- Kindly give our readers an introduction to your business. Please include what your business is all about, in which city you are located and if you have offices in multiple locations/ cities.
Ans : BodyBilt is the premiere ergonomic seating manufacturer in North America. We specialize in comfort and modularity because we recognize that no two bodies are the same. We will never forego a proper fit or design as our promise to the customer.
Our company is headquartered in Navasota, Texas, and we have Nationwide Factory Sales Managers who support our dealers and customers in all 50 States. All our employees are in the United States; we do not outsource any of our talent or labor.
As part of my role, I aim to bridge the gap with traditional ergonomic solutions by creating new emerging technologies to increase our customers’ efficiency and productivity.
- Kindly give us a brief description of yourself (it should include your brief educational or entrepreneurial background and list some of your significant achievements).
Ans : David Fletcher
I was born and raised in the great state of New Jersey. I spent my early years growing up in Piscataway, New Jersey until I was 10. My father and mother decided that they wanted to move close to friends and family down at the Jersey Shore; that is when we first moved to Brick, New Jersey. My parents ended up divorcing, and we all moved to Toms River, where I graduated from Toms River North High School in 1998.
In 1996, I enlisted in the New Jersey Army National Guard as a split option training candidate. I spent my summer between junior and senior year at Basic Training in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. After completing my senior year of high school, I completed my advanced individual training at Fort Lee VA, where I completed my training as a supply and logistics coordinator and a weapons armorer.
After returning from Fort Lee, I attended Ocean County College for two years and then moved to California. My original intention was to get into law enforcement. I quickly realized that it wasn’t for me and had other goals that I wanted to accomplish.
I had the privilege of working in various organizations in sales, marketing, and management capacities in various industries. I have worked in various industries, including supply chain, entertainment, and manufacturing. Out of all the things that I did, I felt the most passionate about office furniture and helping change people’s lives through the application of ergonomics.
In 2013, my sister unexpectedly passed away, forcing me to rethink many things. I instantly gained two children whom I took on raising and treating like my own. That forced my hand to go back to school to complete my bachelor’s degree in 2017 at the University of Phoenix, where I graduated with honors. Afterward, I continued my education at UOP, completing my MBA with a concentration in Marketing. My degree allowed me to land prominent career opportunities and helped shape me into the leader I am today.
I am currently running the Marketing Department for BodyBilt. I have a small team that helps support me with the duties and responsibilities of the organization. We are an agile team, and we handle many responsibilities outside of marketing. This team is responsible for punch-out catalog management, traditional marketing efforts, product design, and advancing disruptive technologies into other departments.
Outside of BodyBilt, I am an adjunct professor for Southern New Hampshire University. I teach the introductory course for the MBA and the required Marketing Course for the MBA program called Optimizing Brands. I am married to my wife Sharon of eight years, and we have two boys: David III, age 7, and Aidan James – ten months old. My nieces still live with us are Gabriella – age 16, and Isabella, age 11. We live in Wellington, Florida, a suburb located in Palm Beach County.
- What inspired you to (start a new business venture) or (make significant changes in an existing business)? How did the idea for your business come about?
Ans : In moments of tragedy, something positive must come from it. My sister’s death brought my wife Sharon forward, which lit the fire for me to return to school and finish my programs. During my time in school, I realized I was meant to be a marketing leader who helps disrupt broken methodology and bridge the gap to create new methods for success.
- What three pieces of advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
- It’s going to hurt, no matter what anyone tells you. You must grow a thick skin and be willing to learn from your mistakes, and focus on your people continually.
- Know your limitations, and don’t try to overcompensate. Your ego will stand in the way of your company’s progress. When you hit the wall, know that it is time to ask for help, and by asking for help, you are not showing weakness.
- You must be willing to fight till you get what you want. When you achieve it, you will need to continue to fight even more to sustain and grow; you will always be fighting to push forward. Whatever boat you took to get you to the current place, you must be willing to burn it and refuse to go backward. Even if you need to take a few steps back to the water, you must push forward and get back to the land.
- What are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
- The ability to listen and understand your people
- Remove your ego from the equation because it is not all about you; it’s about your mission. No one wants to work for a sociopathic narcissist who cannot see two feet in front of them.
- It would help if you were willing to fail and accept that failure will lead to your next destination.
- How many hours do you work a day on average?
Ans : Between 12 to 16 hours.
- To what do you most attribute your success?
Ans : Failing; without willing to take chances and learn, you will never grow. Failure does not define you; it provides you with priceless experience, and no one can take it from you. What matters is what you do going forward; never make the same mistake twice.
- How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?
Ans : When I first took over the marketing department, I recognized that we lacked basic marketing foundations and principles. I knew that I had to make immediate changes and get us on track to avoid potential future pitfalls. I know that I can’t escape them all, but I am prepared for them based on my experiences, education, and training.
If I was to sum it all up, my greatest successes have been online marketing efforts. I realize I can’t do it without great partners like Shoreline Media Marketing group, who have the skills and expertise to fill in the gaps in the areas that either my team or I do not fully understand.
I look at marketing as if I am the conductor and need to identify the strongest players in the orchestra. I don’t need to know how to play the saxophone; I need to ensure the section plays the right notes.
- Where did your organization’s funding/capital come from, and how did you get it? How did you obtain investors for your venture?
Ans : I am not a founder at BodyBilt, nor am I a shareholder. I am a hired gun, but I am the living and breathing spirit of entrepreneurial leadership in this department. I was selected for this role because I can lead and manage an A+ Marketing Team. My CEO Tony Gerbino recognized my talents and abilities; his belief in me will shift the future of our company. He trusts my ability to lead, hire, fire, and manage; he has provided me with the appropriate funding to get the job done.
- What is the best way to achieve long-term success?
Ans : You said the magic word; it’s called long-term success. As AC DC says, it’s a long way to the top if you want to rock and roll. Many of the companies I have worked for focused on the quick and fast dollar. They measured this as success when it is quite the opposite.
To think of long-term success is to develop the mindset that it is not a sprint; it’s a marathon. It is the actions and steps that you take that build the foundation for long-term success. This is where you have to say what you mean and mean what you say.
- Where do you see yourself and your business in 5 – 10 years?
Ans : I want to see myself as a C-Level Executive in the next five years in marketing or business operations. In ten years, I want to be a favored CEO by Private Equity Firms; I want to be favored as a turnaround CEO, like my current CEO, Tony Gerbino. Throughout the private equity world, Tony is known as someone who can rebuild and rebrand organizations to take them to their highest potential. This is my goal to achieve in ten years.
- Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
Ans : There are several organizations that I have deep admiration for. If I were to sum it up to one organization, it would be Apple. Even though Mr. Steve Jobs is no longer with us, I admire that he was one of the people willing to be one of the crazy ones, the people like us who are crazy enough to change the world. Apple will continue to innovate and change the world.
If I were to select a company in my industry, it would be 3M. The 3M culture is one where all its people are proud to be part of the mission, and the company continually focuses on sustainability. They do this by utilizing resources from the local region and recycled materials.
- How important have good employees been to your success?
Ans : You can have an A team managing a B product and be successful; you cannot have a B Team managing an A product and expect great success; the people you choose to recruit, hire, and bring onto your team are everything. Everyone plays a critical role in the mission; you are only as good as that team you surround yourself with.
- How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?
Ans : This is a tricky question because you need to know when to quit. Sometimes it’s time to quit before you even start. There is no set time; it’s about the situation and the circumstances you can control to push it forward. For example, everyone must be on the same page; if you have just one person who is not for the greater good, you need to determine their importance to that mission. If they are replaceable, then you keep going. If they are not, and they are tied to it, then you know it’s time to quit.
- What motivates you?
Ans : I reflect on my childhood and everything I went through. Like every kid, I had my good days and my bad days. Unfortunately, I had more bad days than good ones. I think back to my parent’s struggles, and I know that I do not want history to repeat itself. Some people might think that’s not good for motivation. When you watch everything be taken from you, not have anyone on your side to support, and nowhere to go, it’s one hell of a motivator to push forward.
- What are your ideals?
Ans : My ideas are always aligning towards how to make something better. Whether it’s a new product, service, or existing item, I am always looking to figure out how do I bridge the gap and create more awareness of this idea.
- How do you generate new ideas?
Ans : Outside of this entrepreneurial side, I have a deeply spiritual side that empowers me to meditate. I get information from those meditations, and ideas will come to me without thinking. When I don’t try to push, the new idea shows up.
- How do you define success?
Ans : I define success as a never-ending process. Success is identifying, recognizing, and continually improving to move something to the next level. Sometimes success is something as small as an idea for process improvement, and other times it’s how I influence an age generation to change their buying habits to see more value in my product.
- How do you build a thriving customer base?
Ans : Like the people you hire, it is all in the service you provide to your customers. When I spoke of failure above, I saw what horrible looks like. I’ve had the privilege of working for many companies that have taught me what you do not do in business. The worst part about those companies is that no matter how many times they make the SAME mistake over and over, they don’t learn from it.
Your customers help pay your bills, pay your overhead, and put food on the table for your employee’s families. It is selfish not to consider all those elements in building a thriving customer base. This is what separates short-term success from long-term growth.
The reality is that it is all about your customer. The better the service you provide, the happier the customer becomes, and the more they are willing to promote your products and services to their circle of influence. The successful base results from the training measurements and customer success planning that you put into place before executing. You need to hire, fire, train, develop and promote all based on your service expectations.
It can take you months to years to build a solid customer base, and you can lose them in a few seconds if you don’t keep your eye on the balls.
- What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Ans : It is the ability to know that you can be empowered to make the change you desire. The entrepreneurial mindset is what separates the leaders from the followers. I recognize that if I want something, I have the power to change it. This takes extreme ownership of everything we do, including determining our destinies.
- What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Ans : When you see the final product, and it is ready to go to the market, there was so much that happened to get there, including your naysayers who told you it couldn’t be done.
- What do you feel is the significant difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
Ans : The entrepreneur’s mind doesn’t think about 9 to 5 and days off. Everyone needs time to recharge their batteries and have relaxation. The employee mindset focuses heavily on themselves and what is in it for them. The entrepreneur wants and will do what it takes to get there, even if it means giving up a weekend or several to ensure they are meeting their goals. There are two types of people in this world; those who lead and will always work for those who lead.
- What kind of culture exists in your organization? How did you establish this tone, and why did you institute this particular type of culture?
Ans : The current BodyBilt culture is in a bit of a flux. The company started as a family-owned company and expanded. The culture that I bring forth is transparent, forward-thinking, and entrepreneurial. I recognize that I can’t change everyone, but I can at least lay the foundation with my team for an optimistic culture that empowers leaders and pushes the status quo.
- In a word, characterize your life as an entrepreneur.
Ans : Thriving
- What would you do differently if you had the chance to start your career again?
Ans : I would have stayed in New Jersey until I finished my bachelor’s degree or would not have taken a break in my education. Also, I would have begun developing myself as a leader in my early years by staying in the military and taking advantage of everything the military offers.
Also, I would have thoroughly examined the people or companies that I chose to work for in advance. I would have ensured that it was a long-term career opportunity and not just another idea that someone thought they would change their mind about in a few months.
- How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?
Ans : Sometimes my wife may think I work too much and accuse me of not spending enough time with everyone. What I have learned is that you create balance and appropriate your time. I have learned to accept that it is not about the quantity of time but the quality of time.
- What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?
Ans : The greatest fear I have is the same as anyone with an entrepreneurial mindset; what is my competition thinking, and how will I stay relevant. I realize that we are only as good as our last run. You will quickly learn it’s not about what you have done; it’s about what you have done for me lately; that is how your customers, employees, and vendors will approach you. The days of legacies are over, and the world has shown us this time and time again.
- How did you decide on the location for your business?
Ans : I decided to move to Florida to give my family a better life. BodyBilt initially recruited me to help build this market, which turned into me taking over marketing.
If I had to think about a location for a business, my focus would be on business-friendly places. Places like Texas and Florida have no state income tax for businesses and employees. Governors like Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbot understand the challenges and restrictions on business. The more business-friendly a state can be, the more likely I would want to grow and expand in those areas.
- Do you believe there is some pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?
Ans : There are some similarities, but there are also many differences. You must be willing to do the things that others don’t want to do.
Successful entrepreneurs take 100% responsibility for everything that happens in their organizations. They don’t go pointing fingers and blaming others for the cause of their failures. They recognize that at some point, they caused this failure.
Unsuccessful entrepreneurs tend to blame everyone for their problems. If their business begins to fail, they never accept that they are doing something to cause it. Therefore they eventually fail, fade away, and experience more failure.
- If you could talk to one person from history, who would it be and why?
Ans : Robert Morris was one of the founding fathers. He was one of the first entrepreneurs in America back in the late 1700s. He was technically the first US Secretary of Treasury, called the Superintendent of Finance. He was also the first Senator from PA.
I would want to talk to him because he experienced the highest degrees of success and failure. At one time, he owned large parts of Pennsylvania and New York. He helped fund the war efforts of the Revolutionary War in partnership with George Washington. He also was the reason the bankruptcy code exists. His failures lead to congress passing the Bankruptcy Act of 1800. No entrepreneur ever wants to use this as a primary tool, but all entrepreneurs should know how to protect their assets.
- Who has been your greatest inspiration?
Ans : This is a tricky question because many have been along the way. I would have to say my father, great-grandfather, and great uncle. They all shaped my life in some way. When I examine the outside circle, I look at how people like Darren Hardy, Steve Jobs, and Mark Cuban built their organizations. They all are willing to do the things that others refuse to do.
- What book has inspired you the most? (OR what is your favorite book?)
Ans : Extreme Ownership- This book has helped me see things through different lenses. Still, it has also given me an understanding that the simpler you make the communication with your team, the easier it is for them to perform and do better.
- What are some of the biggest mistakes you’ve made?
- Trusting the wrong people in business, both as potential partners, investors, and employers.
- Recognizing that there were red flags and choosing to ignore them.
- Giving up your power and talent to someone who is not worthy of it.
- Knowing when to quit but choosing to stick around, thinking it might change.
- Tolerating cultures that were abusive and highly ineffective.
- Giving my energy to the wrong people and projects.
- Not protecting myself from the beginning and throughout the process.
- How can you prevent mistakes or do damage control?
Ans : As you can see, I made many mistakes. This has given me many experiences, and my intuition tells me when something is getting ready to happen or is going to happen. I also mentioned above the importance of transparency and being straightforward. Damage control is done by taking proactive steps and tackling the issue immediately. When the appearance of a crisis begins to loom, you tackle it before it gets out of hand.
Also, it is important to ensure everyone understands the processes and procedures. Even if it is managing the players above you, you need to ensure that everyone is following the beat of the same drum.
Lastly, be willing to double-check and triple-check to ensure everything is followed correctly.
- What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
Ans : I try to exercise daily, even though it’s not always possible. Also, I love swimming, martial arts, and meditation.
- What makes you happy?
Ans : Seeing what I do helps change the lives of the people around me for the better.
- What sacrifices have you had to make to be a successful entrepreneur?
Ans : I’ve had to give up many things to get to where I am now. I’ve sacrificed time, money, vacations, activities, and important events that I cannot get back.
- If you were conducting this interview, what question would you ask?
Ans : What made you decide one day that this is what you want, and how did you come to a place of knowing that it is what you want?
1. Business Name: BodyBilt
Address: 1 Bodybilt Place
Phone: (800) 364-5299
Additional Phone Number: (800) 364-7153
GMB Link: https://goo.gl/maps/oR7zd8CiDPGCKwpx5