Dan Lounsbury works as a Family Office Manager and Private Client Adviser for other small families seeking to learn how to create an effective strategy for managing their family operations. Most of the time, Dan is working to help clients understand the importance of creating a plan which encompasses every aspect of their lives…not an easy task!
How did you get started in this business?
A true entrepreneur in every sense of the world, Dan bootstrapped TPG in the basement of his home back as a part time job trying to help friends whom were deployed overseas. A prior military officer, he understood the equipment his friends were using as well as their need to find the best products available. His hobby grew into an actual business when, in 2004, he relocated the business to South Florida where it not only flourished but thrived. More than 15 years later, after taking the company through a series of peaks and valleys, I stepped away and opened my Family Office to develop this focus on helping others create strategies to successfully manage their own needs.
How do you make money?
I never focused on making money. At a younger age, I lacked the confidence to venture out on my own for fear of failure. With young children at home and a mortgage to pay, I was scared that too much risk would jeopardize the well being of my family. After being involved in several start-ups, I realized that my focus was NOT on making money but rather providing the best possible products, service, and value for my clients. Today, that methodology is no different. Each client has unique needs which are defined by their lives and their goals. By helping them understand these needs, and define their goals, we create a win-win situation. For this help, clients retain me as an adviser and pay me a flat monthly fee.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
Many things in life can be purchased if the buyer has enough money. For example, you can rent a small one bedroom apartment or purchase a mansion on the beach, depending upon how much you are willing to spend. TIME is one of the few things that money cannot buy, no matter how much you have! For that reason, I am careful about how I allocate my time and I encourage my clients to do the same thing. Profitability is not always measured by the bottom line numbers of cash in minus cash out, but rather by the success we are able to create and measure through the plans we create. Did we achieve our stated end goals? If the answer is Yes, than we are profitable!
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
Over the past 25 years, there were many times when I felt scared or afraid that my business might fail. The Fear of failure was a powerful motivator and forced me to focus on the most efficient ways to reach my own goals. It may sound cliche, but failure was never an option. I learned that worker harder was not always spending the most Time at doing something, but rather working smarter and learning how to become more effective. I was critical of myself which was not an easy task. To be honest and truthful to ones self is a crucial trait for any effective business person to have.
How did you get your first customer?
My first big customers came through developing personal relationships. Over time as my relationship grew with some of these customers, I developed the courage to Ask Them for the big orders. I felt like my company was stuck in the rut of only grabbing small pieces of small orders here and there, but the customers never gave us the chance to really perform on larger needs which resulted in greater revenues. I will never forget the phone call I had with a client over the 2003 holiday break. All of the clients regular vendors were on holiday break and could not be reached for a last minute, urgent need. I asked the customer when he was going to give us a shot and proving to him that we had the expertise and ability to deliver for him? He said he was simply waiting for me to ask!
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
I still believe that the power of social media, with respect to marketing, has yet to be fully tapped. I experienced this with the growth of TPG and it was amazing to see how over a period of less than 2 years, Instagram accounted for over 90% of our online product sales. Today, with the Family Office, I am still learning how our reach on Social Media can impact the growth of this business.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
Everything! I am still in the process of making some tough decisions which will impact my business and my personal life. One of the things I have learned is that it’s always best to take time and not rush into making quick, rash decisions. People have the tendency to be very emotional when it comes to making tough decisions. Most of the time it can be useful to step back, take a look at all the variables involved, and make the most educated and well informed decision possible.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
Persistence. Without a doubt, there have been times where it would have been easy to throw in the towel or take the easier path with less resistance. It is often said that anything worth achieving is worth fighting for – it’s true! If it were easy, anyone could do it!
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
I’ve had several moments like this. Very recently, a friend whom worked in federal law enforcement came to see me. He was involved in a shooting in which the suspect was fatally shot. My friend wanted to talk to me and it was apparent that talking about his situation was helping him decompress from the stress of dealing with had occurred. He also wanted to share just how safe he felt wearing the products that my company had made for him, knowing that we had personally created the best possible life saving equipment we could. Knowing that I could make a difference in peoples lives was very satisfying.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
The future of the Family Office is exciting because I enjoy helping people just like we did with my last business. At one point, we stepped back and calculated that our life saving products had been delivered to over 500,000 people – an extremely satisfying feeling to know that we were able to help protect so many. Similarly, I am looking forward helping generations of families create strategies for the effective management of their lives, their families, and their legacies.
What business books have inspired you?
Over the past several years I have probably read more than 60 books. A classic business and life book I have read several times is the Motivation Manifesto by Brendon Burchard. My favorite book, without a doubt, has been Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Business is like war – it can be harsh and brutal. Trust is never something that should be given away. It must be earned, and given out carefully.
Are you willing to be a mentor? If so, how should someone contact you?
Yes, establishing a Family Office and becoming a Private Client Adviser is not only becoming a mentor for others whom want to listen, but also knowing that I too can learn from the clients I work with. Always listen first.