Know your numbers better than anyone else. Know your profit margins, know what your costs are… I don’t believe you can be a successful business owner if you don’t know your numbers.
Victor Mitchell, 52, of Castle Rock, Colorado is a successful businessman and life-long entrepreneur who has founded or turned around varied companies ranging from wireless to technology to real estate services to finance. Currently, Victor Mitchell is the founder and CEO of Lead Funding, a specialty lending organization that provides innovative private financing solutions for homebuilders and developers, reducing their red tape and speeding up loan decisions. Lead Funding has experienced near-100% annual growth since its inception in 2009, serving clientele in several states.
When he’s not serving his company, Victor Mitchell serves the broader Colorado community. Victor and his wife of 27 years, Amy, have been active in numerous civic and community organizations, including the Rotary Club and Meals on Wheels. Victor Mitchell is also a former Colorado State Representative and served in Colorado’s 66th General Assembly representing a population of 80,000.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
I owned a large and very successful development business buying destressed real estate assets and making them homes in highly established neighborhoods. We had developed a proprietary valuation tool in order to buy the properties effectively. People started coming to us asking us whether we wanted to lend them money for their various projects, which is ultimately how the business evolved. We ended up selling that development company, and we founded Lead Funding ten years ago this August. It’s now one of the most successful private companies in Colorado.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive? How do you bring ideas to life?
I meet with our team every day and we talk about what business prospects we have, and how to make our systems friendlier for our customer and employees. We talk about how we can grow the business and provide our value-added services across the country. We bring new ideas to life through a combination of factors. It involves a lot of planning and not being afraid to take risks. Having great people around me that collaborate, and people that generally share the same vision I do.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
We like to lend money to small business owners who are turning distressed real estate assets into beautiful new products and improving everyone else’s’ home values without them having to do anything, as well as increasing the tax base of so many different school districts. We’re making loans that otherwise are not happening in the economy, and we’re really helping to grow the economy. Every time we make a loan it usually has a multiplier effect, meaning that sometimes 3 or 4 times as much economic value is created from one single loan. If we loan someone one million dollars, we generally create three million dollars of economic value.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I think my ability to see things that other people don’t see, and my ability to work tirelessly. I’ve always had a great work ethic; I’m not afraid to work 20-hour days. I think a combination of those two factors.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Be more patient, invest more with friends, relatives, and family members. Also, don’t be so hard on yourself when things don’t go your way. You have to be your toughest critic, but not such a tough critic where you become risk averse.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I think we’re going to cure cancer within the next ten years and I think immunotherapy is going to change life-sciences like we have never seen before. Hopefully we’re going to have a lot more young scientists coming into the profession. We’re going to have some of the biggest advances and breakthroughs in medicine.
I also think that given the expansion of microbreweries all across the United States, I think there’s going to be a whole new industry of restaurants on wheels, and mobile restaurants. We have already seen that to a certain extent, but I think we’re going to see a lot more of that in the future.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Know your numbers better than anyone else. Know your profit margins, know what your costs are, share your financial statements with your whole employee team and really make it a point of excitement in the company. I don’t believe you can be a successful business owner if you don’t know your numbers.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Being nimble and being your toughest self-critic are the two best attributes. You also have to be very resourceful, not afraid to take risks, constantly looking at things differently, and always looking at ways to improve efficiencies.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
We invested in a manufacturing business a number of years ago. We didn’t understand the market well enough. The product was a fantastic product but getting it into the market required dealing with small contractors who generally had a different set of objectives. We ultimately sold that business to a competitor, but it was an experience that was an important lesson. You can have the best product in the world but if you don’t have a means of getting it to the market without a slew of barriers, then even the greatest product at the best price doesn’t equal success.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best $100 I spent recently was given to my daughter, who’s 14 years old so she could buy souvenirs at her favorite Broadway show.
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
I use Outlook and Microsoft products generally. I’m an Apple person by nature. The apps I use most frequently are usually financial services applications. I love the ability to communicate in real time, and the ability to get complicated information in a simplified version in real time as well.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“World Without End” by Ken Follett is one of my all-time favorite books. Kane and Abel is another one of my all-time favorite books by Jeffrey Archer. People should read these books because they’re such great stories about overcoming adversity, not ever knowing what life is going to bring you, really working with people that are great characters, who have great personal achievements, and who overcome extraordinary odds. I love historical fiction, and both of those books are historical fiction.
Victor Mitchell on Twitter:
Victor Mitchell on Linkedin:
Victor Mitchell on Crunchbase:
Victor Mitchell on Levo:
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.