In his nearly 30 years of experience guiding clients, Brian Center, Founder of Quasar Capital, has learned that trusted expertise and a helping hand when you need it most, goes a long way and so does providing maximum funding. Providing such allows him to capitalize on what others in the industry don’t see. Many know him as a serial entrepreneur and business owner but he likes to believe his value centers on creating networks and connecting small businesses to greater opportunities.
Brian is obsessed with making everyone’s life easier. It brings joy to take the burden off of anyone who needs help. Business is no different. There are not many things that can grow a company the way that trust and transparency can, and he pride himself in being dedicated to both.
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Table of Contents
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Brian Center: This is a great question and one I often ask others. The form of financing we provide is called “factoring”. Generally factoring is a form of financing for smaller businesses that are growing very rapidly or have experienced a challenge. Factoring is not commonly known so generally, a person does not “choose” a career in factoring…. it chooses you! That’s exactly what happened to me. I was a banker dealing with a factoring company and I caught the bug. Lot’s of reasons to like factoring… but I was enthralled with how factoring can impact the trajectory of a small business.
Yet, mostly I was floored at how a factoring company if they felt compelled to truly learn about its clients, could help the people of the company. the people who made up the company. That’s what got me hooked…. the ability to truly make a difference.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Brian Center: There are so many examples of individuals who have touched the journey for which I am grateful. My son has always pushed me to start my own finance company again. Yet I was always hesitant. And then one day (here is the story!)….
I was lucky enough to partner with a consultant when I was serving as CEO of a company prior to starting Quasar Capital. The consultant and I had been through the creation of a strategic plan and driving toward the creation of a communications plan. The consultant had always demonstrated objective, logical thinking and mindset yet understood that people, which are often not objective and logical, make up organizations. Watching her execution in balancing logical conclusions with emotional people and doing so in a professional manner allowed me to see her as very trustworthy.
I had a personal and emotional issue and logic was not solving my issue. I was pleased with my role as the CEO of this company for only one reason… the paycheck. I took a leap and confided in her my desire to again start my own company yet was petrified of losing the paycheck. I asked if she had any thoughts she could share… she contemplated for a moment and simply stated… “You don’t need a paycheck”! She went on to show me the strengths that I was lucky enough to have developed over the years and how those strengths translated to opportunities. She helped me believe in myself again and not believe in the paycheck. Fast forward…. My company is less than a year old and we have achieved every initial goal by a multiple of 4 times and more. The ability to achieve our success is in part due to that fundamental and foundational lesson the consultant reaffirmed. Needless to say, this consultant serves as Quasar’s closest outside advisors.
What are the most common mistakes you see entrepreneurs make and what would you suggest they do?
Brian Center: The most common mistake is one in which I have made as well. Entrepreneurs generally have such passion and vision for their ideas. Both are essential to success. Yet often an entrepreneur will simply drive head first into the fray of “Starting a business” without planning. Why? Because like most entrepreneurs including me, we think we can figure things out.
Well, we can… but the old axiom of driving to a destination without a map applies here. Starting a business will provide plenty of chances to figure out on the fly…. so why not create a structure and framework for your idea and vision? Creating a plan, creating a framework, creating measurable goals, adopting a chief aim for the business… these are all steps that a mature company endeavors. The creation of a plan and framework actually serves your vision best by allowing others to see the power of your mind and idea. From there, life gets a bit simpler for promoting your idea to audiences such as investors, lenders, critical vendors, employees, and clients. So the most common mistake is diving in without a framework and plan.
Resilience is critical in critical times like the ones we are going through now. How would you define resilience?
Brian Center: Resilience!!! I suppose the definition of resilience is to achieve in spite of odds or overcome challenges in spite of odds and remain standing after it’s all said and done…. However, there is a component of resiliency that I believe gets lost.
Of course, one has achieved much through resiliency…. but in the process of resiliency what have you gained? If you are still standing, what do you have? What does the company that you lead have after you have pushed through with resiliency? I mean, why did we do “this” that required resiliency. To remain in the market, to remain competitive, to pivot and adopt new processes, etc. All great results of resiliency. BUT…. did you employ resiliency at the expense of losing your vision? Did your company and the PEOPLE you lead demonstrate resiliency yet drift from compassion? Did the people you lead see the focus turn to survival at all costs…. “whatever it takes”, and thus as a leader did you trade in the basic premise of improving people’s lives simply to remain intact through resiliency?
A company cannot exist if at its core it does not improve lives directly or indirectly. If you are improving lives, the spirit of every organization cannot prosper if it does not employ compassion and empathy. Compassion and empathy allow an organization and its PEOPLE to answer the question…. are we improving lives? Did you lead your team with resiliency at the cost of losing compassion and the drive to improve people’s lives? To me…. resiliency is remarkable. It demonstrates the best of our human spirit in the sense that we fight to survive…. our survival means nothing if there is no value in surviving. Value is attained by employing compassion and empathy…. by improving lives… and to me… one is only resilient if they keep the real work of caring for others alive.
In your opinion, what makes your company stand out from the competition?
Brian Center: In a way, this is an easy question to answer. A company stands out when its team is aligned. Alignment simply means the team is focused and in step with its core values. The core values are at the foundation of a company that supports all the company desires to do (goals) and demonstrates is priorities as driven by its mission and vision. So when a company, or more importantly the PEOPLE within the organization are of the same mindset via its values… you can see the alignment in how they execute.
Alignment calls like-minded people in terms of values to drive a company forward with divergent and broad ideas. With the right leadership and guide, common values and divergent ideas are melded into shared goals and desired outcomes. To me, companies that are aligned stand out from the competition.
What do you consider are your strengths when dealing with staff workers, colleagues, senior management, and customers?
Brian Center: Another great question…. Strengths are not strengths unless you are always cognizant of improving such. One of the skills I’ve actively pursued at improving overtime is “listening”. A skilled listener truly absorbs what the other party is communicating, both verbally and non-verbally. If you learn to absorb and free your mind of focusing on what you think or feel but rather truly absorb, then you become better at relating through meaningful questions and you become better at empathy. You are not simply taking in information but rather truly absorbing the message of what the other party is communicating. In the end, you are exercising the desire to seek to understand before you seek to be understood.
What have you learned about personal branding that you wish you had known earlier in your career?
Brian Center: This is easy. I sometimes struggle with what a “personal brand” is as it feels a bit broad at times. In the end, what am I trying to convey in my brand? Early on in my career, I was focused on being judged and in turn I wanted to present my brand as capable and competitive. Not bad I suppose but I don’t always need to know the most and win at all costs. In the end, that’s just not me. As I matured in my career, I believe my brand shows a commitment to sincerity and compassion.
Disappointments, fear, rejection, mistakes…. those elements of life and business tend to drive us to want to doubt the value of sincerity and compassion, yet I see time and time again those of us that are genuine in driving to sincerity and compassion are generally the strongest because we desire to elevate those around us…. and thus, disappointments, fear, rejection, mistakes all circle back to the need to embrace the world with… you guessed it…. sincerity and compassion. Sincerity and compassion…. good qualities to incorporate in your life if possible and great business tools!
How do you monitor if the people in your department are performing at their best?
Brian Center: It’s funny…. this question gave options to answer questions about leadership, yet I chose to answer how to monitor if people are performing their best….. which, involves leadership. Tactically, I have always learned you cannot manage what you cannot measure, yet measurement of the intangibles is very difficult…. so two elements to the answer:
1. For years I have sought the right manner to develop strategic plans and business models. How to align strengths and opportunities with a model and how to progress on goals, build a brand and embrace a culture. I’ve learned that planning is not a day in a conference room with sticky notes, nor a budget. No planning is the most important aspect of a leader to drive because you cannot achieve without a SOLID plan. success is not luck. Success is planned. So, I now live by a planning process that is in-depth and comprehensive. The result of the plan is empowering our team and creating autonomy. The team is motivated to communicate successes and failures every week as we drive to accomplish our goals. I was introduced to this method of planning a few years ago…. It changes lives.
2. Why does the team want to authentically display their successes AND failures? This one quality is so important in leadership and culture. Each team member earnestly knows we all have each other’s backs. That does not mean we coddle each other… no. We have adult to adult interactions and hold ourselves accountable… We are sincere in our evaluation… across the board. This includes on occasion we part ways with folks… not often, but it’s all part of sincere adult to adult interaction and communication.
Combine #1 and #2…. that’s how I know we are getting our best.
What’s your favorite “life lesson” quote and how has it affected your life?
Brian Center: I believe this quote is applicable to life, business and leadership. One of my favorite quotes is from the incredible Maya Angelou….
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Amazing…. Simply amazing.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Brian Center for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Brian Center or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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