Bryan Bowles is the CEO of Transactly. Bryan is a thought leader, influencer, visionary, and successful entrepreneur. Bryan provides the leadership and energy that has inspired the creation of Transactly. Bryan Bowles joins other leading CEOs and Founders taking part in our Leader Roundtable Interview Series. The DotCom Magazine editorial team has recently awarded Transactly with our Impact Company of 2019 award. We are delighted to have Bryan join us for our Leader Roundtable Interview and our popular “speed round” as well.
Bryan, thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy day for this interview about your company, leadership, and entrepreneurship.
1. What is the “elevator pitch” for Transactly?
Transactly organizes and coordinates the messy and chaotic offer-to-close process of buying and selling homes.
2. What is the key to your company’s success?
You know, I’ve started a handful of companies in addition to Transactly, so I’m reluctant to call us a success just yet. We are still a young company, and we’re doing very well. But we still have a long road to go before we’re at scale. That said, I can contribute our success so far, and the success of my other companies to one thing: delivering an outstanding customer experience. We do this by listening and championing every single one of them. The real estate agents, homebuyers, sellers, and real estate investors that have given us a shot so far have provided us with invaluable feedback that’s has been instrumental in our growth– and will continue to be as we scale up.
3. Many of our readers are just starting to build a company. What advice can you give entrepreneurs just starting out with a new venture?
Start by defining the finish lines. There are two outcomes of your business: Success and Failure. The problem I see with most first-time entrepreneurs is that they don’t define either of these things, especially failure. Success is the easier of those two things to define, but when I ask the following question to first-time entrepreneurs, they rarely have an answer: “What will cause you to give up on your business?” Saying that you won’t give up is not an answer. For me, if it came down to keeping my business or keeping my wife and kids – I know what my decision would be. So, unless that situation arises, there is nothing that will stop me from succeeding. Entrepreneurs need to really think about this, write down the answer, and then never even consider quitting unless that line is approached.
4. For other entrepreneurs seeking to build a business as successful as yours, what advice can you give them when times get a little challenging?
In our instant-gratification, media-driven world, it’s easy to lose the level of patience that’s truly required for success. Building a business is a marathon, not a sprint. It will take time, and you will trip and fall many times along the way. I’ll refer back to what I mentioned earlier – define your quitting point, and do not quite unless you reach that point. Along the way, here are a couple practical tips I give others that have helped me through challenging times over the years: 1.) Do some form of vigorous exercise every day to keep your energy levels up, and your mind clear. And, 2.) Find a peer group to share your challenges and big wins with – it’ll provide you with priceless support and perspective.
5. How important is the commitment to client satisfaction at Transactly, and how do you make sure your customers will become raving fans of your company?
It’s absolutely critical, and it’s about sticking to the basics: listening, and being helpful. The improvements we make to our technology and services are 100% based on our customers’ feedback. And by including our customers in a lot of the product decisions we’ve made, has won us some very loyal and supportive fans for life. Beyond that, it’s really not that difficult to have to raving fans. Just be nice, responsive and helpful. It’s not rocket science. We’ve found that in the very early days, even when our application was bare bones – and difficult to use – we won over raving fans simply by treating customers how we’d expect to be treated.
6. In today’s fast changing business environment, how do you stay abreast of things?
I tread lightly in this area, and avoid paying too much attention to competition and minutia of the industry. That’s tough to do, but I’ve found that it can be a real distraction and limits creativity. I check-in to industry news sources about every other week. Other than that, staying abreast to me means listening to my employees and my customers – that’s what I’ve found has enabled me to make the best decisions. Decisions that have really moved the needle for our business.
7. What is your “Why”? Why do you get up in the morning, and how do you keep yourself at peak performance to lead Transactly?
You’ve gotta love Simon Sinek! Honestly, I don’t know that I have a ‘why,’ but I know what you’re asking and let me try to break it down. I have an extremely competitive, and obsessive-driven personality. I’ve found that my obsessions are often based on that success finish line I define. Once I have that in place, I’m absolutely relentless in achieving it. So, that’s why I have to define a finish line for failing, too – otherwise, I’ll just keep going. I would imagine others that have taken this interview, would align their ‘why’ with the business they’re currently building. I guess I could do that, too. But honestly, had I found a gap in the women’s high-heel industry a few years ago, that’s the industry I’d probably be dominating now, rather than real estate. Don’t get me wrong, I love real estate. But even more than that, I love business, taking on challenges, and competing… no matter what the game is. So, you asked a couple other questions. Why do I get up in the morning? 1. Ultimately, my family – just about everything I do now is to provide for and inspire my kids. 2. My employees, who are some of the smartest, most loyal people I know – that for some reason put up my craziness on a daily basis! And of course, 3. the finish lines that I’ve defined for myself. How do I keep myself in peak performance? I work out at least an hour a day, eat clean – mainly meat and vegetables, and read as many books as possible.
8. Can you recommend a book that has had an influence in your career? How did it influence you?
Where do I start?! There are so many great books. There are several great non-fiction books – the books most people would mention for this interview. But there are also a lot of great fiction – Ayn Rand’s novels have certainly had an influence on me. The most recent book I’ve read, which has really changed my perspective on goal-setting is ‘Measure What Matters’ by John Doerr. I’ve read it twice in the last six months. It is, and will continue to influence how I lead companies going forward. For any entrepreneur who’s unfamiliar with OKRs, I’d highly recommend the book.
9. When communicating with your staff, can you tell us the most important thing you do so that they are able to carry out the objectives that you set forth at Transactly?
I’ve tried several different approaches with this over the years, and no matter how you go about it, it boils down to setting very clear expectations. We’re just now implementing OKRs with Transactly, and they are by far the most effective, transparent, and measurable way of not only carrying out, but also measuring our company’s objectives. We collectively define our OKRs as a company, and then I set out very clear expectations that every decision or new project we make should able to be measured in the KRs – the key results – we’ve set.
10. Can you explain what leadership means to you?
Inspiring individuals to come together and accomplish something that’s bigger than what we can do by ourselves.
We would like to have some fun and do a “speed round” with you! We will ask you ten more questions that we want you to answer in just one to three words only.
Here you go!
1. In three words or less, what makes a successful CEO?
Setting clear expectations
2. Describe your business in one word?
3. Describe your customers in one word?
4. What one attribute do you look for when hiring an employee?
5. What is the one word you want your customers to say about your company?
6. In three words or less, describe your passion?
Helping others succeed
Bryan Bowles, thank you so much for sitting down with us for our DotCom Magazine Leader Roundtable Interview Series. We very much appreciate the time you spent helping our readers learn more about what it takes to be a leader. We wish you, your family, and of course Transactly, nothing but the best.
Bryan Bowles, CEO of Transactly, The Leader Roundtable Interview Series