Alumnus Bryan Barrera (MBA '20, PKE 143) Shares His Business Insights and Successful Launch of His First Book
Bryan is the Chief Executive Officer of LC Innovation, specializing in executive leadership and business consulting. In December 2022, Bryan released his first book Your Ego: The Real Reason Your Business is Failing. This book guides readers through the PACTD model, a guide to growing your business through difficult and disruptive times. From Bill Belichick to the 5-Tool Baseball Player approach: the PACTD model finds ways of dissecting sports dynasties through the lens of business strategy. In January 2023, his book achieved the #1 new release on Amazon; find his book here.
Read Bryan's Interview:
1. What industry are you in and why did you choose that industry?
LC Innovation consults small businesses and startups across any industry. I specifically go after innovative companies because that’s where my passion is. I want to help innovative companies so the engineers, inventors, and founders can focus on what interests them, and I can help with the business side. In order to progress and move forward, my contribution is helping these geniuses to continue to focus on their product and not waste too much of their time with business issues I can help their team with. Sometimes startups and small businesses falter because the owner, CEO, inventor forgets about the product because they are too busy with the everyday duties of being a CEO. I want to help with that.
2. Share your recent professional success and what made it successful.
Around the holidays, founders, and C-suite executives decide to close their shops and/or take extended vacations. I failed to forecast this for my business, so this caught me by surprise. I’m literally sitting at home, upset that I forgot about this aspect of privately held businesses, so my wife says, “why don’t you make the best of this downtime and write a book?” Surprised, I responded, “I never thought about writing a book”. She convinced me by saying, “Well you always draw on boards and teach the models you know, so you might as well write them in a book”. Now we’ve reached #1 overall several times for Amazon new release in my genre, and we’ve been as high as #24 overall in my genre. For being self-published and paying for 0 marketing, I feel this is a huge achievement. I’ve been editing the book like crazy, trying to make it better in case we ever decide to market the book or get in contact with a publisher, but with the success of being self-published I think constant editing would suffice.
3. What is one thing that you learned from your experience at Graziadio that has influenced your life?
How to run a business efficiently. That may not sound right, but learning how to run a business the right way—meaning understanding, at a high level, all the aspects of business—has allowed me to have a good work-life balance. I left my previous position 6 months ago—a position that I held while I was in Pepperdine, Graziadio’s PKE 143 program. The company was a partner in my capstone. Though I am no longer there, they were recently sold for over $40M, which is now public knowledge. I believe I contributed greatly to the company selling for that much. I am even more proud that the strategy I built for the success of the company was built during my time in the PKE program. I built an amazing team that is still there, and for the company to sell for that much speaks volumes of what the owners believed in me and what subsequently contributed to selling the business for that much.
4. What advice do you have for those looking to build a similar career path or transition into your function or industry?
Just remember that if you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will. If you want to be a consultant, advisor, investor, whatever the case, if you don’t show confidence, you’ll be eaten alive by your clients, and the industry. They’re hiring you to help them, so they must have some belief in your abilities. If there is a situation where they don’t agree with you and you don’t show confidence in what you are saying, why do they need you? I’m not saying to be stubborn, I’m just saying to be confident in your approach and know your worth.
I was so embarrassed to write the book. I kept thinking about what my peers would think of it. Would they make fun of it? Would they doubt it? Then I looked down at 125 pages full of material, concepts, models that we learned through the PKE program and my interpretation of what they mean in the business world and its current landscape, and it suddenly hit me: “Who cares? I can do this.” It’s not arrogance, it’s just confidence in yourself; a reminder that you can do this.
5. What is your favorite quote?
I don’t know who said this, so I’m sorry for not having a reference, but the mantra, “Consistency is the hardest thing”, keeps coming to mind. A mentor of mine once shared me that with me. Anyone can start something, and only a few may be successful. Or you can start something, and pass it off to someone else, like a business strategy or marketing campaign, something of that nature. To keep consistent, to keep going at it, to keep chugging along and to keep taking a bite at a time and making it better is the hardest thing to do. You can develop an amazing business strategy, and you can sit back and look at it like, “Wow, this is it, we got it”, and then you start it and it has great results. Then, complacency hits, life hits, success hits—all these things happen, so the ones that stay consistent through the process, though they may not be #1 at first, over time become number one because of the consistency I’m talking about. Let’s say a competitor lands a huge project you bid on, but they don’t run it well because they are too busy patting themselves on the back. You keep improving, you keep landing smaller projects, one at a time, then suddenly, they do a terrible job over that timespan, and you are then transferred to the project because of your consistent improvements and established success. It’s a beautiful thing to witness consistency yielding discipline, which can lead to the longevity of success.
6. What do you like to do in your spare time?
During my time at Pepperdine, I realized there are more people like me. I am not the only Executive that works almost 24/7. It was a very humbling experience. Some of my cohort taught me some great lessons on family coming before work, no matter how much needs to get done, or no matter what deadlines you may miss. Through my experience at Pepperdine, and what I have been going through in life recently, I have realized that God and family are the most important things in my life. Work has taken second place, but I don’t have time for anything else. And I’m okay with that. I’m actually happy about it. God and family first; work comes second. This has created a great work-life balance for me, as I have time for nothing else. That may seem a bit drastic or even sad, because I don’t have time to go out with friends, but in my spare time, I either work or do family events. I’m so happy with my life like this, I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.
For example, I have 2 TV’s in my loft. Every night, I put the big screen on a Lakers or Dodgers game, while the small TV is on high volume, playing Kung Fu Panda for my kids. While they’re overjoyed by the movie, I’m reading a book for my PhD class at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, or researching a new industry. Between play fighting, rolling on the floor, and chasing my kids around with my wife, I’m reading a few pages at a time, or looking at a website in the midst of this awesome chaos.