Participant Spotlight on… Josh Brackett
EBV-SU 2017 welcomed aspiring veteran entrepreneurs to Syracuse University. Each one came with a unique story to tell. Here’s one of them. Meet Josh Brackett.
Innovation and re-inventing the wheel have always been good strategies for rejuvenating a business. EBV participant Josh Brackett is hoping to apply these ideals to an industry.
“I want to do call centers – a little bit off the beaten path,” he said.
Brackett has enjoyed a successful career in the media industry, splitting his time between Los Angeles and New York City. He wants to build his own business, though, to “be in charge of [his] own destiny.”
To do that, he plans to take another look at how call centers for businesses are run, and with the help of a partner who has been working with call centers for years, begin an entrepreneurial venture to change the way they are managed.
“It’s easy to sell to investors, you know, ‘we’ll be the app that delivers food,’ and they’re like, ‘yeah – we’ve got it.’ But for a lot of the investors that I’m speaking to, they say, ‘call centers? Those are like, ten percent margins,” he said. “I have to be like, ‘yeah, they’re ten percent this way, but if you change these three things, you can have a 35% margin.’”
In the current model, he said, many of these centers are run by large companies. That doesn’t always allow for a responsive company culture or a sense of employee empowerment. A smaller model with more interactive leadership would.
“It really comes down to management and leadership being so important,” he said. “It’s amazing to see how dysfunctional places can be when they’re poorly managed, and that really affects the bottom line.”
Brackett recognizes that each employee brings a different set of experiences to the workplace, and each of those experiences can be leveraged in different ways.
“The smartest people I’ve ever worked with have never even finished college. I work in an industry in a big city like New York where it’s very much about credentials and where you went to school,” he said. “If you can strip that out and say, ‘that’s a small part of the story, but there’s a bigger part,’ I think you can find people who can drive incremental value.
He says his four years in the U.S. Army were instrumental in helping him learn how to recognize the unique talents that each person brings to the table. As the team leader for the 75th Ranger Regiment, he was often required to help guide his team through challenges both big and small.
He recalls one particular story about a time when he had to put himself in both his mentee’s shoes and the shoes of a member of that person’s team.
“I remember I was coaching one of my young team leaders, and one of the guys on his team ended up getting a divorce. It was this big issue,” he said. “I remember saying to him, ‘you know, you’re responsible. I’m not saying you should get into his marital life, but if he’s not functioning at work, you’re a non-commissioned officer, it’s your job to be aware of that.’ It’s about really being involved with people and caring.”
Brackett’s management skills and positivity in leadership extend to his immediate team, too. He’s excited to launch his call centers and is confident that his ideas will pay off in part because of his faith in those he works with.
“I have a clear belief in myself and my team,” he said, “strong enough to say, ‘we’re gonna make this happen.’”