Authority Magazine Interview With Brendan Heegan

Being a CEO sounds impressive, but it’s not for everyone. You need a diverse skill set, an optimistic soul and a pessimistic wallet… and leadership is a daunting role to play.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Brendan Heegan the Founder of Boxzooka Fulfillment & Global eCommerce. Headquartered in New Jersey with satellite operations around the country, Boxzooka is a fulfillment center with international landed-cost technology and proprietary warehouse management systems it also licenses, focusing on servicing the logistics needs of online retailers. Brendan has nearly 20 years of experience in transportation, fulfillment and distribution, both domestically and Internationally. He started Boxzooka because he saw consolidation happening in the marketplace, creating a need for more competition and more customizable solutions for best-in-class fulfillment management and technology solutions.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us the story about what brought you to this specific career path?

My background in logistics and business development has taken me to over 75 countries in ten years, and opened my eyes to countless possibilities for my career. These journeys have included tours of hundreds of transportation and fulfillment operations, and the business has always fascinated me. When working for other companies, I never felt truly in control of being able to provide my clients with the level of service and support that I wanted them to receive. At some point, I realized that if I truly wanted to be able to take my clients to the destination I was promising, I’d have to find my own ship.

Can you share one of the major challenges you encountered when first leading the company? What lesson did you learn from that?

There is no shortage of challenges. We initially launched with a technology product, the road was rocky and lined with brilliant technology savvy personalities lacking business experience. I loved the passion of the team, but I knew the business plan needed to evolve to include a real infrastructure behind our business. After winning our first technology client from a laptop in my basement, we quickly moved into a strategy to offer more comprehensive services, like transportation and fulfillment. Once we started bringing on the right people, not only in technology, but also operations, sales, and finance to foster scalable growth.

What are some of the factors that you believe led to your eventual success?

Never give up. Over the first couple of years, I had figuratively fallen down on numerous occasions and had to pick myself up, dust off, and continued to move forward. At first, it was hard to consider not giving up, or taking more risks, after a few times of coming out ahead, it became second nature that failure was not an option.

Finding good people that were willing to take a risk with me. Our technology provided the foundation for great service, but our people deliver every day for our clients… I personally have great satisfaction in creating jobs for people and doing good work for our clients.

The company eventually began to grow. Winning some key clients helped us further scale operations, open new facilities and expand our amazing team.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became CEO”? Please share a story or example for each.

Consumer expectations are high. There are disruptors in the marketplace that set expectations for free fulfillment services, free transportation, and one hour delivery is the standard. Those “standards” are unrealistic.

Most e-commerce companies do not make money… We always hear the success stories… but the real track record of most online businesses is a struggle to grow and thrive, we continue to work with our clients to obtain success for them.

There are so many good resources available today including podcasts, TV Shows and YouTube. Listen to Ted Talks and shows like “how I built this”, even popular TV shows like Shark Tank and The Profit… all of these tools can provide insight to running a business. Even the simplest of ideas can turn your business for you.

Being a CEO sounds impressive, but it’s not for everyone. You need a diverse skill set, an optimistic soul, and a pessimistic wallet… and leadership is a daunting role to play.

Building teams that know how to collaborate and work through issues is key. You can’t do it all yourself. You need to be able to delegate well and you shouldn’t do things that you are not capable of doing well.

What advice would you give to your colleagues to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Entrepreneurs are wired to work hard and usually get a charge out of the challenges. It is not surprising to endure peaks and valleys and you need to be prepared for the hardships that can take you away from a “normal life” (trying not to say work/life balance). That said, getting your vision into a business plan is critical at the start and surrounding yourself with great people is mandatory. Everyone needs to nurture their own existence with some fuel to avoid the burn… my dogs help me stay grounded — unconditional love and they make me get outside everyday. Maybe consider a dog friendly work environment, I’ve seen how they brighten the mood and it’s also great to have company on those late nights at the office.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

I had several great mentors in my sales career who emphasized building solid relationships internally and externally. I was always impressed by the business owner/founder who seemed to know everyone in the company by name and was in tune with all aspects of the operation.

Before starting Boxzooka, I witnessed an acquisition of a company with an entrepreneurial leader that impressed me, both with the business model and the straightforward approach dealing with people. It inspired me to say to myself “I can do that.”

What are some of the goals you still have and are working to accomplish, both personally and professionally?

Scaling a business this rapidly has interrupted some of my personal goals around travel, beaches, ski runs, national parks, and family. I’m working on molding the next generation Boxzooka leaders and hope to shift to a more “balanced life” in the not too distant future.

What do you hope to leave as your lasting legacy?

A quality business that gave a lot of people great careers and provided them with opportunities. Happy clients are a part of a lasting legacy.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would enhance people’s lives in some way, what would it be? You never know what your idea can trigger!

I don’t feel like a person of great influence. If I could start a movement that helped people have more fun in their lives it would be hugely satisfying… I’ll get to work on that tonight!

How can our readers follow you on social media?

We are @Boxzooka on Instagram and Facebook

Written by Fotis Georgiadis

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