In order to bring an idea to life, you have to plan it, be persistent with it, and execute it well.
Shawn Khorrami began his professional career as a lawyer, starting his law firm as a solo practice just two months after passing the bar exam, and growing it into one of the largest plaintiffs only practices in the country. During that time, he obtained $1 billion in verdicts and settlements for clients across the country.
Khorrami has had immense success handling a broad range of complex litigation including, but not limited to, consumer fraud, pharmaceuticals, natural disasters, toxic torts, wage and hour and consumer class actions, product liability, civil rights, and catastrophic personal injury. His individual and class cases are often against some of the country’s largest corporations and may involve classes covering millions of class members throughout the country.
As an entrepreneur, Khorrami has started and invested in multiple businesses in a variety of industries, from real estate management to restaurants, to professional services, and even an online newspaper. Based on his business expertise, particularly in corporate development, marketing, and management, he has also served as a consultant for a variety of businesses from law firms to tech companies.
Khorrami has been featured in the largest media outlets in the country, including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and other major daily newspapers, national magazines, and network affiliate news stations around the country.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
It was something that just happened rather organically. It’s simply because, over the years, people who I’ve known or have done business with have consulted with me regarding different aspects of their businesses. In particular, consulting on management, organization structures, protocols, capital/funding, and marketing. After a while, I just decided to start doing it as a business officially.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
A typical day is filled with meetings, everything from prospective clients, to my teams, to other business contacts. I ensure that things are very regimented and meetings are kept on topic and on time. I also have to assure that I set aside time to do various aspects of projects, both in terms of planning and creating tasks that need to be advanced by various teams or by me.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Through planning, persistence, and execution. First, I believe that in order to show anything, you have to plan it. It’s just a lottery whether you succeed or not. Second, as with anything, you have to be persistent because it’s very easy to get discouraged or lose motivation immediately. Last, you have to execute. Without execution, without actually moving projects forward daily, you’re not going to get to an end goal.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Perhaps I’m looking at it through my own lens in terms of what I’ve been concentrating on. I find the e-commerce industry particularly fascinating. I’m currently working on projects both in their infancy and some that are in relative maturity. The sheer number of directions, opportunities, perspectives, and prospects of areas of growth are almost overwhelming.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I always first analyze a project and break it down into phases and tasks. I assure that I assemble a proper management team to assure quick and successful completion. What I’m really getting at is, I tend to take any project, break it down into small pieces and create as much of an assembly line as possible in order to take it from its infancy to its completion.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Patience. I tend to be very aggressive and want results quickly. In earlier years of my life and my career, I feel my aggression was something that tended to detract from me achieving my goals. So, I would tell a younger Shawn Khorrami to be a little bit more patient and to allow processes to work themselves through.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
It is my firm belief that if a person can’t describe a subject matter to me in a few statements, they probably don’t know the subject matter well enough. I believe that is a truism. So I do the same thing. Anything I will convey to another person, I first make sure that I can say or describe it in a few statements. If I can’t do that, then I need to go back and look at the information to study it better.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Plan and remain compartmentalized. I do not believe that you can deliberately achieve any goal without planning. That’s part of a deliberative process. I am a very compartmentalized person. When I’m focusing on a task, I won’t get distracted very easily no matter what is occurring in other areas. I believe those are the things that I do over and over and are what I’m good at.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
We’re going to go back to the same themes because they’re very important. One is to plan, two is brand, and three is market. I strongly believe that you need to concentrate on a strategy that heavily incorporates these three concepts. However, again, you’re just playing the lottery with your success. So you must plan in order to have an organized, efficient, and deliberate way of achieving milestones. You must brand yourself or other people will. You have to choose what your band is going to be because you’re going to have a brand whether you like it or not. Lastly, without a great marketing strategy, you can have the best product, the best service in the world, and no one is going to use it. Those three things are incredibly important, and often those three things are what I see get missed most by other entrepreneurs.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
So, I’ve only started businesses. That’s all I’ve done, which means that I’ve had many failures and lots of big ones. This makes it hard to come up with any one failure that’s larger than the others and stands out. However, the one thing that I can point to is a situation that started a cascade of very detrimental events for one of my main businesses. That happened several years ago. It was with my good intentions and with my reluctance to lay off people because I was concerned that people would lose their jobs. I refused to implement a very painful and major cost cutting measure which included many layoffs. In my good intent to save several hundred jobs, it resulted in a complete failure of the business. It was a decision that I should have made but didn’t, and it ultimately ended up having even worse results than only a few hundred jobs being lost.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
A professional management tool that allows professionals to run their businesses while practicing their professions. To me, whenever someone is a professional, like a lawyer or a doctor, their core business is running that practice. So, helping their patients or clients is their main focus, and they don’t concentrate so much on the true business aspect of having the practice. Thus, a software that’s a very organic product and is constantly being improved to provide the services that those practitioners need so they can run their practice.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I love my Kindle. I’ve had every iteration of the Kindle since Amazon put the product out. I think it’s the best $100 you can spend.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Google’s G Suite. As much as I have a lot of frustrations that come up, as with any product, I find they provide the best way for me to collaborate with my various teams.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
All the Shah’s Men by Stephen Kinzer. I’m originally Iranian, and many of my childhood memories are from Iran. This is a book regarding some historical events that occurred in Iran that, after you read it, explains how my situation came to be and why we ended up immigrating to the U.S. For me, it has that kind of connection, not only with the country where I’m from, but it also explains to me a lot of the reasons things turned out the way they did.
I also think it’s important for anyone to look at how different cultures, countries and people can look at the very same events and have vastly different perspectives. It’s a great example of where you can actually see that there are legitimate but vastly different perspectives of anything.
What is your favorite quote?
“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” – Mahatma Gandhi.
● In order to bring an idea to life, you have to plan it, be persistent with it, and execute it well.
● You must brand yourself or other people will.
● If you can’t describe a subject matter to someone in a few sentences, you probably don’t know it well enough. Go back and look at the information to study it further before you present it.
● Without a great marketing strategy, you can have the best product or service in the world, and no one is going to use it.
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.