Brandon Bruce is co-founder of Cirrus Insight, a bootstrapped software company in Knoxville, Tennessee. Cirrus Insight automatically keeps Salesforce CRM up to date for sales teams. It intelligently syncs emails and appointments from Microsoft Office 365 and Google for Work to matching leads, contacts, accounts, opportunities and cases in Salesforce. Cirrus Insight also includes power tools for salespeople in Outlook and Gmail including email tracking, follow-up reminders, and mail merge templates. Brandon enjoys cycling and once rode his bicycle across Death Valley as part of the Furnace Creek 508. Follow him @cirrusinsight.
Who is your hero? (In business, life, or both.)
I draw strength and inspiration from my parents, my brother, and my wife and two children. I’m also fascinated by history and genealogy. My maternal grandfather was a top attorney in Nebraska and prosecuted mob kingpins early in his career and then Nazis after World War II. He was part of the Greatest Generation and I’m glad I had the opportunity to meet him when I was young.
What’s the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
At my first job, I asked the CEO if he wanted to meet with somebody who I thought could be a strategic partner. He replied that he would meet with anybody, anywhere, about anything. I was surprised because his time was so valuable. I’ve adopted his approach and it’s helped me to make unique connections that have advanced my business and enriched my experience as an entrepreneur.
What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?
I spent too much time on the road. I wanted to be out in front of customers, but I neglected to spend enough time with my team. I received that feedback from the team loud and clear, and I was able to course correct. It helped me to become a better leader.
What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
I run, bike or lift weights. It’s my daily private victory. My workout gets me ready for a high-energy day of competition.
What’s your best financial/cashflow-related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
Find early customers and invoice for a year (or more) in advance. Think of your early customers as your seed or angel investors.
Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
Pick up the phone and call more customers and prospects. The definition of business is an organization that has customers. As long as you keep your customers and win new customers, you’re in business.
What’s your definition of success? How will you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” in your business?
I don’t think there is a moment where we’ll be able to declare, “Mission accomplished.” The goal posts keep moving. And that’s as it should be. We want to keep growing and challenging ourselves. We would never have predicted we’d be where we are today when we started out five years ago.