pick up the paycheck” CEO. Sure, we can rattle off what happened to the typical metrics used to measure hospital and insurance CEO’s since he became Kaiser Permanente’s CEO in 2013 and it’s Chairman of the board of directors in 2014. Kaiser Permanente went from having 9.1 million members to 12.3 million, employing a workforce of 174,000 to 218,000, and generating $53 billion in annual revenues to $82.8 billion. These are all very impressive jumps but do not begin to capture the larger and what I think are the more important steps that have occurred.

Tyson has helped Kaiser Permanente become a leader in transforming how healthcare systems can have a greater impact on population health. Historically, many hospitals and much of the health care system in the U.S. have been way too focused on inpatient and “sick” care, because surprise, surprise, that’s where the immediate money seems to be. You can make a whole lot more money today trying to fix a medical problem (and even failing horribly to fix it) than preventing the problem in the first place.

This has made much of healthcare far too reactive, waiting for problems to occur, too focused on repairing people after they have already been broken. It’s like waiting at the of the wall for Humpty Dumpty to fall rather than helping him down from the wall or at least installing some seat belts. It can also be analogous to waiting for a car to fall into pieces before you take it (or rather carry it in a bag) to the shop and ask the mechanic, “hey, can you do something about patching everything together? I need to drive to a date tonight.”

Under Tyson’s leadership, Kaiser Permanente has taken major steps to expand the role of health care beyond the walls of hospitals and clinics. For example, as I reported previously for Forbes, there are the ongoing initiatives to address obesity and homelessness in the communities surrounding Kaiser facilities. Tyson covers the latter in this Kaiser Permanente video:

                                  

Another example is their first-of-its-kind partnership with the National Basketball Association (NBA) to tackle (or rather, since it’s basketball, assist with) children’s health issues, which I also have written about for Forbes.

Then there’s climate change, which for Pete’s and everyone else’s sake exists. Recognizing the impact that all of their facilities and many employees can have on pollution and the climate, Kaiser Permanente has been taking steps to become carbon neutral by 2020.

If this doesn’t sound like your typical hospital system or clinic, it isn’t. Tyson hasn’t been your typical healthcare system CEO either. When I spoke to Tyson earlier this year, the conversation was more about a vision of how healthcare should be and what a good healthcare system should be doing rather than a review of how great things already are. He didn’t dwell on dollar signs and listing the clinical services that Kaiser and its many physicians offer. Instead, he talked at length about how Kaiser was trying to not just be reactive but rather address the “social determinants of health” such as “improving basic infrastructure, promoting healthy eating, working on exercise, and taking care of the key ingredients to promoting health.” As he emphasized, “great health care is not just engaged with treatment.”

Tyson also pointed to a part of the body that healthcare systems frequently neglect. No, not the feet or the spleen. It’s the head or more specifically the mind, which incidentally should be connected to the rest of your body. As Tyson mentioned, Kaiser has been “extremely focused on the mind, as in mental health and well-being,” and “looking at the whole person.” He spoke of the “comprehensive package, looking at health and health care.” Again, while healthcare systems may talk about mental health and well-being, talk is cheap. They often don’t mind the gap or rather address the gap in taking care of the mind in the community. How many have actually invested in community well-being programs as Kaiser Permanente has?

Of course, Kaiser Permanente does have strong incentives to keep its millions upon millions of members healthy since it serves the dual purpose of insurer and healthcare system. However, this dual role alone may not necessarily lead to transformative change. When you talk to Tyson, you never got the sense that he was just spewing platitudes. Rather, expanding healthcare these directions seemed to be a passion.

For example, take a look at his experiences as a child. As he related to me, he was “greatly impacted by a wonderful mother, who was sick all of my life and wonderful doctor who take care of her and us.” This combined with the fact that his “father was a minister” meant that his “line of sight was always the community of the congregation. The community was the family.” He spoke of “having resources in the community and encouragement with multiple ‘moms’ who raised me as a child. The community came together,” and offered “a support system that you can rely on, that was in your corner,” that was encouraging, “you to be all that you can be.”

Certainly, Tyson was much more than the color of his skin. Nevertheless, in this day and age, color of the skin still unfortunately can be a major barrier in healthcare. It was an important step that Tyson, as a racial minority, became the leader of the largest nonprofit health plan and integrated delivery system in the United States. This brought a little more demographic diversity to healthcare leadership, which remains way too homogeneous. If you look at pictures of many healthcare system executives, the colors of the neckties are often more diverse that the colors of the skin. Tyson helped get many people more used to seeing an effective and forward-thinking healthcare system leader from a different background.

Tyson didn’t shy away from talking about how race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation either. These demographic characteristics still unfortunately affect healthcare inside and outside hospital and clinic walls. In fact, he had strong interests in reducing disparities of care as well and said, “The fact that someone may not be getting what they should be getting because color of skin or sexual orientation is unacceptable. Period. No sentence to follow.”

The Kaiser Board of Directors has named Gregory A. Adams to fill Tyson’s shoes as Chairman and CEO on an interim basis. These are certainly big shoes to fill. Adams is no stranger to the Kaiser system as he had been reporting to Tyson as the Executive Vice President and Group President, overseeing all eight Kaiser Permanente Regions that includes 38 hospitals and 651 medical office facilities. Additionally, Adams has led Kaiser Permanente’s national Medicare care delivery strategy and was responsible for Kaiser Permanente’s partnership with the NBA. Adams appears in this video covering the launch of the NBA partnership:

                                

Adams has been with Kasier Permanente since 1999, beginning at Kaiser Permanente in Southern California and subsequently holding positions with increasing leadership responsibility. Adams’ Kaiser Permanente biography includes more information on his background.

In a statement, Ed Pei, Kaiser Permanente board member and Chair of its Executive Committee and the Governance, Accountability and Nominating Committee, said: “Bernard was an exceptional colleague, a passionate leader, and an honorable man. We will greatly miss him. The board has full confidence in Greg Adams’ ability to lead Kaiser Permanente through this unexpected transition.”

Indeed, in his five years as CEO and over 30 years in the Kaiser system, Tyson made a major impact on healthcare that went well beyond hospital and clinic walls in many ways. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to see all that he could have done with more years at the helm.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

I am a writer, journalist, professor, systems modeler, computational and digital health expert, avocado-eater, and entrepreneur, not always in that order. Currently, I am a Professor of Health Policy and Management at the City University of New York (CUNY), Executive Director of PHICOR (@PHICORteam), Associate Professor at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, and founder and CEO of Symsilico. My previous positions include serving as Executive Director of the Global Obesity Prevention Center (GOPC) at Johns Hopkins University, Associate Professor of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Associate Professor of Medicine and Biomedical Informatics at the University of Pittsburgh, and Senior Manager at Quintiles Transnational, working in biotechnology equity research at Montgomery Securities, and co-founding a biotechnology/bioinformatics company. My work involves developing computational approaches, models, and tools to help health and healthcare decision makers in all continents (except for Antarctica) and has been supported by a wide variety of sponsors such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the NIH, AHRQ, CDC, UNICEF, USAID and the Global Fund. I have authored over 200 scientific publications and three books. Follow me on Twitter (@bruce_y_lee) but don’t ask me if I know martial arts.

Source: Kaiser CEO Bernard Tyson Dies Unexpectedly, Here Is His Impact

765K subscribers
The Kaiser Permanente model is all about integration and partnerships, and how everything comes together for patients, said Kaiser Permanente CEO Bernard Tyson. Tyson thus has to balance his time with both internal and external constituents, which is a non-trivial task for an organization of Kaiser Permanent’s size. “The outside influences so much of what happens on the inside, that I have to spend a lot of my time with customers, the government and other key parties.” In his visit to Systems Leadership on April 25, 2019, Tyson spoke with Lecturer Robert Siegel on the challenges of running an $80B per year company in a complex world while still focusing on the goal of keeping patients healthy.
Read more on Medium: https://stanford.io/2XZKhTZ
%d bloggers like this: