Ranked among the world’s Top 10 CEOs for 2020 in The World CEO Rankings Awards by Adria Management, LLC, Brian J. Esposito is the founder and CEO of Esposito Intellectual Enterprises, LLC, (EIE). An award-winning serial entrepreneur and business leader, he is recently renowned for being a core part of an innovative team to build Nodle—the world’s largest wireless network and ecosystem of connected devices—and for one of his early businesses, which ranked among The Fastest-Growing Private Companies by Inc. 5000 for six consecutive years. In December 2019, he was featured in The Corporate Investment Times, the next-gen investment magazine in the Middle East. With over 20 years of experience in high-profile executive roles involving complex business challenges and high-stakes decisions, Brian founded Esposito Intellectual Enterprises (EIE) in New York in 2013. Wholly owned by Brian, EIE currently has over 65 entities within it and over 150 joint ventures that have been accumulated around the world over the last 20 years.
To date, there are over 25 industry focuses and just one degree separating any industry or market that Brian may want to enter into and do business in. With a technique that he spent years perfecting, Brian connects not only the right people but the right people at the right time. “Integrity is at the core of who we are and what we do at EIE. We strive to do good business with good people,” he says.
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Table of Contents
Let’s learn a little about you and really get to experience what makes us tick – starting at our beginnings. Where did your story begin?
Brian J. Esposito: My story began in the late ’90s where I built the first b2b and b2c e-commerce platform for the beauty industry. Due to great timing, teaching myself to code, and having access to some of the top brands in the industry I was able to create a very high demand site and reach millions of consumers and beauty professionals from around the world.
This led me to work with and create brands for some of the top athletes, celebrities, actors, actresses, musicians, and entertainers, but most importantly it gave me my itch for creating great technologies that the market needed and a strategic way to create and market those solutions to the world.
It also allowed me to, through many years and errors, create the model in which I have now; developing business opportunities and inviting people or companies into my world, where I maintain full control of the process. The business ecosystem I have built now touches over 25 industries and continues to always provide value and ensure that I am only spending time and energy on win/win projects for everyone involved ensuring we are always keeping on the top of our minds Esposito Intellectual Enterprises company motto: “Time Is Our Most Precious Commodity”
Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up?
Brian J. Esposito: For nearly 20 years since I started this journey, every day was a battle. Anyone that tells you it was easy, either is lying, enjoying family legacy money, or delusional. My road was harder than most, but for that, I am very grateful. I experienced all kinds of attacks on what I was building from both internal and external sources. My model was wrong for over 15 years and now I finally have a world in which I am proud that I created where I am in full control of whom I invite in and whom I ask to leave. There is a very very small inner circle, buffered by compliance, legal, accounting, and private security down to all company holdings, partners, employees, and other 3rd party service vendors. It’s very difficult to give you just one story as there are thousands, but no, I never thought to give up.
Since very young I have been faced with problems and that is my norm, but what I do love and excel at is finding an answer or strategy, as there is always a solution. I will say one specific event did force me to change my way of thinking and doing business. February 12, 2016, a drunk driver hit my head and I should not be here. That moment ripped me from routine and allowed everyone I put in positions at that time to direct the ship, the outcome also resembling that of the Titanic. I realized I had the wrong people in positions they had no experience or right to be at, and when I needed people to help me, ones that I helped for many years they were nowhere to be found.
So rather than get bitter, angry, and depressed, I decided immediately to rebuild, bigger, better, and smarter than before, lean and mean, and create an environment that can flow with or without my participation and that relied on no one. Here we are 6 years from that date and what I have built and grew from is not only extremely exciting, but thriving, but it would take quite a lot for this to fail or crumble. As I say, there is always a solution.
What are the most common mistakes you see entrepreneurs make and what would you suggest they do?
Brian J. Esposito: What I see so often is this tragic valuation, raise money, run out of money, raise money, run out of money routine that entrepreneurs think is normal. I have the honor now of being asked to be part of companies across the globe and I immediately preach you need positive earnings, you need to make money. Forget nonsense ideas of valuations that are not sustainable, and get off this fundraising roller coaster you are on. If not properly done in the beginning down to 1/10 of the percentage. founders very quickly find themselves diluted out of their own company and no longer in control. The definition of business is making money.
Create a product, solution, service, ip, or technology that you can immediately value and find customers or paid pilot programs and be in business. Businesses with earnings can find ways to obtain capital and in today’s environment is the first time ever where I suggest taking on bank debt. Money is basically free, however, if you don’t have revenues then that fresh cheap capital all over markets around the world, is very difficult to obtain. To entrepreneurs reading this, I highly suggest stacking up your advisory board, bringing on people to help you grow your business, make introductions to markets or companies that you may not have had access to, and start creating profitable revenues, and grow from your cash flows.
Has the pandemic and transitioning into mostly online shopping affected your company positively or negatively?
Brian J. Esposito: 2020 was the most successful and fastest-growing year I have ever experienced. Again I am used to problems, to me this was just yet another problem, and guess what there will be another one. This is one of the many good reasons for having access to so many industries and holding a vast amount of companies and joint ventures from around the world. We were able to quickly create products, services, solutions, and technologies that the market demanded and needed immediately.
This applied to not just online retail or shopping, but all industries in which we participate. What unfortunately occurred is that companies and leaders just crumbled during this pandemic and legacy brands, stores, and companies either disappeared or are battling bankruptcy. This allowed me to come in and scoop up opportunities, create value, and have conversations with companies and leaders that I may otherwise not have had because they are in, or were in, a desperate situation and needed an immediate strategy or solution.
In your opinion, what makes your company stand out from the competition?
Brian J. Esposito: Accessibility, thinking creatively, connectivity, and always adding value. The way in which Esposito Intellectual Enterprises (EIE) operates and the world we built, we really don’t have or think about competition. Throughout my professional history, what on paper looked like my biggest competitors, were actually my closest friends and we have done some great business together. What EIE is able to do is sit on-top of really any business and immediately add value, and more importantly properly plan out and articulate what the angle is and how this will create a win/win situation for all parties involved.
You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success?
Brian J. Esposito: Patience, Calmness, and being open to the world and opportunities. These 3 character traits working together properly will allow business leaders around the world to properly make appropriate decisions that are not impulsive or from an emotional reaction. Also, I am a big believer in energy, and being in a healthy state of mind and open to the world will allow for, honestly both good and bad opportunities, to present themselves, which is why it’s so important to accept those moments, weigh them out, and make the right decision for the business, employees, and stakeholders.
Being a CEO of the company, do you think that your personal brand reflects your company’s values?
Brian J. Esposito: I do very much which is why I often cringe when I see CEOs of companies make claims or comments that can be looked at as negative to their products, or services. This goes back to the calmness and patience character traits I spoke about earlier, and CEOs need to take a minute, breathe, think about all that they may be affecting due to a knee-jerk reaction or a “god-complex” that often very successful CEO’s obtain due to vast/fast success and think that they are invincible or “important”.
How would you define “leadership”?
Brian J. Esposito: Leadership is solely taking responsibility when things go wrong, but sharing responsibility for things going right to all parties involved. You need to make people feel valued and good about themselves, and that is not always just attached to monetary compensation. So when the company has a win it’s a team effort, but if something fails it is the leader’s responsibility to own that, learn from it, and ensure that it never happens again. Passing the blame off to others is cowardly and those types of people or leaders should not be in those positions.
Do you think entrepreneurship is something that you’re born with or something that you can learn along the way?
Brian J. Esposito: I truly believe you are born with it and it is just fear that either stops or delays people from becoming an entrepreneur. I do not fault anyone who holds back, because life is scary and hard, however, the saddest thing I see is when someone of great talent and the skills to become a great entrepreneur is stuck on the hamster wheel of their current life and routine.
Having self-worth and making your mark on this world is very important to me, and I try to ensure I do that every single day. With that said, no matter what your job, responsibility, or current role, treat it like it is your own business and make it as enjoyable and with the most sense of pride as you can. Do it well, do it with everything that you have, appreciate the fact that you do have a job, and slowly make the necessary mental and financial changes needed to push yourself off your path and into an environment where you are able to control your own destiny, but hear me loud and clear, that path will be bumpy as hell, but maybe the best ride of your life.
What’s your favorite “life lesson” quote and how has it affected your life?
Brian J. Esposito: “So, you have $86,400 in your account and someone stole $10 from you. Would you be upset and throw all of the $86,390 away in hopes of getting back at the person that took your $10? Or move on and live? Right, move on and live. See, we have 86,400 seconds in every day so don’t let someone’s negative 10 seconds ruin the rest of the 86,390. Don’t sweat the small stuff, life is bigger than that.”
This quote, unfortunately from someone unknown, has had the most tangible effect on me, and it really allows you to visualize not only how important life is, but how precious time is and to use it wisely. We are all human and not robots, therefore we have emotions and are entitled to feel them and react to the situation. With age, wisdom, and building a world where you have control over whom you allow into your life, you start to learn ways to eliminate things from happening that cause you to react. For me, it’s not the reaction that I really needed to work on, since I am Italian and we are a very emotional nationality, it was a better process in place to ensure I do not let certain people or character traits into my life.
The fewer of those experiences, the less chance of having someone do something or say something that will have a negative effect on you. When someone steals some of your time, does you wrong, and/or upsets you, say a prayer for them, wish them well, and learn from them. Is that someone you want in your life? Is that a character trait you want to allow from others into your life? The blame is on you as you allowed them, or put them in a position to do that. You do not have a right to blame them, as they did not grow up in your household or go through all the life experiences you have that allow you to think and act the way that you do. The goal is to learn how to avoid it or something similar from happening ever again.
Esther Pinky Kiss, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Brian J. Esposito 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 J. Esposito or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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