Loren Howard didn’t plan to be an entrepreneur at first. At first, he wanted to be a professional athlete, and he joined the football team at Northwestern University, where he played defense. However, an injury forced him to consider other career options. For him, since he grew up with entrepreneurs who made their own mark on the world, the choice was easy. His first stab at entrepreneurship came in 2007, when he launched Alternative Web Media, an “Internet design, development, and SEO company.” The company has since grown enough that it now has associates in the US and India, serving the needs of global players.
This success only drove Loren Howard to achieve more. In 2013, he founded Alpha Direct Compounding, with the mission to change lives. He pursued his work at the company with his “love, understanding, compassion, warmth, and kindness.” As a leader, he wants to inspire and motivate his team to achieve success constantly and to realize their true potential. As an entrepreneur, he wants to make his vision of putting people in the best position to succeed and supplying them with the “best resources, training, and trust” a reality. He wants his team to “maximize both their personal potential and overall efficiency.”
Currently, Loren Howard also owns Prime Plus Mortgages, which helps people buy properties or homes despite lacking “upfront capital” or “ability to qualify for a conventional loan.”
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Jerome Knyszewski: Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
Loren Howard: I moved around a lot as a kid, but always had a laser focus and infinity for sports. I played college football, which was an amazing experience. I was always willing to go the extra mile and grind it out until I got to the next level. Combined with my laser focus it made me a great player.
My Freshman year of college, I was a Freshman All American Defensive End and Big Ten Defensive Freshman of the year. Sophomore year, I was All Conference Defensive End, and Junior year Preseason Mel Kiper ranked me the second defensive end to go in the draft. The third pick went first in the draft (Mario Williams) and the guy ahead of me went 10th that year in the draft. Unfortunately, I got injured, and never really recovered properly, and couldn’t really complete at the same level.
After football ended, I took my focus, ambition, and decided I was going to go into business for myself. Business was completely foreign to me. I dug deep and learned everything I possibly could to become successful. Nothing in business was an overnight success, and it required the same drive, determination and focus that football did.
I learned so much from my first business, that I call it my ‘MBA’. For me, business was the school of hard knocks. It will bulldoze you if you have your head in the sand, so you have to constantly be learning more about your industry. While my first business was not a success, my biggest takeaways were all of the relationships and skills I learned. I take the learning approach to each new venture I start.
Jerome Knyszewski: Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?
Loren Howard: It’s not in my nature to quit. After football ended, I fell into a pretty dark place. It was hard to reimagine what my life would look like without playing. One thing that helped me reframe my future was a Tony Robbins seminar.
I was constantly reading and learning, and he inspired me to read the book ‘The 7 habits of successful people’. This really helped me shift to being a principled person, and help me find out who I was, and who I wanted to be.
Additionally, my first company never went anywhere, which was a pretty big setback. I was determined to be a success, and looked at the positive side of that. It was a great learning experience and I had made so many new relationships and had the skills I needed to do it right the next time. I now take great pride in my ability to lead and grow a team, and having the right people with all my current businesses and projects.
I’ve always been an achiever and a driver, it’s a part of my DNA. When you launch a business, you have to have the vision and the will to make it a reality. Nothing in business will be an overnight success. You have to be determined to be a success.
Jerome Knyszewski: Based on your experience and success, what are the most important things one should know in order to lead a company from Good to Great? Please share a story or an example for each.
Loren Howard: Business changes quickly, and you need to know what is coming and how to adapt. For example, the taxi industry. Ridesharing has completely overtaken them and made them obsolete. If they move to driverless cars, taxis will be wiped out. You should always be looking on the horizon, looking for disrupters and move quickly. You need to be in front of it and have a game plan.
Additionally, you need to spend as much time as possible growing your team. You always need to have the right people and the right team; you need to have a structure to empower your people to grow and lead. With the right team in place you can almost do anything. Empower them to constantly learn, grow, and lead for you!
Jerome Knyszewski: Extensive research suggests that “purpose driven businesses” are more successful in many areas. Can you help articulate for our readers a few reasons why a business should consider becoming a purpose driven business, or consider having a social impact angle?
Loren Howard: With a purpose driven business, it’s easy to rally everyone around what your mission is. It makes it easy to resonate with your audience and build morale and goodwill.
While every business wants to have great profits and results, it is a self-serving purpose that makes it easy to lose motivation. With a purpose driven company, it keeps you focused and aligned and continues to have the juice and motivation to keep going.
A purpose driven company is empowering for your customers, and employees, and makes them want to share in your success.
Jerome Knyszewski: As you know, “conversion” means to convert a visit into a sale. In your experience what are the best strategies a business should use to increase conversion rates?
Loren Howard: You need to systematically increase your touch points, and add value each time. Every interaction should increase recognition and trust in your brand, and studies have shown that you need over 9 touch points before a sale is made. Every interaction with a customer or client should emphasize the value and benefit of your business.
I would add, track everything! What gets measured gets improved. If you aren’t tracking your content, your touch points, your sales and marketing funnel you won’t be able to tell what areas could be improved or know what areas you should focus on!
Jerome Knyszewski: Of course, the main way to increase conversion rates is to create a trusted and beloved brand. Can you share a few ways that a business can earn a reputation as a trusted and beloved brand?
Loren Howard: Social proof, so use social media and google to your advantage. Show people that you operate with integrity, go above and beyond, and do good to the people you serve. Great customer service and great customer experience are essential to build a beloved brand and essential to be successful in general.
Jerome Knyszewski: How can our readers further follow you online?
Loren Howard: You can find me on:
Jerome Knyszewski: This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!