The Mission Driven Business Podcast Episode 71: Driving A Heart-Led Business with Brian Moak

Brian chats with Brian Moak, an entrepreneur, consultant, coach, and motivational speaker focused on service-based businesses and team engagement. As the owner and CEO of HEART Certified Auto Care, Brian used empathy to transform his family’s business into an industry-leading auto shop. He also owns one of the largest Shack Shine franchises in North America and is a partner in a digital marketing firm.

On the episode, Brian Moak details his rollercoaster entrepreneurial journey, riding the lows of losing $1.5 million in one year to growing his business to earn nearly $15 million in revenue. He also lists his Four Point Plan to help any business thrive and shares the most critical question to ask to change your business’s trajectory. 

Episode Highlights

Mission-driven businesses are aligned.

When defining a mission-driven business, Brian takes a term from the auto shop world: alignment. At a mission-driven business, all parts of the operation are aligned toward the end goal or outcome to be achieved.

“Every person in the company should be facing the same way,” he said. “That has to come from the top. The top has to give that vision and sell that vision to the team, so they can feel engaged and make it happen.”

Create a 4-point plan.

Through the years, Brian has learned that for a plan to work it needs to be based on strategy, not just an idea. He’s since created and implemented a 4-point plan to help his company reach its goals. 

Step 1: Build rapport

Rapport means understanding the connection between the owner and the employees as well as understanding the needs that your employees have. To build rapport, Brian makes it a point to talk with every one of his 75 employees every week.

“It’s not like I do a review,” Brian said. “It’s a casual stroll through the business to say hello and find out how their family is doing.” 

Step 2: Define “it”

To know where you want to go, you first have to define “it.” Rather than speaking in generalities, get clear on your vision, mission, and short- and long-term goals. Also, be specific when you tell employees what you need from them to achieve those goals. 

Step 3: Share why

Not only is it important to clearly detail the plan, but it’s also critical to share why the broader goal matters.

“Sometimes it’s as simple as we have to do this so we can ensure job security,” Brian said. “Sometimes it’s as big as we have to do this, so you can get a huge raise.” 

Step 4: Ask for commitment

A plan can’t succeed without the commitment of everyone to follow the process and achieve the outcome. At HEART Certified Auto Care, Brian makes sure everyone is aligned on the plan and then asks for a verbal commitment.

“If we don’t have their commitment, typically there’s a breakdown in communication somewhere,” Brian said. “Either their values don’t align, the ‘what’ wasn’t clear enough, or the ‘why’ wasn’t compelling enough.”

Live up to your standards.

As a gay man in a blue-collar industry, Brian felt he had to prove himself. Early in his career, he tended to overcompensate, which created a toxic work culture. The result was that he almost lost his business.

“I asked everyone else to succeed in an area that I was failing, and that’s the worst kind of leader,” he said. “I have really high standards, and if I was going to have those high standards, I better live up to them myself.”

After personal therapy and a forced business rebrand, Brian committed to putting heart at the center of his business and leading with empathy instead of tyranny. It didn’t take long for the business to start to grow.

“All of a sudden, people wanted my help,” he said. “We went from losing a million and a half dollars in one year to we’re going to do just shy of 15 million bucks this year.”

Resources + Links

About Brian and the Mission Driven Business Podcast

Brian Thompson, JD/CFP, is a tax attorney and certified financial planner who specializes in providing comprehensive financial planning to LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs who run mission-driven businesses. The Mission Driven Business podcast was born out of his passion for helping social entrepreneurs create businesses with purpose and profit.

On the podcast, Brian talks with diverse entrepreneurs and the people who support them. Listeners hear stories of experiences, strength, and hope and get practical advice to help them build businesses that might just change the world, too.