Never just get stale. When you get stale, you die. Never stop learning.
The phrase never give up, never surrender comes to mind when thinking about Justin Magnuson, Chief Executive Officer of the Alliance Family of Companies. His drive and ambition have made him a very natural entrepreneur right from the start.
Justin grew up in a middle-class family in Houston, Texas. He attended the University of Houston but decided he had to earn his way through school. At the age of 18, he started his own construction company. After a strong start, a few missteps led him to reevaluate his position. He returned to the University where he worked during the day and took classes at night. He seized an opportunity to move to Dallas and attend the Southern Methodist University as a full-time student. He earned his master’s degree in science and entrepreneurship.
Justin was paying his way through school and knew that he would need a high paying position. After some research he found out that the a career in medical sales would be provide the best opportunity. However, positions within the industry required two years of sales experience, which he didn’t have. After some failed attempts, his persistence paid off and he was offered a position with Pacific Pulmonary Services Company. The company sold CPAP machines to assist with sleep apnea. He received his training while he was still attending school.
After graduation, the one thing that Justin was absolutely certain of, was that he did not want to work for anyone. He wanted to go into a field that he understood, after his time with Pacific Pulmonary Services he want to go into the business for himself. The only problem was that he didn’t have the capital to invest into the inventory. However, he did have enough to start a sleep diagnostic lab. He found all the necessary certifications and completed the mounds of paperwork. Being fresh out of school, he found researching and filing the necessary paperwork as an easy task. It allowed him to get into the industry relatively quickly.
Alliance Family of Companies was launched in 2010, and Justin Magnuson was able to accomplish his goals. They started with one sleep lab and by 2012 they opened 17 sleep labs. He expanded the business to provide neurodiagnostics and is now the largest of in-home video EEG testing in the world. Alliance Family of Companies operates in 39 states and in 50 markets. They see over 20,000 patients a year providing sleep diagnostics, neurodiagnostics, and heart health services. Today, Justin Magnuson and the Alliance Family of Companies provide necessary testing for patients with epilepsy in a fraction of the wait times when compared to traditional facilities.
Where did the idea for Alliance Family of Companies come from?
I like the name alliance because of its meaning depicting people working together. Funny enough, the city that we were in at the time, was, in fact, the city of Alliance. It is a little city in Texas. There is an Alliance Airport. So, the name just took on more of a meaning as the company grew.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I start my day early and take a half hour for coffee, and read my email, then I’m off to the gym for the next hour. I come home, get ready for work, and head for the office. I try to schedule all of my important meetings before lunch. I try not to eat lunch alone. I find it to be very productive to discuss business over lunch. The rest of the afternoon can unfold quite naturally. By five or six I have dinner and discuss business. I am currently getting a second master’s degree in business administration at UCLA. When I get home, I will study for about two hours and it is time for sleep.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The move to artificial intelligence technology. I think artificial intelligence technology is one of the most beneficial things for human beings for the next hundred years. Technology can make our lives so much simpler. It is going to be able to extend our lives. It will get very accurate medicines to individual patients. We are investing very heavily in that technology. Think of Elon Musk and Tesla. We are not that far off from our cars driving us around. It will soon be able to monitor your vitals on a consistent basis. There will be so much change over the next ten to twenty years.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I surround myself with great people. I look for people who are better than me, who just get it. Some people just have natural talents. We sometimes overlook people who are just great hires.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t give up. When you get knocked down, just keep at it. I was lucky that my venture was a good one. I didn’t get the schooling and education right off the bat. I had to keep at it. So, if you get knocked down just get back up and keep at it.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Treat others as they want to be treated not as you want to treat them. I am a pretty direct person, but if you are too direct with me, I sometimes take that as aggressive. So, I prefer people not to be as direct with me.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Constantly be learning. Read all that you can. If you don’t want to read get audio books for while you’re working or while you’re driving. Never just get stale. When you get stale, you die. Never stop learning.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Hiring people who are better than you will help you grow your business. What I did for myself was not pay myself for nine months. It allowed me to hire people who commanded a decent salary. When you pay for just what you can afford, you will get people that you can just afford. If you hire good people on a good salary, it will pay off for you in the long run. You can’t really count what it will do for you over time.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
When I tanked my first business in construction. I had to pay for my own college. I didn’t do the right things to start the business. It cost me a lot of time, money and pain.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
It is a technology idea. It has Electronic Medical Systems (EMS). If patients don’t present their medical records at hospitals, they end up doing the same tests that have already been done. If someone could create an app that could go into a play store to allow EMS systems to interact with one another seamlessly when the patient gives permission it would save billions.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Veterans day is coming up. I give all of my vets hundred-dollar gift cards. So, multiply the hundred by all of the veterans we have working for us, and it is the best thing I like to do. We support our veterans a hundred percent. We hire veterans.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
We just finalized our CRM software it is Salesforce.com It manages our customers, tracks referrals, and helps our sales reps.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Never Split the Difference by Chris Boss. It is about negotiations with a much deeper meaning. It encompasses everyone and everything in daily life.
What is your favorite quote?
Never set realistic goals. You can get realistic life without setting goals for it.
• Hire the best talent
• Surround yourself with good people
• Be careful with who you surround yourself with
• Treat others how they want to be treated not like you want others to treat you
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.