Learn something from everyone you encounter throughout the course of the day. Every day and each person is an opportunity to learn something new.

 

Dante Michael Anthony Vitoria is a man with humble, working-class roots. He is proud to have learned his work ethic from his immigrant parents who were determined to work hard and make a living for their family. The lifelong lessons he learned from them have been the foundation for his successes.

Dante is a graduate of NYU and Columbia. He is a proud member of the Knights of Columbus and is very active in his church. As a three-time cancer survivor, he has learned to share his experience and knowledge with others through a variety of media outlets and a personal blog.

Dante Vitoria is a happily married man who is also the proud fur-parent to a three-pound Yorkshire Terrier. This furry child keeps his life full and completes his family.

Besides being the owner and sole shareholder of the Vitoria Group, Dante Michael Anthony Vitoria is also the owner of Links to Legends. Links to Legends focuses on creating and organizing golf outings and celebrity speaking events. The Vitoria Group is a company that is built around their clients. They offer multiple ways to help a company, such as a venture capital and consulting. The Vitoria Group also works with mergers and acquisitions and assists in finding active and working minority partners for new businesses.

Where did the idea for The Vitoria Group, LLC come from?

This is the work I was trained to do. I worked for other firms for the early part of my career and developed a knowledge base that continues to benefit me. Many men and women on Wall Street would love to have their own firm. It takes a lot of courage and a cast iron stomach to step out on your own. It can be very rewarding, and it has been for me. I’m really glad that I took the opportunity to do it.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

Every day is spent going over emails and weeding through proposals. Because I have been sorting the weeds from the chaff for some time now, I can read through the information efficiently and identify the best opportunities.

It takes a discerning eye to make reviewing proposals productive. More people are looking for financing than there are people with the ability to finance. It takes a special kind of person to be able to identify a good opportunity for investors. It also takes a special type of person to be able to identify the potential for one and make this clear to a possible client.

My day is always busy catering to clients and reviewing projects.

How do you bring ideas to life?

When one of my associates bring me a project, I take the time to review the business plan and research applicable details to ensure viability and sustainability. Identifying sustainability is important. This includes being able to answer the questions: Is this a company that will repay the lenders? What will the equity be in 2 years or 10 years down the road? Once I believe I know the answers to these questions, I finance the project or work to gain financing for the project.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Our current president’s emphasis on business. He has proven he is not a politician but a CEO with the business acumen necessary to move this country forward in a way that will benefit everyone.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I have a strong work ethic and a clear sense of self. Whatever I do, I do it well. The things I do not do well, I have enough sense not to waste time or risk making matters worse. Instead of trying to work on things I do not know how to do, I take it to the experts. If my car needs repairs, it goes to a mechanic. Should the plumbing get backed up, we call a plumber. It’s important to stick with what you do well.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Learn something from everyone you encounter throughout the course of the day. Every day and each person is an opportunity to learn something new.

One example is the guy I pick up my coffee and muffin from every day. He’s there at 5 in the morning on the corner without fail. He knows I’ll be there, along with hundreds of others, every morning to get a coffee and a muffin. Sure, he doesn’t want to stand in the rain, or be there at early hours, but he’s there. His commitment to his business combined with his work ethic and sense of responsibility can really teach you something about how to approach business and life.

The other thing I might tell my younger self is never to ask someone to do something you won’t do yourself. Learn by doing, and then you can share the responsibility with someone else. If you do this everyone will work with you, instead of for you.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on?

One thing that an overwhelming majority of people in our society believe is that when someone has been convicted of a crime, they are always a bad person. This isn’t true.

Another thing to think about, when people are creating content for media, any media, they are creating it with their own opinions of things. Yes, the New York Times says that they are determined only to publish actual news. In reality, they have an editorial page where anything can be discussed, even if it is strictly opinion. So, saying you read something in the newspaper is no different than telling me you can read. There is no credibility.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

I walk into my office every day with an open mind and clear head. Too many people have predetermined ideas that box them into a corner. It eliminates options and limits their own opportunities. It is unfortunate for them but it opens the way for me. If they aren’t willing to work with a woman-owned company, I can. If they want to live according to some preconceived notions, they are allowing those who have an open mind to step in where they could have.

So many people think graduates of Harvard are going to be successes. But think about this, Ted Kaczynski graduated from Harvard. The Unabomber was a Harvard graduate. That wouldn’t fit my definition of success.

If you have an open mind, you’ll always have a better life than someone who lives with predetermined ideas.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

The best strategy I would say is keeping an open mind. With an open mind you can see your way to success and find the company, whether it’s based in the United States or elsewhere, that is set up for sustainable success. This means you can return a profit where others could not.

You can’t look at something and say firmly that it won’t work. Ten years ago, if you had told me that 90% of people would be walking up and down the street with bottled water, I’d have told you no way. There were fountains and taps everywhere. Similar thought with payphones. Fifteen years ago, they were everywhere on every street corner. Today, you’d be hard-pressed to find one, even in the event of an emergency. Most people carry a phone in their pocket now.

Keep an open mind on everything every day.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Anyone who tells you they haven’t failed hasn’t tried to do anything. You’re not going to be successful every day. I have had many clients come to me for financing, and despite my best efforts, financing didn’t work out. Sometimes making a good deal clear to the market is much harder than you think when you start a project. The only guarantee I can give to my client is my level best work. They can call me with any questions. Word of advice, if someone promises you’re funded, run the other way. This business doesn’t work that way, and it’s against the law.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Whatever you do, do it for the benefit of the greater good. Things that ensure safety or soothe fear are always in demand. Unbreakable windows would be a good example of something someone would be able to create that would be in demand. Another good idea is the development of the unpickable lock. It’s like the old adage that says, “I do not lock my doors because I want to keep people out, but because I love the people I want to keep safe inside”. Or it’s possible to find the equivalent of the two items in an online sense.

Work for the greater good, and it will go well for you.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I bought a statue for my wife’s garden that arrived today. The statue is of Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus. She loved it. Seeing her smile and excitement about this garden statue made my day.

13. What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

I would have to say that spell check is the most valuable software I use every day. I’m a horrible speller, so I use spell check all the time. I run spell check multiple times for every document I type or interact with. There is nothing worse than a typo in business paperwork.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

I would say Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War“. It’s not as much about war as it is about dealing with people. Knowing how to deal with people is an important skill and this is a good source to learn from.

What is your favorite quote?

John 3:16 (King James Version)

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life”.

Key learnings:

  • Strong Work Ethic is invaluable
  • Keeping an open mind is crucial
  • Seek the best for your clients, and you’ll see successes

Connect:

Dante Vitoria on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DantesInfernoNY/
Dante Vitoria on Twitter: https://twitter.com/DanteVitoriaNYC
Dante Vitoria on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dantemichaelvitoria/