Inc Magazine Columnist Norm Brodsky Walks You Through the Rudimentary Path of Entrepreneurship
Co-host Brad Forsythe interviews Norm Brodsky, co-author of The Knack: How Street Smart Entrepreneurs Learn to Handle Whatever Comes Up. Norm had already launched seven successful businesses—including a three-time Inc. 500 company—by the time he began writing the Street Smarts column in Inc. magazine with Bo Burlingham in 1995. The column has proved to be enormously popular with readers of the magazine and was twice a finalist for a National Magazine Award. In 2008, it received a gold Azbee award from the American Society of Business Publication Editors.
With the success of the column have come a flood of speaking invitations. Brodsky now lectures widely and has become a frequent guest on MSNBC.
A graduate of Rider College and Brooklyn Law School, Brodsky began his professional career as a lawyer, but the slow pace of the courtroom led him to search for another vocation. In 1979, he started Perfect Courier, a messenger service based in Manhattan. Within a few years, it was a thriving enterprise with offices around the country, appearing on Inc.'s annual listing of the 500 fastest-growing private companies in America for three consecutive years.
But as fax machines began appearing in more and more businesses, Brodsky realized that his company's prospects were limited, and he began looking for other opportunities. A request from a customer looking to store some boxes prompted him to call several records-storage facilities in the area. Their responses convinced him that the industry offered great promise.
He proceeded to launch CitiStorage out of a rented warehouse in Long Island City, N.Y., later moving it to the Brooklyn waterfront where he began building warehouses of his own. Today those warehouses contain more than 3.5 million boxes.
In 1999, Brodsky launched a secure document destruction business, U.S. Document Security, as an adjunct to CitiStorage. In December 2007, he sold both those companies, plus the delivery business, to Allied Capital for a reported $110 million. The combined entity is still run by the management team that Brodsky and his wife, Elaine, developed over the years, while he and his erstwhile partner Sam Kaplan work on acquisitions.
When he is not doing acquisitions, starting businesses, mentoring other entrepreneurs, developing real estate, traveling, or working on his column, Brodsky enjoys skiing black diamonds with Elaine at their home in Telluride, CO—a sport he took up at the age of 57. The rest of the year, he and Elaine live in Brooklyn, NY; Long Beach, NY; and Aventura, FL. They have been married for more than 39 years and have two daughters.
For entertaining advice join hosts Ray Schilens and Brad Forsythe for a lively and informative discussion.