Paul Silverberg, founder of Silver Lining X, LLC, is a business professional specializing in strategies, compliance and solutions with over twenty five years of experience working for companies ranging from startups to multinational corporations. He has helped many organizations address issues surrounding financial growth management; human resources management, including avoiding and resolving labor disputes and litigation; exit planning; fund raising, business development and corporate governance. One of his strengths is litigation consulting as a non-testifying expert to provide strategy and cost-savings.
With a history of success in guiding companies at all stages of growth, Paul Silverberg has worked with companies in a wide range of industries, including hospitality, medicine, aerospace and technology. He also has extensive experience helping foreign-based businesses in gaining entry into the US market. He helps them to develop performance plans and to ensure compliance with all applicable regulations, as well as to establish strategic relationships with domestic companies.
Having served as a Vice President, consultant, Director, attorney, and adviser for companies of all different sizes, including publicly traded corporations, Paul Silverberg has a foundation of practical experience that he couples with his extensive education—holding degrees in finance, law, and economics—that allows him to provide solutions for clients in a wide range of fields. Paul has a proven history of leadership, having served as an early executive (4th employee) and helping to grow that company to more than 80 employees, establishing strategic partnerships with nationally renowned companies and fund raising more than $52 million.
He has instituted strategies for numerous foreign-based companies in their successful attempts at gaining entry into the US market. One campaign where he served as adviser and lead negotiator resulted in a $180 million product sales agreement, and the company receiving special recognition from the President of South Korea during a celebratory event held in Seoul. Currently, Paul is working on many projects, including one with a foreign five-star restaurant that will be opening its first US location in early 2022 and will be the most expensive development in the country.
What’s the name of your company? What exactly does your company do, how do you help people?
The name of my business is Silver Lining X, LLC. My specialties are strategies, compliance, and solutions. I ensure that my clients’ businesses have a direction, backbone and plan. I collaborate closely with my clients in developing plans of action based on their goals—where they envision their business going. I also help to drive results through increased sales, dispute (avoid and solve) resolution, new opportunities, planning, and resolving operational issues. My goal is to help clients get answers quickly as possible by using my experience working in business at all levels, as well as my relationships with experts in a variety of fields. I provide concrete and creative answers where they are likely to get cookie cutter replies at a great cost.
What is your hiring philosophy?
I heard a saying once that has stuck with me: “It’s never the wrong time to hire the right person.” I also balance that with “I just need a warm body.” People are the biggest investment and key (or downfall) to success for a business. They are also the hardest thing to get right. Plenty of studies show how the interview process is flawed and then retention issues have material impact on the business. The importance of people in a business being successful is also evident by the huge industry of corporate personality testing. So as simple as it sounds, I make sure that when I come across the right person, I find a way to bring them on board. Similarly, it’s important to resolve and eliminate a bad employee without creating liability for the company.
What piece of advice do you wish someone had given you at the start of your career?
I wish that someone had told me when I first started my career that there is no perfect formula that can be applied to every situation, every business, or every relationship. Experience that you have gained along the way is invaluable. There is a balance to be struck between trusting your own instinct and valuing wisdom. I also have found that there is much to be learned by taking a risk—whether I failed or succeeded, I came away having learned something from it. Lastly, I would say look at the winners and losers in your field. Learn from them and save yourself the pain.
Tell us, how do you deal with rejection?
I don’t take it personally. Rejection is part of doing business. Luckily, I haven’t had to experience it too much. I also use it as a chance for analysis and growth. If the rejection was a matter of the relationship not being mutually beneficial or a good fit, that is simply part of being in a people-based business. If I feel like the rejection was a result of something I said or did, that is a chance for some self-reflection. It also helps to understand what a good fit is and which to avoid. Ultimately, rejection is a great opportunity for growth if you take it well and try to understand it.
What do you see as your greatest success in life, so far?
I think you have to look at success in your professional life and personal life both. You can’t prioritize one over the other or they will both fail. On the professional side, the success rate I have for my business and my clients show that I have a proven record of achievement. I could go by the dollars raised, size of deals, and avoided costs, but I would measure professional success by the improvements that I made for clients and how they have appreciated it (from kind words, to bonus checks, to invitations to family events to a bear hug). In my personal life, my greatest success is having a happy and healthy family. I’ve been married for 21 years and I have two teenagers, who themselves have been successful in many of their endeavors. They have excelled in sports (multiple time captains) and academics, but most of all, I take great pride in them being good people.
What are your thoughts on delegation?
Delegation is crucial, if married with responsibility, to being successful as an entrepreneur. I think the most important keys to being a good delegator are communication and understanding with clear responsibility guidelines and follow through. Giving clear directions and setting clear expectations, but then also understanding the importance of different tasks. To delegate without responsibility and review is a negative and equivalent to trying to push off a problem part of the way. It is not giving that person an opportunity with the delegated task.
Sometimes, a task just needs to get done. Other times, it needs to be handled delicately and exactly. Knowing the difference between those and then being able to explain that to someone is not always easy. But being able to prioritize and then manage others is the only way that you can run a business.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
While my number one focus is to continue to deliver for my clients and to continue to grow my client base, some clients have offered ownership and other opportunities in their business as part of continued consulting.
I have a number of deals being worked out at the moment. I have a few in the hospitality industry in the works that I am very excited about. One is with a regional restaurant that I think has amazing opportunities and could be a serious national brand. I’m also really excited about working with an international five-star restaurant that will be adding location(s) in the US, with the first one being the most expensive restaurant buildout in the country. I am also working with an early stage but strategic niche NFT technology company.
What is the one major key to your company’s success?
I don’t think there is only one, but if I have to choose, I would say knowledge—truly knowing what you bring to the table and delivering it. It’s funny how many “experts” there are in every industry and how “cheap” some of them are. But people, especially entrepreneurs, are not stupid. They can smell incompetence and those that have a limited field. Business needs those with vast experience to provide something outside the everyday mold. What has helped my company continue to succeed and grow is that my clients trust that I know what I’m talking about, that the strategy is practical and my results over the last twenty five years demonstrate that I do. There is nothing more costly than paying someone for bad information, and this poor advice can be simply nearly impossible to follow, flat out wrong, what everyone is doing, or too expensive.
What is a habit of yours as an entrepreneur that you would recommend?
I am always planning for the future and communicating that vision. I take the time to reflect on what and how my business is doing now and to analyze what is and isn’t working. From there, I take what I have been learning through research, keeping up with new technologies, staying up to date on regulations, policies, and governance issues, and I start to formulate a plan for what is next. The final piece is to make sure to communicate that vision clearly and effectively. I am also there to mange and implement it.
What does your average day look like and how do you make it productive?
It’s really hard to define an average day. The one constant is that they are all busy. I don’t have a routine where every Monday I do “such and such” or every day at 9am I have the same task planned. Part of my day may be spent researching for a growth plan, part might be working on solving a compliance issue for a client, or communicating with a government agency. Every day has a variety of tasks to be handled. How I stay productive is by being organized and never putting off until tomorrow something that I can take care of today. I know too many people, who when they have a deadline in four weeks, start working on that project in three weeks. I try not to procrastinate, and because I don’t (usually), I have the flexibility to handle unforeseen circumstances when they happen.
Can you tell us one way that you have grown your business?
Not standing still. I love to meet people and learn from their past, current and any future plans. There is no question that there are a ton of idea people out there that have fantastic ideas, but no plans or ability to implement them. There is no question there are amazing people with skills that are simply not enough to effectively operate a business. Meeting with these people keeps my brain sharp, shows me areas of opportunity and makes possible a mutually beneficial relationship.
What is your favorite quote?
I have a couple that I like depending on the situation.
“In the business world, everyone is paid in two coins: cash and experience. Take the experience first; the cash will come later.” Harold S. Geneen ($17 billion in sales in 1970).
“Failure isn’t fatal, but failure to change might be.” John Wooden, legendary UCLA basketball coach.