Darien Dash is the CEO and creator of The Movement Management firm, a company that focuses on providing strategic advice to a range of clients in the capital markets, banking, media sports, entertainment, and cannabis industries. He is a nationally-recognized entrepreneur and philanthropist who initially found his success by building a marketing and internet empire.
Over the last three decades, Dash has developed an impressive resume. In the early 1990s, while Dash was attending the University of Southern California, he partnered with his cousin and created the record label Roc-A-Bloc Records. In their initial years, Dash made over $200,000. Following graduation, Dash took his expertise elsewhere and established DME Interactive Holdings. Six years after launching the company, Dash became the first African American man to own a company that went public.
Since then, he has continued to utilize his expertise and skills with multiple companies in New York. He has worked as managing director at Precient Acquisition Group, managing director and portfolio manager at Centurion Credit Hedge Funds, and partner at Pentagon Partners. Today he serves as Director at 414 Media Advisors, director at Dunkin Donuts Franchise Growth Partners, and managing director at The Movement Management Advisors.
Through the years, Dash has developed a unique strategy to open pathways for his future. Not one to be stingy with his knowledge, he is nationally recognized for encouraging aspiring entrepreneurs and generously sharing his experiences, the insights he has gained from them, and his philosophy for success.
“The idea of the company grew from our day-to-day business activities that we’ve been providing for our clients for the past twenty years.”
When interviewed about how his ideas come to fruition, Dash divulged one of the biggest secrets that entrepreneurs need to recognize – the best ideas come over time. Most entrepreneurs have dozens of ideas before they find the one that proves to be successful and they need to realize this hard truth. You cannot give up after one failure, but instead continue trying new ideas on a daily basis, introducing new systems into your business, and adjusting accordingly. This will provide you with the insight that you need to expand your business.
“We don’t discriminate based on the status or stature of our clients. Some are just getting started and some are very successful investors or successful CEOs and executives at large corporations.”
What prompted Dash to start his company was the discrimination he witnessed at his first job after college. He was hired as sales and marketing director at Digital Media Express (DMX), a cable company that offered thirty music channels to its customers. However, the services were not available in urban areas. Dash noticed the opportunity in these markets and therefore left his position and launched his own company. He delved into a multi-trillion-dollar industry and found great success. At a young age he recognized that all clients can bring potential revenue. Today, he supports other entrepreneurs to recognize the same opportunities in previously unpredicted and untapped markets.
“We try to take an approach of finding out what’s important, every client has different kinds of needs, and ultimately, we focus on the outcome that they want to have.”
Dash notes how important it is to understand that every client is different. This is one that can be difficult to grasp, especially when business owners are trying to create a system for a specific aspect of the company. However, if you are in sales, you are in the people business. With this in mind, a business owner must be willing to adapt to each client appropriately to determine how they can help them achieve their personal goals.
“I attempt to find a balance between being flexible with my clients’ needs, but sticking to a process that works and repeating it in a dogged way.”
Although you want to adapt to each client, you must ensure that your business operates strategically. That is, all processes, such as acquisitions and proposals (just an example), need to be conducted in one fashion. This is to save time and money in the company’s operations. Once the client is on board, then restructuring the platform to their needs will be necessary.
“When you’re in the high growth of business and experience success, you have to be cognizant and aware of keeping and setting your goals. I believe that you harvest the things that you’ve grown and simply must plant your seed again.”
Never forget your goals! One of the biggest challenges that successful entrepreneurs encounter is keeping their workflow progressing. They often feel that their financial success is enough to keep the business operating. However, with changing technologies and consumer demands, it is essential that business owners continuously remain cognizant of their goals so that they can restructure their business model accordingly.
“Keep an eye on your P&L and your balance sheet… know financially where your spending is going and where your income is coming from exactly… become intimately involved in that process to the extent that it becomes a habit.”
For a business to succeed, it needs to make a profit. Unfortunately, close to 20% of startups fail in their first year and 50% fail by their fifth year. With these stunning statistics, it is imperative that all business owners understand in detail their P&L. They must have immense insight on the expenses that the company is incurring and have a strategy to ensure that their business model maintains a financial profit. When business owners become lenient on expenses, they tend to decline in future potential.
“I don’t know if it’s one strategy necessarily that has helped me grow my business as much as just putting the client first and being here to serve. At the end of the day, my job is to serve.”
Never forget who you are doing business for. Every business created is meant to serve clients, and business owners cannot forget this. Without clients, there is no revenue. This is a simple piece of advice that should be prevalent in every entrepreneur’s mind on a daily basis: Always put the client first and the business margins will follow in line.
“You have to have a thick skin and a short memory. Whether you’re an athlete, entertainer, or executive, you have to be willing to hear “no” and be willing to learn from your failures, until failure and success almost feel the same to you.”
Don’t get discouraged by rejection – it is the path of every entrepreneur. If building a business were that simple, everyone would do it and everyone would find financial freedom. However, the reality is that the path is tedious and difficult, and rejection is a normal part of the journey. Instead of thinking of it as rejection, consider it an opportunity to learn and grow. When you are no longer discouraged by hearing “no,” you know that you are in the right mindset.
“Taking the time to spend time with your family and get quality time with your family is priceless. You’ll never get that time back.”
Always remember that business is not all of it – in the midst of the crazy hours and ongoing pressures, continue to spend time with your family. This mindset is what sets Dash apart from many other entrepreneurs. He does not believe that work is the primary goal; it’s spending quality time with family and loved ones. This is not a hindering belief, but a motivating mindset that establishes the reasons why success is so important.
Be sure to read Darien Dash’s industry expertise on his Medium blog