Jason Kavanaugh, president and CEO of Concorde Holdings in Livonia, a private financial advising firm comprised of Concorde Investment Services, Concorde Asset Management, and Concorde Insurance Agency, and coordinated
the 2012 Entrepreneurs’ Organization Thrive event in Detroit. DBusiness Daily News interviewed Kavanaugh about his current role at Concorde and his thoughts on Detroit’s business landscape and what it takes to be an entrepreneur.
1. DDN: What do you focus on as president and CEO of Concorde Holdings?
JK: As president and CEO of Concorde Holdings, I focus on three things: on people, passion, and purpose. I strive to help people discover their passion and work with purpose, while ensuring that they continue to evolve as people. When our people find their passion and their purpose, we see them offering dynamic services. I also ensure the company’s success by making sure we offer quality products for financial professionals, and that they are able to provide a holistic view of their clients’ financial goals.
2. DDN: What do you think EO brings to Detroit?
JK: Being in Detroit is phenomenal in that it allows like-minded entrepreneurs to share their various experiences centered on business, personal, and family lives. A lot of Detroit’s comeback and revitalization as a major city has been rooted in entrepreneurs and small business owners opening their doors. Having a formal organization that’s been around for years provides the backbone to support energy and the ideas that Detroit so desperately needed for its comeback. These business owners and members of EO Detroit have decided to stay or rebuild in the city, or the surrounding areas, and they find opportunity instead of just leaving and going elsewhere. So I think Michigan as a whole has strengthened its backbone in a number of industries because of EO Detroit.
3. DDN: From its founding in 1701, Detroit prospered by building nearly everything before modern transportation was established. Do you still see that entrepreneurial spirit here?
JK: Absolutely, I think that Detroit encapsulates a long history of entrepreneurs that have displayed true grit and tenacity, through not only the good times, but the bad times, too. Its people have exemplified the entrepreneurial spirit, which has been an integral part of the city as its been roaring back from the bad times that its faced. It’s a great American comeback story.
4. DDN: You’ve worked in different capacities at different companies, have you seen any commonalities regarding what it takes to be successful?
JK: I do. A common denominator for the companies that I’ve accrued and been able to work with is again the people. Most businesses, if not all, are people-oriented, not product oriented. It’s the people that make the businesses work, and when you’re dealing with so many different employees, stakeholders, and clients, it’s important to come together as one team who can provide solutions and overcome other people’s challenges. And you can’t do that unless you have the right people in the right seats. Being able to work together and develop those action plans is very rewarding because it helps people maximize their own potential and evolve, and so does the company. So that’s definitely a common denominator, no matter what the industry, it’s going to come down to people.
5. DDN: Do you have any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs as far as what it’s going to take?
JK: I think it’s a combination of factors, in terms of having the belief in yourself, and knowing that your idea or service is valid and warranted, relevant, and fills a need or void that people want or desire. It won’t be easy, especially in the beginning, to launch your idea, but to begin that process you have to have the drive and perseverance of plowing through those roadblocks and getting through the resistance, the naysayers. You have to have the belief and the commitment that comes from knowing that you are delivering a quality product or service that is relevant. Many people will tell you that you can’t do it, or that you shouldn’t go for it, but as long as you still have that belief in yourself, then just stick to your guns and go for it, and make your dreams materialize.