Oran Spencer was born in Jamaica, but moved to the Bronx borough of New York City with his mother, a medical professional, and his father, a successful businessman, when he was eight years old. Oran graduated from Harry S. Truman High School in 1994, before embarking on an extensive and ambitious post-secondary education. He attended the University of Buffalo in 1998, Mercy College in 2003, and Southern Connecticut State University in 2022. As a result, Oran possesses a Bachelor’s in Biology, a Masters in Education, as well as Certification in Educational Leadership.
Upon entering the working world, Oran Spencer accepted a role as a substitute teacher with Norwalk Public Schools in Connecticut. He soon obtained a permanent position teaching science with Bridgeport Public Schools, also in Connecticut. Finally imbued with a sense of professional stability, Oran began a family of his own around this time. He still teaches with Bridgeport Public Schools to this day.
Oran Spencer is also a successful entrepreneur. He is the owner and primary operator of two thriving transportation companies. The first, OSTRONG Cab Corp., is a taxi medallion business that began life as a traditional, New York-based yellow cab. However, he soon saw the opportunity to branch out his services, and the company has since evolved into a Best Deal Car Service partnership that provides transportation services to medical voucher passengers. Many of OSTRONG Cab Corp.’s clients are referred by hospitals, indicating the high level of trust for patient care that these medical institutions invest in the company. Oran’s second company, OSTRONG Limousine Airport Service, shuttles clients to and from all areas of Connecticut to the major airports in New York City.
Outside of his dual careers as an educator and transportation entrepreneur, Oran Spencer is passionate about basketball. He has coached his son’s basketball team, the Wildcats, at St. Ann Academy from 2018 to the present. Oran spends his evenings at home with his children. They enjoy relaxing together, watching movies, as well as watching and playing sports.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
After watching my uncles, who are yellow cab owners, and thus entrepreneurs as well, it felt like a natural option. Having some family in the industry also provided me with mentors when I began the business, which has since grown from being a taxi service to a car and medical transport service.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
During the school year, I get up early in the morning and run five miles. Once I’m done, I come home to get my boys ready for school. I teach between 7:30 am to 2:30 pm, except during the basketball season when I stay longer to coach the school team. After school, I come home and get dinner started and we fall into our evening routine.
When school is out, either on breaks or over summer, my day begins with the same early morning run. Then I head out to begin OSTRONG Limousine Airport Service’s pickups and drop-offs at JFK or LaGuardia. After those are done, I take care of OSTRONG Cab Corp.’s medical patients in New York City. I pick them up and bring them to dialysis three times a week. From there, I manage the other booked appointments until 2 pm. At that point, I head home to my children and start our evening routine.
This schedule allows me to run both aspects of the car service while still being available to spend time with my growing family.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I start with researching the steps required to execute the idea and various methods to bring them into reality. During that research, I pay special attention to others who have already succeeded with implementing any similar ideas. Then I create an action plan to get the work done.
What’s one trend that excites you?
One trend that excites me is the current direction of the housing market. Right now, it’s providing opportunities for ordinary people to buy new properties at reasonable prices—just as long as you watch the interest rates.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I find that dedicating myself wholly to the given task at hand ensures good results across the board, and it also fosters happy customers and students.
What advice would you give your younger self?
When I was just starting out, I think my biggest hurdle was saving money. If the money was there, I spent it. That’s not behavior which is conducive to solid fiscal results. I would tell my younger self to be more careful with spending, and to save more money.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Everyone has their own perspective, often different from that of others. Each individual has learned to live their life based on their own experiences. You create resistance around you when you try to enforce your own perspective on others.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Develop a routine and stick to it. There is no better, more consistent way to get positive results.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Set goals, be persistent, and dedicate the time you need in order to reach those goals. If you know you’ve got to make a certain amount of money in order to support yourself and whatever dependents you may have, initially it may take you 12 hours a day to do it. Just put in the time, be persistent, and you will eventually see better results. When your day starts, set a new goal for that day that helps build on the bigger goals. This strategy will help you stay on track.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
In business, encountering challenges and failures is inevitable. You have to look at them as lessons and grow from them. One of the biggest failures I’ve had was in not watching the economic trends which led to the value of my business going down. COVID intruded, as it did with many businesses over the past two or three years, but fortunately, the government gave me the financial room to carry on operations. That saved me from a very difficult position. I’m still not in the best position, however, I learned from the experience. I advise every entrepreneur to monitor what direction the economic environment is moving. If the direction is up, ride the crest of the wave. If the direction is down, though, you have to determine what actions can be taken beyond the usual or expected to preserve your business. Doing this will also help to buffer your business against the next economic blow.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
My best suggestion would be to invest in rental properties. Real estate is something that will be in demand for the foreseeable future.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best $100 I’ve recently spent was on school clothing for my kids. It’s important for them to be ready and dressed properly for what may come, and it’s also good to know they are in quality, durable clothing with everything they put their clothing through.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Email enables me to be in constant communication with the people involved with my companies. I check my email multiple times each day to stay on top of everything. It’s my lifeline to customers, colleagues, and co-workers alike.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Ralph Ellison created The Invisible Man. I loved reading that book because it helped me to see how identity plays a part in this busy, but very interesting world. Reading it provides a way to learn about your own identity and how to navigate it.
What is your favorite quote?
“The lazy mind believes. A strong mind studies to understand, and repeat.” — Unknown
As a science teacher, that is the kind of thinking I work to instill in my students. I try to get them to understand things instead of simply believing them. Doing so creates a foundation for sharing knowledge and insights from one generation to the next.
- Work hard and be persistent, and you will eventually see the results you want.
- Keep a firm schedule to maintain a balance between your work life and non-work life.
- Stay focused on your priorities.
- Set ambitious goals and work to achieve them every day.
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.