NEW ORLEANS, LA / ACCESSWIRE / August 15, 2020 / Frank Song recently introduced his thesis in dominating decorous, high-profit markets with unsophisticated competitors. Over the course of his executive career, Frank Song has become an expert at finding little-known, decorous, unsophisticated markets and building successful businesses in each. The most impressive part of his success is that he built his empire without any outside investment. Every dollar invested in his businesses is his own money - he has never taken a dollar in loans, venture debt, or investment to build his success.
Frank summarized his life experience as, "Theory, concepts, and pontification doesn't feed you, only being cunning, clever and making correct decisions. My business training was very simple. If you make good decisions, you eat today. You make wrong ones, you don't eat."
Start of his career
When he was just 16 years old, Frank was doing everything he could just to survive. He spent part of his teen years sleeping in a 24/7 Wal-Mart, borrowing clothes from friends, and engaging in random hustles.
Frank had always been an exceptionally hard worker with relentless focus but dreaming big meant looking past his working, middle-class town. That is why the allure of investment banking and venture capital caught his attention. Venture capital is one of the most competitive industries in the world - his standard competitor had an Ivy League degree, top grades, graduated with honors, and had investment banking experience.
He landed his first job out of university at Stifel Nicholas Weisel, a top 50 investment bank. Within two years, was ranked as a top bucket analyst, and completed over $500 million in mergers and acquisitions, initial public offerings and leveraged buyouts, and was offered a contract extension.
After a grueling 10-month interview process against hundreds of other qualified candidates, he landed an offer at Accel-KKR, one of the top-performing private equity funds, where he helped manage the $2.4 billion dollar fund and focused on buying out $20 to $500 million technology companies.
At Accel-KKR, he was given a serious responsibility that is rarely entrusted to any 24 years old, which was to build relationships with founders, CEO's, directors, and owners of these $20 to $500 million businesses to buy their companies.
Soon tragedy struck and he was left in the position to choose career or family. He chose family. "The people at Accel-KKR are amazing. They understood the importance of family, and when I explained to them the situation, they asked if I instead wanted a six-month vacation so I could help my family. I politely declined as I knew it wouldn't be fair to them or my sister since she was about sixteen years old at the time, and I was going to be her caregiver to at least eighteen."
Speaking of the support he received, "What I respect most about them is that they also offered to give me a strong recommendation letter to Harvard and Stanford Business school, which are business schools that most of the partners graduated from or help me get into another private equity firm, even if it was years down the line. How they treated me when I left spoke volumes about their character. I knew then I had made the right decision to call it home, even if it was temporary."
This choice unknowingly led him to go on and build an international holding company with businesses in multiple countries around the world.
Opportunities in high-profit, decorous markets
After leaving Accel-KKR, Frank may have left the finance world, but he didn't leave behind his strong investment thesis in dominating unsexy, high-profit markets with unsophisticated competitors.
"In investment banking and private equity, you have some of the most intelligent people in the world, working 100 hours a week, teamed up with some of the most intelligent lawyers and accountants in the world, who are also working day and night, just to earn a few million dollars a year." That's where Frank's epiphany was born. "Why not bring that same level of advanced resourcefulness, high operating sophistication, ruthless competitive strategy, marketing and sales cunningness, and leverage technology into high-profit markets with really unsophisticated competitors?"
His thesis was right. His ability to stretch a dollar farther than anyone else made him resourceful - he knew how to run a lean business focused on strong fundamentals and found every possible way to save every dollar possible. Every dollar saved was carefully used to develop proprietary advantages against competitors in each market. He used those dollars to invest in extremely lean, targeted marketing, hire the best talent, and steadily gain more market share.
Over time, his opponents were being drained of their resources, and their costs for acquiring customers continued to rise. While he was gaining more leverage to outperform the competition, his competitors were struggling to survive. At that point, he would make his weakened competitor an offer to sell their company to him or resume his competitive onslaught for their market share. Once this cycle started, it was only a matter of time before his business would be generating millions of dollars in that market.
"Being resourceful and knowing how to use a dollar better than your opponent allows you to beat competitors with equal or more resources. If you can do this, in every war, success becomes inevitable. If you're getting more return and profit than your competitor for each dollar put inside your business, winning is almost certain."
He credits his success to his earlier days spent sleeping on the floors of Wal-Mart. In many ways, each business begins as an underdog in its market. "I lived my entire life as an underdog," Frank says. "Every day is a test. Everyone wants to eat, but very few are willing to hunt. You can't win by fighting over the same opportunities as everyone else, you need to find and create them yourself."
SOURCE: Song Media
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