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Lessons I’ve Learned From The Success of a Father-Son Led Company


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In a couple of weeks, it’ll be my seven-year anniversary of joining my father Ray Boorojian at WaveCapital Partners, LLC. What an incredible journey it has been for me throughout my professional maturation thus far at the company. Working with a family member is not an education you’ll get anywhere else, neither in college nor in MBA school. With this wealth of experience, I consider myself qualified to write a book that would categorize and explain these past seven years as a guide for any small business that’s family-run. I’m in the process of writing a book on a separate business-related topic. Both would be applicable to any small business. For the purpose of this forum, I’ll provide brief backgrounds of WaveCapital, as well as my father (Ray) and me (Garrett) as the two leaders of the firm, as well as a few examples of what our firm is going through that’s not dissimilar to what other small, family-run, businesses are experiencing in America today.

Before Ray and I were working and running our company, WaveCapital, together, we were first just father and son. I only knew him as my Dad. A little more than eight years later after this picture below was taken, we decided it would be a great opportunity for me to join his company, WaveCapital, in August of 2014.

Ray Boorojian and Garrett Boorojian. (Tampa, Florida, 2006).

Ray is the founder, Chairman and CEO of WaveCapital, a nationally-recognized investment banking consultancy firm representing clients across the United States, in Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom. At WaveCapital, a fiduciary relationship is established with each one of its clients. A customizable, one-on-one, approach is taken when our firm works with each client to achieve his or her respective objectives. Hence, as Ray said back in 1984: “The matter doesn’t rest until the client’s objective is fulfilled.” The matters ultimately rest when WaveCapital facilitates capital (debt, equity, or both) to fund clients’ commercial real estate and non-real commercial estate applications. These days, about 50% of WaveCapital’s clients’ non-real estate deal flow consists of renewable energy, healthcare, technology, consumer products, business / Internet services, AR / VR, sports, entertainment and hospitality (including food and beverage) related matters. I created the name “WaveCapital” in 2012 as a symbol of an ocean’s continual waves bringing capital to clients.

WaveCapital is the latest iteration in the history of companies my father Ray has run since the 1980s. From his early days after law school, and eventually transitioning from law into financial services in December of 1982, less than five years later Ray was named one of the nation’s top three pension specialists at AXA / Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States in 1987. As per WaveCapital’s website, “Ray and other team members selected for their insurance knowledge and IT expertise, designed and installed qualified and non-qualified retirement plans for firms throughout the United States.” Ray and his team created the then-modern day defined contribution department at AXA / Equitable. More than 51,000 employees have been enrolled throughout Ray’s career. Ray closed transactions for Sharp, Hitachi, New York City Transit Authority, New Jersey Transit Corporation, amongst many others.

According to Small Business Trends and its source, Small Business Association (SBA), as of July 9th, 2021, 99.9% of U.S. based businesses are categorized as small businesses, with a total of 60.6 million people who account for 47.1% of all U.S. employees in the private sector. The SBA states that 5,305,960 small businesses have at least one employee but no more than 19 employees, 629,025 small businesses have 20 to 499 employees, which equates to U.S. small businesses’ 24,813,048 employees.

To think, WaveCapital is one of 5,305,960 U.S. small businesses in the range of one to 19 employees. For a company that’s WaveCapital’s size, that’s 5,305,960 business operations affecting the economy each day across the country. Similar to WaveCapital, each small business has a unique history that’s filled with teachable and valuable experiences and lessons. I have learned a considerable amount throughout my time thus far at WaveCapital. Working with Ray, our firm has enjoyed exceptional growth and broadening our reach to various industries, as we have expanded our professional investment banking consultancy practice by representing clients in one state to a dozen states in the past seven years.

As a faith-filled person with a strong around-the-clock work ethic, I’m a firm believer in never quitting and always persevering, and looking at the biggest of pictures while still focusing on the smallest of details. If you want to achieve the greatest of goals, you’ll want to create your own multi-step process where you’re able to Organize, Analyze and Revolutionize (OAR) these steps at any time to prepare or deal with whatever life brings you and your company. Just like its definition, your OAR will steer (propel) you toward accomplish the goals you and your team have set for the short and long term. Similar to a captain, I’m a stronger, more resilient and effective business leader and executive because of the utilization of my OAR on our WaveCapital boat to navigate the capriciousness of seas, either calm or calamitous (Great Recession of 2008 or COVID-19 pandemic of 2020) of the business world. But, I can attest: WaveCapital is more than a boat, it has proven to be a ship.

Whether it’s finding new business opportunities, managing clients’ expectations, weathering a part of the economic cycle, or working with a particular client or capital provider in the midst of closing a business transaction, the people who are entrepreneurial and run their own companies require a lot of creative and critical thinking skills to apply to everyday real-world scenarios.

WaveCapital Partners’ Ray Boorojian, Founder, Chairman and CEO, and Garrett Boorojian, CDO and Managing Partner. (SunTrust Plaza, Orlando, Florida, 2021)
WaveCapital Partners’ Ray Boorojian, Founder, Chairman and CEO, and Garrett Boorojian, CDO and Managing Partner. (SunTrust Plaza, Orlando, Florida, 2021)

As the CDO and Managing Partner, and a business developer who enjoys the relationship building aspect of the company, I’m accustomed to thinking outside the box and at the same time be resourceful to bring in the best available business opportunities to our firm. Ray’s background in ERISA law, corporate financial planning (CFP), business consulting, and mastering the art of closing, along with my business development and organizational leadership skills borne from my degree in broadcast journalism and having worked at ESPN and NBCUniversal, as well as the value-add assistance of our firm’s support team of additional licenses and degrees, are the key elements of our father-and-son company’s proven and successful track record to assist a wide variety of groups with their capital-funding related needs. For our client base at WaveCapital, we facilitate programmatic, long-term funding solutions, for them.

If you’re a CEO, another C-level executive, managing partner or managing director, you’re an integral part of your firm’s leadership team to help everything run effectively and smoothly, making sure productivity stays up while keeping your company’s brand at an elite level. If one person falls short in an organization, the whole team fails. To avoid that, a team has to have a pulse on the company and knowing its strengths and weaknesses. There are numerous changes that are happening in the business world today C-level executive leadership teams veto be aware of, and that needs to be understood throughout the company. It’s important for a company’s culture to adapt to any change in the most seamless way possible.

In Doreen Clark Pierce’s article 10 Biggest Challenges Small Business Owners Face Right Now in Entrepreneur earlier this year in February, she lists “digital-first world” as the number one challenge for small businesses. I’m grateful for my broadcast journalism skills, and media knowledge as a whole, for helping WaveCapital transition into the 21st century digital age. Whether it’s boosting up our social media presence online with daily posts, making frequent national media appearances or utilizing social media platform for business (i.e. LinkedIn) to make professional connections whom are needed to facilitate new business opportunities and help solve current needs with existing deal opportunities at the firm, I’ve had to explain the importance of these opportunities to my father Ray who started his professional career in fax machine era. He has been full on-board with displaying our national brand throughout the smart TV and digital media landscapes.

Also, in Pierce’s article, she also lists challenges such as “work-life balance,” disruption in production, and performance-pressure. These four out of her list of 10 are the factors that WaveCapital has dealt with the most going back to March of 2020 when the whole world shut its doors to the only way of life it ever knew. The COVID-19 pandemic, alone, could be the central focus for a book that any small business, let alone a family-run entity, is capable of writing.

It was challenging for me to strategize with my father Ray about how we wanted to chart the path of managing clients’ expectations and our own throughout the pandemic. What ended up happening is that we didn’t have a blueprint and therefore we literally took one day, one week and one month at a time, receiving our federal government assistance. We found after three to four months into the pandemic (around late May / early June of 2020) that our clients and our capital source providers in the lending and investing worlds had enough. Knowing that vaccines we’re being contemplated for the future, they took leaps of faith and became more comfortable to continue business as usual as best they could. Leading up to the 2020 U.S. election and well into the COVID-19 vaccine administering world we live in today, the work-life balance, productivity and sustaining performance from it, all worked out for Ray, me and our team at WaveCapital.

Written by Garrett Boorojian, Managing Partner and CDO of WaveCapital Partners.

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