Forget you’re competing and just focus on delivering the best possible product and service – faster and better than anyone else.
Neal Pecchenino is founder and chief executive officer at Boxi Inc., an innovative, technology-infused outdoor advertising company based in Santa Monica, California. Creating cost-effective, trackable box truck billboards for businesses of all sizes and across many industries, Boxi seeks to help brands share their stories and grow their businesses in a targeted and scalable way.
Pecchenino founded Boxi in 2017 after spending countless hours sitting in Los Angeles traffic, staring at blank white box trucks. Thinking that there had to be a way to capitalize on the unoccupied canvas, he created Boxi. As the CEO, Pecchenino is very hands-on, leading the development and implementation of the company, forming and maintaining strategic partnerships, developing new business and managing all parties involved.
In his free time, Neal enjoys speaking at his alma mater, the University of Southern California, working on one of his many projects/creations, and playing music for his friends in his awesome new office space.
Where did the idea for Boxi Inc. come from?
After seeing the number of box trucks driving around the streets of Los Angeles, I realized there was an opportunity to capitalize on the unused space of the truck’s three sides. Advertising for many small to midsize companies is cost prohibitive, especially when looking to invest in an outdoor advertising campaign. Plus, the typical billboard is seen by far fewer viewers when compared to a delivery truck that covers both the freeways and city streets from sun up to sun down. I figured if I could create a company that was smarter, and better than the rest at not only producing an advertising campaign on trucks but also tracking it, I’d be able to deliver unmatched value to both traditional and non-traditional out of home advertisers.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Each day is different for me, so I wouldn’t say there’s a ‘typical’ day. That being said, I am usually in the office by 9 a.m. From there, I write out the things I need to get done that day on a traditional legal pad – everything from the calls I need to make to the projects I need to accomplish. A majority of my day is spent on the phone, whether it’s following up on truck inventory, finalizing the development of our app or prospecting new clients. I also focus a lot on operations, ensuring Boxi is running smoothly and that all our partners and clients are satisfied with the work we are doing.
There are a couple things I like to do to ensure my day remains productive. First, I drink coffee (a lot of it). Having caffeine throughout the day gives me the boost I need to stay on track and fires up by brain, so I can bring creative ideas to life for my clients. I also believe in the power of a 10-minute nap. Whenever I feel that I may be losing steam, a mini nap is typically the thing that helps me reset and get ready to tackle the rest of my day. Finally, lists! Keeping track of the things I need to get done on a running list helps ensure I am staying on top of every task and not missing deadlines – plus, crossing tasks off is one of the best feelings.
How do you bring ideas to life?
When I have an idea, the first thing I typically do is research. Learning from other things that are already out there and picking up from where someone else left off is critical in the development process. From there, I call my network to see if they have any thoughts about the idea or concept. These are people I trust and respect, so I know the feedback I get from them is worth considering. After speaking with my closest peers, I look to get in touch with an expert in the space that my idea/concept falls into and meet with them to discuss further. Once I feel confident in my hypothesis, my assumptions, and my plan, I spend the money and the time to build it! Whatever it may be. At any given time, I have between 5-10 open development projects in motion. Of those, 50% fail, but the other 50% we typically benefit from, which I enjoy seeing very much.
What’s one trend that excites you?
It has been really fun for me to see how consumer’s need for instant gratification drive the increase of delivery trucks on the road. With companies like Amazon offering same day delivery, other companies are having to live up to those standards – which means more and more trucks on busy freeways and dense neighborhoods. This excites me because it gives me more trucks to work with and I can see the potential of Boxi growing with this trend. It also allows me to offer my clients a broader reach with their ads and the potential to reach more people.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I’m a relentless communicator. Meaning, if I’m not able to break through to someone one way, I’ll find another way to do it. Through my experience as an entrepreneur I have found the power of relationships and have learned different ways to communicate in order to appeal to all types of people. With that, I know that if I can’t get my point across via phone, I’ll meet someone in person to get their attention. My experiences have taught be that communication is key and the more effective communicator you can be, the more success you will have.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Keep fighting, stay hungry and never slow down. Forget you’re competing and just focus on delivering the best possible product and service – faster and better than anyone else. Follow through on all commitments, stay true to your word as you always have, and over deliver at every opportunity. Stay motivated and passionate about the work you’re doing, to the point of being relentless!
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
A lot of times in my work I offer up solutions to things and I’m faced with the phrase “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” I disagree – I think that many times a simple solution can make things better and people are just afraid of change, they’re stuck in the ways of how things have always been done and live in fear of innovation. I have found that many times when I’ve offered even a small tweak to something it has created an even better solution than what was already in place. I love the look on people’s face when they realize that even the smallest solutions can make a big impact.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Build lists and hold yourself to them. I build lists every day and if something goes on that list, it must get done. I want all the people I encounter, both personally and professionally, to trust me and if I commit to something, I will deliver it. By making a list it holds you accountable and also ensures nothing falls off your radar.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I have grown my business by following through with every commitment I make. I do this by creating realistic expectations for myself and for my clients, and then putting in the time to ensure I deliver on those promises. I know the time it takes me to complete certain tasks and so I buffer in time outside of that to ensure that even if unexpected things come up, I will still get a task done by the deadline I set. Most of the time this means I’m over delivering, which is my goal in every case.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I wouldn’t say I’ve had any failures as an entrepreneur, because I see any shortcomings I’ve had throughout the way as building blocks to get me to where I am now. Some of the things that I thought were maybe failures at the time, turned out to be good things down the road and put me in an even better place than I thought I’d be. Any costs associated with failure I’d classify as R&D, not failures.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I have dozens of sound business concepts that I could share, but in my overly optimistic mind I think I’ll have time for all of them, so I can’t let them go just yet. By the time I’m 75, if I haven’t yet made them, I’ll write a book of all the concepts. I’ll break each concept down, its feasibility and recommendations for execution. Might spark some entrepreneurial girl or guy out there working for the man to take the leap and follow the model I lay out. Maybe one could come to life…but not yet!
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best $100 I spent recently was for office upgrades. With my new office, I’m looking to create a space that’s not only productive but welcoming and fun. I want my employees and clients to walk in feeling creative, inspired and motivated. I bought new lights to brighten the space and wrapped my ping pong table with the Boxi logo to encourage the people I work with to step away from work every now again and break a sweat with some healthy competition.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
The Boxi dashboard I created is something I use every day and keeps me productive. It allows me and my team to track all the trucks we have on the road and monitor their daily activity. This software ensures we are delivering on all our promises to our clients and maximizing our success.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I would recommend Shoe Dog by Phil Knight. Phil is the founder of Nike and this book is the incredible story of how he built the brand. I love this book because it focuses on the challenges that Phil faced and how he overcame them. I read the book throughout the first months of Boxi, as I was fighting to develop the business concepts, systems and methods. It inspired me to keep fighting, to keep going, and it served as a sober reminder that the biggest best companies in the world all started from the humblest of beginnings. I’d LOVE to meet him some day.
What is your favorite quote?
“The art of competing, I’d learned from track, was the art of forgetting, and I now reminded myself of that fact. You must forget your limits. You must forget your doubts, your pain, your past.”
Phil Knight, Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE
- Build lists and hold yourself to them. By making a list it holds you accountable and also ensures nothing falls off your radar.
- Be a relentless communicator. Communication is key in every relationship and the more effective communicator you can be, the more success you will have.
- Following through with every commitment.
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.