Brandon Webb, the Navy SEAL
Former Navy SEAL Brandon Webb knows adversity firsthand. Not only did Brandon Webb fight to become a member of one of the world’s most elite special operations forces, but he also managed a team of snipers and went on to complete several deployments to the Middle East.
However, his later mission as a civilian presented this former Navy SEAL with some of the most intricately challenging obstacles he would ever face as he persevered toward his goal of becoming a successful entrepreneur with a thriving and fully-functional business empire.
Brandon Webb, the Entrepreneur
After 13 years of service, Brandon Webb retired from the Navy SEALs to focus on his family and to start a business of his own. He raised $4 million in capital for a start-up that would be a training company in Southern California.
As quickly as Brandon had raised all the capital needed for his first business, it disappeared. Within four years of that initial $4 million raise, Brandon Webb‘s company failed and he lost everything, his business, his life savings, and his marriage. To add insult to injury, Brandon owed a remarkable amount of money to various investors
Learning from Failure is the Only Way to Progress
Up to this poignant and a page-turning moment for Brandon Webb, the former Navy SEAL had been used to a long and steady line of successes. His exploits in SPECOPS instilled unbreakable confidence. Taking on the world of business turned out to be an incredibly humbling experience initially for the former SEAL.
A poor choice in partners was the cause for the company to collapse, according to Brandon. The experience taught him to use patience and care when creating and identifying business partnerships down the road. Despite his desire to move quickly and jump into partnership with the first viable candidate that threw him some change, Webb knew now that a business partnership was much more than the amount of money invested or the connections from the past shared. A successful business partnership had to be nurtured very much in the same manner and with the same energy that one might deal with the ebbs and flows of their relationship with a significant other.
Emotions can blind you and impair your judgment, not allowing you to see that you and your new or potential business partners have uncomplimentary skill sets that will not benefit the business moving forward and will keep you at odds when even the smallest of business decisions are being made. Before long, two conflicting skill sets will lead to incongruous visions for the company which will eventually lead to a company’s demise.
Be Patient and Rebuild
Brandon Webb returned to San Diego after his first business venture went south and consulted his lawyer who offered some profound advice. He suggested that the former Navy SEAL walk away from this failure and look to rebuild his enterprise from the ground up. Brandon was grateful for the perspective and pushed forward. He took a day job with a defense company in San Diego and patiently rebuilt his savings.
Brandon Webb – Author
Brandon Webb started personally blogging while working his day job. His transition from traditional author into blogging member of the interwebs was how Brandon first became aware of a major opportunity staring at him in the face. He noticed that there was a keen public interest in special operations forces and in the missions of the Navy SEALs teams. There were plenty of books, video games, and movies made on the subject. However, a centralized online portal dedicated to the world of special ops did not exist. Brandon could only find a few forums, which were very unfriendly to guys that were not from the community. That’s when it was decided to launch a ‘special ops-themed’ website. It later became a news site titled with the same name, SOFREP which has recently taken the name
NEWSREP evolved into what is now an online forum focused on foreign policy, domestic security and military news. The original site branched out into other concepts resulting in three websites. There has also been a subscription video on demand channel and a few podcasts and a subscription box. From there Brandon Webb built an entire media empire over the next five years. Hurricane Group is currently an eight-figure business featuring a core team of 40 full-time staff members. Growth last year surpassed 200%, and Webb expects a similar increase in the upcoming year.
Brandon Webb’s Simple Concept for Successful Business Evolution
- #1 An entrepreneur must define their short, mid and long-term goals. It’s easy to see and correctly evaluate opportunities that come along when you create a solid plan.
- #2 New ideas either align with your strategy or they don’t. If new ideas don’t support the central focus of your business’s brand, then they are not worth executing.
- #3 Without creating a strategic plan and having goals in place, the business risks wandering from concept to concept, never touching down. With tangible goals in place, staying on the set path during your focused assent toward the company’s weekly, monthly, and yearly expectations.
The Entrepreneur. Round 2.
Brandon Webb started his business with only $10,000 out of his very own pocket. He steered away from raising money for his current company. However, Webb is open to new ideas at this point. He is considering selling a portion of the business to bring the capital needed for much more significant moves. Still ambitious, the former Navy SEAL plans to take on the major cable networks as bigger media companies continue to struggle with their transition to digital. Brandon Webb and his team are digital experts. Hurricane Media would need more capacity to take on such a challenge. The move could only happen after a substantial amount of capital was raised.
Webb suggests that a new entrepreneur should clarify, for themselves, their relationship to money before they even start to think about creating a new business. A wise young entrepreneur should know what their ideal number is for success. Once they have that number carved out, it is simple to recognize the moment they can either grow the business or when it is time to cut your losses, sell, and start over.
The Monetization of a Hurricane
Knowing your audience is the key to being profitable. Brandon Webb and his team have mastered this shrewd ability. They monetize in a way that frees the company from relying entirely on ad revenue. Webb’s team knows how to monetize its audience through organic and paid acquisition via social media. Webb’s secret for monetizing his audience is knowing what they want. Then its a matter of providing them with value and fostering a smart professional relationship.
Surveys are used to understand what the audience wants. The team incentivizes its audience to survey. They give them something in the form of a free login, free product or enticing discounts or new educational content.
Brandon Webb is quick to point out that perfect and polished isn’t always better when it comes to content. The team split tested two Facebook ads videos. One was a two-week production, while they filmed the other on an iPhone.
To Webb’s surprise, the latter performed better in Facebook ads than the expensive production. He learned that engaging content doesn’t have to be perfect and polished to add value.
The Entrepreneur Plans
Brandon Webb goes away for three or four days every November to plan the upcoming year. Within next year’s plan, he sets specific goals into three categories:
Everything else seems to fall into place once Webb has these three major life components situated and spoken for. Through this simple categorization, recognizing new opportunities and, furthermore, deciding whether they are worth extra focus becomes an effortless task. Webb declines concepts that have the potential to be a distraction.
The Future Always Deserves a Strategy
Webb schedules a strategy session with his team before the start of the new year each year. During this session, he presents a generalized business plan for the next year and tasks his teammates with contributing their portion. He feels like it is essential to involve the team and be sure that they buy-in.
The former Navy SEAL turned media empire owning entrepreneur emphasizes the importance of consistently listening to every player on your team. A genius idea can come from any corner of the room at any moment which is why consistent listening can be a valuable asset.
Ideas From Unexpected Places
Example: The idea for Hurricane Media’s subscription box, Crate Club, came from a teammate’s suggestion during one of these end-of-year sessions. Brandon Webb will be the first to tell you that the idea has become a massive hit among consumers and an undeniable moneymaker for the company.