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Loren Howard of Prime Plus Mortgages: “Business changes quickly”

Business changes quickly, and you need to know what is coming and how to adapt. For example, the taxi industry. Ridesharing has completely overtaken them and made them obsolete. If they move to driverless cars, taxis will be wiped out. You should always be looking on the horizon, looking for disrupters and move quickly. You […]

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Business changes quickly, and you need to know what is coming and how to adapt. For example, the taxi industry. Ridesharing has completely overtaken them and made them obsolete. If they move to driverless cars, taxis will be wiped out. You should always be looking on the horizon, looking for disrupters and move quickly. You need to be in front of it and have a game plan.

Additionally, you need to spend as much time as possible growing your team. You always need to have the right people and the right team; you need to have a structure to empower your people to grow and lead. With the right team in place you can almost do anything. Empower them to constantly learn, grow, and lead for you!


As part of my series about the “How To Take Your Company From Good To Great”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Loren Howard,Founder and President of Prime Plus Mortgages: Hard Money Loans Arizona. He is a successful decorated college athlete turned serial entrepreneur who has launched companies of various industries to the 7, and 8 figure mark. He holds a decorated football career and several world records for the indoor row for the 500M, 100M and max distance in 1:00. Loren currently serves as the President of the Valley Guardians, a 501c-3 charity that offers mentorship, leadership and educational opportunities to underprivileged children in Phoenix, Arizona.


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

I moved around a lot as a kid, but always had a laser focus and infinity for sports. I played college football, which was an amazing experience. I was always willing to go the extra mile and grind it out until I got to the next level. Combined with my laser focus it made me a great player.

My Freshman year of college, I was a Freshman All American Defensive End and Big Ten Defensive Freshman of the year. Sophomore year, I was All Conference Defensive End, and Junior year Preseason Mel Kiper ranked me the second defensive end to go in the draft. The third pick went first in the draft (Mario Williams) and the guy ahead of me went 10th that year in the draft. Unfortunately, I got injured, and never really recovered properly, and couldn’t really complete at the same level.

After football ended, I took my focus, ambition, and decided I was going to go into business for myself. Business was completely foreign to me. I dug deep and learned everything I possibly could to become successful. Nothing in business was an overnight success, and it required the same drive, determination and focus that football did.

I learned so much from my first business, that I call it my ‘MBA’. For me, business was the school of hard knocks. It will bulldoze you if you have your head in the sand, so you have to constantly be learning more about your industry. While my first business was not a success, my biggest takeaways were all of the relationships and skills I learned. I take the learning approach to each new venture I start.

Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?

It’s not in my nature to quit. After football ended, I fell into a pretty dark place. It was hard to reimagine what my life would look like without playing. One thing that helped me reframe my future was a Tony Robbins seminar.

I was constantly reading and learning, and he inspired me to read the book ‘The 7 habits of successful people’. This really helped me shift to being a principled person, and help me find out who I was, and who I wanted to be.

Additionally, my first company never went anywhere, which was a pretty big setback. I was determined to be a success, and looked at the positive side of that. It was a great learning experience and I had made so many new relationships and had the skills I needed to do it right the next time. I now take great pride in my ability to lead and grow a team, and having the right people with all my current businesses and projects.

I’ve always been an achiever and a driver, it’s a part of my DNA. When you launch a business, you have to have the vision and the will to make it a reality. Nothing in business will be an overnight success. You have to be determined to be a success.

What do you think makes your company stand out?

I’m a real estate investor, so with our lending company, I know how valuable speed, attention to detail, service is to our clients. Our customer service is great from the first call to the closed sale, and we really make sure that we are as transparent and easy to work with as possible. People see we offer a lot of value, and they are never treated as another number.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

A lot of stress comes from the fear of the unknown and you need to understand why you feel that way to overcome it. If you are feeling stressed or burnt out you need to change your environment and your focus. It’s important to give yourself a mental break and changing tasks from time to time is a great way to fight that.

I also follow a pretty strict routine that helps me regain focus and set my intention for the day. I work out and meditate daily, which really helps me have better focus and clarity. I also have learned more about my personal habits and know what my triggers are for stress and know how to circumvent that.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

I would say my business partner John Lewis has helped me grow in a variety of ways. He helped grow me as an entrepreneur and instilled a lot of confidence in how I perform. With all of our ventures he has always mentored me and guided decisions, but let me lead and learn. He has provided a lot of support and taught me the ropes and is a big influence on my success.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. The title of this series is “How to take your company from good to great”. Let’s start with defining our terms. How would you define a “good” company, what does that look like? How would you define a “great” company, what does that look like?

A good company is efficient and makes money but lacks purpose or vision. To be great means you have to add a purpose, vision, and have the right team that believes in the vision and will take it there. I think any company with strong leadership, that isn’t ego driven, and is constantly developing its people and serving its purpose is great.

Based on your experience and success, what are the most important things one should know in order to lead a company from Good to Great? Please share a story or an example for each.

Business changes quickly, and you need to know what is coming and how to adapt. For example, the taxi industry. Ridesharing has completely overtaken them and made them obsolete. If they move to driverless cars, taxis will be wiped out. You should always be looking on the horizon, looking for disrupters and move quickly. You need to be in front of it and have a game plan.

Additionally, you need to spend as much time as possible growing your team. You always need to have the right people and the right team; you need to have a structure to empower your people to grow and lead. With the right team in place you can almost do anything. Empower them to constantly learn, grow, and lead for you!

Extensive research suggests that “purpose driven businesses” are more successful in many areas. Can you help articulate for our readers a few reasons why a business should consider becoming a purpose driven business, or consider having a social impact angle?

With a purpose driven business, it’s easy to rally everyone around what your mission is. It makes it easy to resonate with your audience and build morale and goodwill.

While every business wants to have great profits and results, it is a self-serving purpose that makes it easy to lose motivation. With a purpose driven company, it keeps you focused and aligned and and continues to have the juice and motivation to keep going.

A purpose driven company is empowering for your customers, and employees, and makes them want to share in your success.

What would you advise to a business leader who initially went through years of successive growth, but has now reached a standstill. From your experience do you have any general advice about how to boost growth and “restart their engines”?

Stagnation comes from boredom. I would suggest that they find something that is new or challenging. It can be in their work, or personal life, but it should be something that gets you engaged. Something you can get your teeth into.

Mixing it up gets your brain going in new and different ways and gives you new perspectives on things. I personally like to read and learn new things as I have found that the excitement to apply it makes me more motivated.

Generating new business, increasing your profits, or at least maintaining your financial stability can be challenging during good times, even more so during turbulent times. Can you share some of the strategies you use to keep forging ahead and not lose growth traction during a difficult economy?

A lot of business people don’t have a truly clear understanding of where they fall. Always know your numbers. You need to be able to forecast, and budget, which you cannot do without a clear understanding of where you are.

Some business owners let fear or ignorance get in the way. They will have a guesstimate or a rough idea of their budget and standing because they are too afraid or unaware of their real situation. Doing this is only going to hurt your business in the long run.

In your experience, which aspect of running a company tends to be most underestimated? Can you explain or give an example?

Working with other people. Being a good leader is all about knowing how to handle people, emotions, wants, needs and motivations. People want to work for, and with, likable people, so you need to make sure that you know how to work with very different personalities.

When it comes to building a team, you need to have a management style to help people to grow. No one wants to be micromanaged, so instead you need to empower your team to lead and grow.

As you know, “conversion” means to convert a visit into a sale. In your experience what are the best strategies a business should use to increase conversion rates?

You need to systematically increase your touch points, and add value each time. Every interaction should increase recognition and trust in your brand, and studies have shown that you need over 9 touch points before a sale is made. Every interaction with a customer or client should emphasize the value and benefit of your business.

I would add, track everything! What gets measured gets improved. If you aren’t tracking your content, your touch points, your sales and marketing funnel you won’t be able to tell what areas could be improved or know what areas you should focus on!

Of course, the main way to increase conversion rates is to create a trusted and beloved brand. Can you share a few ways that a business can earn a reputation as a trusted and beloved brand?

Social proof, so use social media and google to your advantage. Show people that you operate with integrity, go above and beyond, and do good to the people you serve. Great customer service and great customer experience are essential to build a beloved brand and essential to be successful in general.

In your experience what are a few of the most important things a business leader should know in order to create a Wow! Customer Experience?

You need to have a clear understanding of the customer journey, and why they need your service, and what problems you are solving for them. From there you can break down what the major pain options are for your clients to make sure that you solve all those problems with your care, speed and service.

Ask yourself: What problems you are solving for customers, and why those problems are important. From there I would break down how you solve problems better than the competition, how to make the customer experience better, add more value, and improve the service they receive.

What are your thoughts about how a company should be engaged on Social Media? For example, the advisory firm EisnerAmper conducted 6 yearly surveys of United States corporate boards, and directors reported that one of their most pressing concerns was reputational risk as a result of social media. Do you share this concern? We’d love to hear your thoughts about this.

What it really comes down to is the type of value you want to give your clients. If you use your social media effectively you will know exactly what your brand voice and tone is. With this it is easy to define and create a message for your audience that adds your value in a crystal-clear way. Having this tone as well will guide your content and make sure that your content is received well. If your message is adding value, it should not be a concern.

What are the most common mistakes you have seen CEOs & founders make when they start a business? What can be done to avoid those errors?

For me, we didn’t focus enough time on sales and marketing. Obviously, we learned from this early on, but many business owners don’t have a clearly defined sales funnel. Too many rely on trade shows and referrals to make their sales for them, and don’t know how to market a product.

Avoid it by having a sales funnel and marketing plan in place. Learn as much as you can about the two before you start your business so you have an actionable and trackable plan in place.

Thank you for all of that. We are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Currently, I am the President of The Valley Guardians. We are an Arizona children non-profit that is teaching the tools of success to underprivileged children in the valley. We give deserving children access to education, mentorship, financial, and medical assistance to reach their full potential for success. 100% of donations go to the children of our community. You can learn more about the Valley Guardians here.

How can our readers further follow you online?

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lorenhoward/

Prime Plus Mortgages: Hard Money Loans Arizona

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!


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