Tom Maoli labels himself a “serial entrepreneur.” He defines the term as someone who always has his radar up, scanning the horizon for potential business opportunities. Obviously, Maoli has a knack for spotting a good potential investment, as evidenced by his extensive real estate holdings throughout New Jersey, most notably of which are the Abbey in Morristown and six luxury auto dealerships – five in the state and one in New York. He now has a successful radio show on WABC radio titled “Go Big or Go Home.”
The focus of Maoli’s radio show is to offer advice to those contemplating starting a new business or making a mid-career change. He characterizes most people who contemplate changing careers in baseball metaphors. “Most people keep their foot on a base. They stretch a little, but that foot is still on a base. Many people have the talent to do something else, but you have to get both feet off the base.”
For those thinking about changing careers, Maoli makes the following suggestions. “First, do what I do. Look for opportunities, and there are always opportunities, for making a change. It can be your own business, a franchise opportunity, even a partnership with a recent startup. You can even check with the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which lists the fastest growing sectors of the economy. Then, you have to make sure your entire being is committed to making the change. If not, you’re not ready to make the leap.”
Maoli then suggests making an inventory of your assets, and then another list of your skills. “Of course, you don’t have to jump into something you’re already expert in. Lots of people get into ventures that require a different skill set, in which case you’ll need to work to acquire those new skills.”
Maoli mentions a recent interview he did on his show with comedian Bobby Collins, who made the leap from a vice president with Calvin Klein into a career as a standup comedian. “When Bobby was fully committed to making his move, he took the leap, and, today, he’s fabulously successful.”
Most important, suggests Maoli, is to develop a business plan that includes a goal – what do you want to do – and a philosophy statement – how do you want to do it. Your plan should also include current and projected expenses, and opportunities for income. What most people overlook, Maoli also adds, is to also develop a communication plan that helps you establish a personal brand. That plan should include the messaging that will help position or niche yourself to your potential customers.
“Then go out there and network. Go to local chamber of commerce events or meetings in the industry in which you’d like to establish your business.”
Finally, Maoli says, “If you want to fulfill that purpose, you have to take the leap. Swing the bat and hit that homerun.”