Community and Empathetic Action as a Philosophy for Living
As an Intrapreneur studying to become an entrepreneur, I was a bit nervous meeting Jason Loeb. His reputation for building effective entrepreneurial organizations had already preceded him. In the South Florida business community Jason Loeb is something of a legend, having forged several successful public-facing companies. We met over coffee for this article at his Sudsies North Miami boutique (for a meet and greet). A few minutes ahead of schedule, Jason came strolling in with a warm smile and an outstretched hand that revealed a firm but warm handshake.
It was a handshake that conveyed every single one of the over 27 years of his experience at the helm of “the people business.” It was then that I realized that I was in for a great conversation. A conversation that more than skims the surface of his origins in the entrepreneurial space as we dived into his philosophies on empathy, total ownership, and how to succeed as an entrepreneur (by succeeding in the people business).
Early Life: From Brooklyn to the Jersey Shore
From the tender age of ten, Jason spent his summers traveling with his father, from his native Brooklyn in support of the family’s “carnival and the state fair” business down at the Jersey Shore. In those days, (from Memorial Day to Labor Day) tens of thousands from all walks of life flocked to the shore for sun, fun and entertainment and Jason was right there in the mix (learning through experience skills that continue to serve him to this day). Reminiscing on classic fair games such as “put the ball in the basket” and “pop the balloon with the dart”, he recalls not being intimidated by the crowds. In fact, Jason wasn’t timid at all about meeting people (this came naturally). What did require study and practice was the art of “connecting with strangers quickly.” “Quick Connecting”, he says “is a skill that proved to be not only advantageous in business but it is also a skill that informs my connection with people to this day.”
Jason’s mindset has always been service based. His propensity for action that is empathetic, of those around him, is what allows him to thrive in diverse communities. For example: Jason fosters a strong diverse culture at Sudsies. Jason managed to attract and retain what may be the smartest team in the dry-cleaning business. The management team at Sudsies originated on disparate continents, encompass multiple languages, ethnicities and generations yet all work together as a smooth, well-oiled machine. The very picture of a diverse organization. Each contributing his/her life experience, insights and skills towards building the best guest experience possible. Everyone continues to grow leaps and bounds with Jason’s leadership serving as the hub.
Enjoy what you do, and you will smile too.
Long ago, Sudsies adopted a yellow smiley face as a quasi-mascot. The function of that mascot becomes a bit clearer when observing Jason in his natural element. He’s always smiling: smiling at opportunities, smiling at people, smiling while swiftly dealing with any unexpected situation, smiling at life, smiling at the wins, and smiling while always taking decisive action.
“Entrepreneurs whether successful or not raised their hands and volunteered to do two things: solve problems and create opportunities.” In Jason’s daily life accomplishing both is guaranteed to bring a smile to his face.
Connecting is critical.
“Jason is a one-man deal-flow and with him, the genesis of every deal is the personal connection with his future partners” observes Jerry Delince, Sudsies’ CMO. Ultimately all business is about people. Jason’s team understands that connecting with people, introducing people to each other, helping people, and meeting new people is a foundational component of success. With Jason, this is not something he turns on or off, it’s something that’s so automatic it’s a given. No matter the environment.
Seeing how all the departments interacted functionally and interpersonally at Sudsies I was inspired. In Jason I saw that the decision made by an entrepreneur aren’t only about getting results, but they must ultimately be about team building. Actions demonstrably showcase WHY he does the things that he does. Every decision is about being fully invested in service. Counting on your staff, colleagues and moreover the systems developed to produce something much deeper than just what is being observed on the surface.
It’s not just about good customer service, it’s about meeting people’s needs so that they can reveal a smile (in what may be, an otherwise, smile-less day). It’s about keeping a positive feedback loop going (in business, in friendships, in family relations, in our communities, and in society). The only way to accomplish these outcomes is by developing strong interpersonal bonds.
Jason Loeb isn’t just proof that entrepreneurship can be done and done successfully, and the lesson here isn’t just a case study on the life of an entrepreneur and how he lives. Jason Loeb is a shining example that inspires entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs alike to realize that it’s not only possible for one to succeed in business, but it is possible to do so kindly, with optimism, while truly forging meaningful human bonds. Happily, this strategy also yields dividends in the entrepreneur’s personal life and benefits the broader community as well.
Jason reminds us through example, that we should all perpetuate the cycle of connecting, with giving going from one generation to the next generation. It is this spirit that Jason lives, carries with him, and abides by, and it is in everything he does. He is always freely sharing and giving, not just with partners and guests, but also with other entrepreneur’s that are in the sectors that he’s invested in.
TEN TIPS for Every Entrepreneur:
- Energy matters. Have a sense for people and be cognizant of the fact that your energy will flow to others. Negative or positive, people are always engaged in a feedback loop, so make sure to initiate and maintain a positive one.
- Giving and sharing. Don’t be afraid of giving without an expectation of receiving. Sharing knowledge, insights and even the tiniest bit of advice when they originate from a selfless place is felt by everyone around you.
- Take total ownership and responsibility for the good and for the bad you create.
- Establish and maintain high standards for yourself and others.
- Say what you mean and mean what you say. Do the things you do because they are the right things to do.
- Remember that no matter what… you are part of a community. As a human being, you will always be a part of the community so take the opportunity, to do good.
- Maintain and be always open to viewing events from a sympathetic vantage point. The more you can relate to others, the more one can put themselves in others’ shoes, the more connected and better the interaction will be.
- Never underestimate your ability to make a positive impact on someone’s life.
- Leave people with the knowledge that you truly saw them and heard them.
- Guard your reputation jealously. Your name and the actions associated with your name are your business brand and your personal brand – and you are the architect of that brand.