Nick Friedman | Crain's Orlando

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Nick Friedman

Background:  

Headquartered in Tampa, College Hunks Hauling Junk & Moving is a moving and junk removal company with more than 100 franchises across the United States. Nick Friedman and Omar Soliman founded the company with a single cargo truck in 2003 and began franchising in 2008.

The Mistake:

We took very aggressive risks on marketing early on that really weren’t suitable for a business of our size.

I’ve heard the saying, “No overnight success happens overnight,” and I truly believe that. It’s gonna take as long as it’s gonna take to get to where you want to go, and I think a lot of times I would become impatient, which is, I think, maybe inherent in entrepreneurs and probably young people, too. I mean, I was in my early 20s. I wanted to own the world yesterday and that caused us to make some rash decisions and try to shortcut success or look for the quick win or magic pill that would 10 times our business overnight.

We took risks from a marketing perspective. We took some risks from trying to delve into other business lines or service offerings that really just ultimately impeded or handicapped our long-term growth. We were spending money that probably would have been better invested in technology, online positioning or hiring strategic mentors or advisers or employees.

As I look back at some of the stress that I went through in the early days and some of the rushed decisions … if I just had patience and trusted the process, we would have ended up here eventually, maybe even sooner.

We’re not in the weeds trying to call the shots.

The Lesson:

Now I try to practice mindfulness, in general, because I think both Omar and I ... can be somewhat impulsive and emotionally based when making decisions.

And so I lean on a lot of my team members who are much more logic- and numbers-based decision-makers. I try to empower everybody in my team to make decisions, while Omar and I have sort of elevated our role to more of an “owner’s box” visionary role, where we set out the vision of where we want to go. We provide the resources to our team to help us get there, and we try to remove the barriers and obstacles that are in their way.

That way, we’re not in the weeds trying to call the shots or call the plays and sometimes making calls that aren’t necessarily in the best interest of the business.

So that’s the lesson I’ve learned. We just need to remove ourselves from some of those day-to-day decisions and hire the experts that maybe tell us what needs to get done. And then we can agree or disagree or ask questions, but ultimately we leave it up to them to make the decisions. Now we’re at a point where I always imagined we would be and I’m very happy and grateful for it. 

Follow College Hunks Hauling Junk & Moving on Twitter at @CollegeHunks

Photo courtesy of College Hunks Hauling Junk & Moving

Do you have a good story you’d like to share, or know someone we should feature? Email nryan@crain.com.

And be sure to sign up for your local newsletter from Crain's Tampa Bay.