A Mentoring Profile: Derek Harris

Meet Derek, one of our mentors at Gangplank in Chandler:

derekharris

As a seasoned business analyst & business developer, Derek Harris is successful at executing corporate vision and strategies that help increase your company’s footprint, expand market share and generate sustainable revenue and EBIT gains.  He has over 25 years business experience in transportation, construction, pro sports & entertainment and management consulting. Specializing in startups and emerging companies, Derek co-founded Zagg Media Partners – Strategic Growth Advisors. He serves as senior business strategist.

Derek is available the first Tuesday of the month from 1:00-4:00pm. Email or click on this link: chandlerbusiness@gangplankhq.com to schedule a session.
1. What projects are you working now — and excited about?
Well currently, I’m developing our Sirius Bookkeeping & Tax Strategies Brand and working with contractors, freelance professionals, and smaller businesses.  A lot of newbies and quite a few oldies in business really underestimate the value of detailed financial operations and metrics. For example, for many companies, a 2% reduction in waste or financial restructure could equal the net profits of a 10% increase in new sales. There are hundreds of strategies and techniques used by Fortune 500 & 1000 companies that are applicable to smaller businesses.

I’m excited about this brand because we’re combining the disciplines of basic-level bookkeeping & accounting with high finance strategic consulting and creating accessibility on a non-corporate level. It’s a fresh and disruptive approach.

 2.  What’s your favorite part about mentoring?
My favorite part about mentoring is when aspiring entrepreneurs talk about their ideas and then, seeing the excitement on their faces and hearing the passion in the voices.  And to be able to add some value to that through ideas, guidance, and referrals gives me great satisfaction.

3. Are you a Star Trek or Star Wars fan?
Both.  But, I’m from the old school.  I remember when the first mobile phone prototype was revealed on television…  Captain Kirk whipped out the fictional device known as the “communicator”.   It’s the perfect throwback and reminder of just how powerful the human imagination and innovation through technology has become.

4. What do you know now …that you wish you had known earlier as an entrepreneur?
I started my first business at age 12. And then later, my most successful business right out of college. Having very little resources and no network, my climb to success was a very long and drawn out process.  I learned a lot on my own and through trial and error. There was no internet or knowledge base access that many take for granted today.

But, even when I achieved a certain level of success, I didn’t realized that that was just the beginning of my entrepreneurial education and that you can’t do it on you’re own.  To maintain success you have to rely on your inside people and outside advisors.  This really hit home when I joined a management consulting firm years later and worked with several “hard-headed” business owners who were just like me and making the same mistakes.

 5. What do you do for fun and relaxation?
What’s that?  No really, I like to hike, travel, cook, catch a good game, or take in a live music set.  My goal is to take 2-3 months off each year for travel. I think that offers me the most fun and relaxation. I’ve always loved exploring different cultures, cuisines and architecture.

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Locations

Avondale, AZ

Chandler, AZ

Queen Creek, AZ

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