John Patrick Latta was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1977, the youngest of four siblings. A graduate of William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey, John majored in business and minored in entrepreneurship. He also played varsity basketball while in college, establishing himself as a skillful, standout player.
Currently, John Latta is the Chief Operating Officer of both East Coast Transport, a logistics company started by his father in 1977, and Latta Financial Management, a finance company also started by his father. Having spent his entire adult life in the logistics and finance industries, John has worked in every facet of both of these businesses, mastering their day-to-day operations. He is also the sole heir to these companies and will become CEO upon his father’s retirement. John also runs his own company, Latta Properties, LLC, which is a subsidiary of Latta Development.
For two decades, John Latta was a singer, fronting a cover band that performed in clubs and bars across the Tri-State area. He also spent five years performing acoustic shows in bars and other venues with the guitarist from his cover band. Though he no longer plays live music shows, John Patrick Latta still enjoys attending concerts. He is also an avid gym-goer and loves watching movies, as well as spending time with his family and friends. John spends a majority of the time with his girlfriend he loves Amy Bernhardt.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
They’re both family businesses started by my father, so I grew up in them. My father made me part of everything, so everything he used to do, I now do. The companies have always been a big part of my life.
My father had me tailor made for the small empire he created.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
After I go to the gym, I’m at the office early every day. I have a lot of meetings for both companies, so I don’t leave the office until late in the afternoon. I stay productive by performing multiple tasks simultaneously. It’s difficult for me to focus on only one task, so the best way for me to get things done is to have several tasks going at the same time and putting my all into each of them.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I’m a very visual person, so after first talking about an idea with my colleagues, I will then put it down on paper or make it into a digital document. That can be a PowerPoint presentation or a whiteboard or anything like that, as long as I write it down. After that, it’s not just in my head anymore, it’s in the heads of a lot of people. Then we get together as a team and make that idea happen.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Anything that has to do with technology excites me. Anything that can be controlled by a phone or a tablet, or anything that has to do with smart homes is all very exciting to me because I believe technology has no limits. I also really like clothes, so I stay on top of fashion trends.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
An innate determination to accomplish things keeps me productive. I believe that you can’t succeed in life without a determination or a hunger to achieve something.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Learn and practice patience. Everything will come to you if you let it.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Money is important. Financial security is important. These things don’t make life better, but they do make it easier.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Consistency and repetition are key to doing the right thing. Once you learn what the right thing is, you have to show up every day ready to execute the same thing you did the day before, only better.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I can’t stress patience enough. It used to be that someone would call me and offer to do something, and I would blow it off right away without even hearing the meat and potatoes of the deal. Then, months later, I would regret it and wonder why I did that and think about everything that I could have done had I taken them up on their offer. Being patient and open-minded and thinking outside the box have made both me and my company very successful.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
In my first business venture, I ended up taking a significant loss because I did not conduct my due diligence. I did not follow protocol the way I was taught because I did not have the necessary patience. The way I overcame this was by listening to my father’s advice. He said, “Good. Get over it. Let’s get back on the horse and saddle up and get to this next opportunity—but this time, do it right.” Motivation from my father and my girlfriend is how I get over all that stuff.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
My girlfriend and I watch Shark Tank all the time, and there’s so much merit to getting in on a new business at the outset of its development. Of course, it’s risky, but sometimes it’s worth the risk. I don’t know if I have an individual business idea to suggest, but I look at every business opportunity that I can. I’ll never forget when my father said to me, “John, bring me anything you want. If it makes money and it makes sense, we’ll do it.” I recommend that everyone look at every business opportunity they can, but also do the research. Being mindful and open-minded and getting in on the ground floor of a business can bring with it huge rewards.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
In 2004, my father and I attended the college basketball Final Four in San Antonio, Texas. I ended up at the bar talking to one of my buddies who was a coach for Notre Dame at the time. We started talking and there was this big guy there, probably about 7 feet tall. It turned out to be Bryant Reeves who used to play for Oklahoma. He told me that since his alma mater lost, he was leaving and asked if I wanted his seat. I already had seats, but he had court-side seats. He gave me his seats for $100 and for the rest of the tournament, my father and I sat court-side. That’s the best $100 I’ve ever spent by far.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I use so much technology throughout the day that it’s hard to point to just one as key to my productivity, but I’ll say my phone. I have a Samsung S22 and it controls everything in my life, from my workout routine and my Samsung watch to my calendar/emails for work.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
No book leaps to mind, but there’s a movie called Glengarry Glen Ross with Al Pacino that I always recommend to anyone who’s in sales. It’s about a couple of days in the lives of real estate salesmen, and they display so much dedication and determination in following their leads. One of the big themes in the movie is something they call ‘ABC,’ which stands for ‘Always Be Closing.’ I think it’s a great movie for someone starting out as an entrepreneur.
What is your favorite quote?
“Every saint has a past, every sinner has a future.” I got that quote tattooed on my arm to remind myself that nobody is perfect.
- Patience is key to identifying potential opportunities and maintaining the inner workings of a business.
- Investing in new businesses is risky, but is often well worth the risk.
- In sales, follow the ABC method: ‘Always Be Closing.’
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.