Business profile: Craig Phinn

Craig PhinnCraig Phinn dubs himself as the “Profitability Strategist,” where he coaches small business entrepreneurs and advises corporate clients on how they can grow their businesses faster and consistently. Phinn is no new-comer to the business world, especially since he spent 10 years in Corporate America working his way from the bottom in the administrative capacity and moving his way up to become the head of finances, administration and investments for companies.

Phinn was raised by his single mother in South Bronx, New York. As a youth, he was interested in the typical things that most children were into. He enjoyed sports, such as competitive gymnastics, basketball and also had a secret interest in figure skating. However, Phinn also had one other interest that was not so typical: his interest in an inner conviction to create a better life for himself and his family, somewhere other than the South Bronx. “I can say now being more mature, that my goals and my desires were far ahead of my age and my capabilities at the time,” Phinn said.

His youthful ambition led him to also desire more challenge. Phinn was a straight honor student from junior high to high school, but at the age of 16, he decided to drop out, particularly because school did not fuel his desire to excel. Phinn also had many distractions in his way. “I wasn’t happy at school, I wasn’t happy at home and now that I am older and more self-aware, I can realize that I wasn’t really happy with myself at that age,” he explained.

Growing up, his mother was the first example of business ownership since she built her business from her South Bronx apartment and had people working for her within the city. Being exposed to it as a young child sparked his interest in pursuing business as well.

Once Phinn left school, he started his first business. He knew that if he wanted to fulfill his desire to move out of the South Bronx and provide a better life for himself and his family, he knew he was going to get there with a business. With the help of his sister, who he employed as his free secretary, he launched his events management business. This proved to be a challenge for him, since it did not take off. In fact, Phinn had a few start-up businesses in his professional career that failed, but with a good amount of analysis, he was able to pin-point what was causing it.

Phinn decided to return to school and he began his journey to find happiness and fulfillment once he was in college. “That was a time when I was independent, working and living on my own and it was a time for me to really just be me. It made me think about what I wanted in life and dealing with what I already had going on in life,” Phinn said.

Seeing that he is a coach to many small business owners, he places a great value in mentorship. One of the best pieces of advice that Phinn gives to entrepreneurs and business professionals is that, to succeed in either building your own company or climbing up the corporate ladder, you need a mentor or a coach to guide you and provide you with objective guidance. “I started out alone and learned very quickly that it was not the route to go. Do not go on the journey alone,” said Phinn.

Phinn also emphasized the importance of preserving the image of your brand. In 2010, Phinn was invited to be part of the show, The Apprentice, but he turned down the offer. Phinn explained that while the show is phenomenal and the opportunity could have taken his name further faster, he was not willing to take the risk and forfeit control over how production would have depicted his image.

A day in the life of Craig Phinn is one long day. He is up at 5 a.m. every morning, checking his emails immediately to stay updated, getting ready for his work day, reflecting and giving thanks for being up another day to live his dream and help others live theirs, and also spending some time with his two-year old son before he heads off to the gym and his office in Atlantic Station.

His workdays are usually filled with calls, coaching and advising clients and companies.

Phinn refers to business as his first love; part of what he enjoys doing is sharing advice with others so they can also learn to love business. “We are in a day and age where we have lost our ability to move forward,” Phinn said. He explained that even with the way things are going in the marketplace and with the economy, now is the best time to start a business and to be in business. He provides some advice for young people interested in entrepreneurship. “Go for it. That’s how I’m raising my children. If you are thinking about working and doing it for somebody else, you can do it for yourself.”

Phinn lives by a motto that has led him on a journey to live out his dream: “Everything you want is on the other side of fear.”

Atlanta Free Speech salutes Craig Phinn.

To learn more about Craig Phinn, check out his website here.

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