Michael Kurland, CEO of Branded Group: Exemplifying the entrepreneurial spirit with purpose and helping you create the best experience for your brand.
“Whatever leadership role you are in, seek ways to mentor or coach others. Pass along your knowledge and experience to those who want to be in leadership. Take a colleague or team member under your wing.”
As part of our series called Elite League of Influential Entrepreneurs, we had the pleasure of conversing with Michael Kurland.
Michael, the award-winning CEO of a thriving national facilities management company, is dedicated to leading with purpose and giving back to his community. Michael founded Branded Group in 2014 and since then he has led the company’s year-over-year exponential growth and cultural transformation, which has been achieved through the development of a highly-regarded team of industry experts who strive to be better to their clients, communities, vendors, and to each other. This dedication has resulted in trusted partnerships, as well as highly-satisfied clients and a respected standing in the industry.
Michael was chosen as a semi-finalist for EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year® 2021 Orange County Awards Program because of his dedication to his colleagues, industry, and community. Branded Group has also garnered other business and humanitarian awards including Great Place to Work® certification for four consecutive years and ranking on the Inc. 5000 multiple times.
The story of perseverance and how Michael Kurland founded Branded Group
Michael has spent most of his professional life in the facilities management sector. Prior to founding Branded Group, he was the vice president of sales for a facilities management company in Long Island, New York. From 2007 until 2012, he assisted in the company’s sales growth from $7 million to $50 million. The company was sold to a private equity group in 2012 and vowed not to make any changes, but they did, including letting Michael go from his role.
When Michael started Branded Group, he knew that he wanted to build an organization that would “Be Better.” Since then, Michael has been repeatedly recognized for his entrepreneurial leadership and volunteerism.
“More than seven years ago, I travelled across the country to launch Branded Group with a singular vision: Be Better. Since its inception, this has been the guiding principle on which my team and I have been focused. This applies to internal processes, client relationships and our unique ways of giving back to those in need. We have developed a solid purpose-driven culture with enviable retention and engagement rates,” Michael shares. “Our employees believe in our vision and continue to go above and beyond for our clients and partners. Even though the first few years had its ups and downs, we stayed true to our BeBetter commitment and have a respected position in the facility management industry as a company of integrity, trustworthiness, and service excellence.”
The Rise of Branded Group
Branded Group provides its nationwide clients with peace of mind by preserving their brand standards. Their services include on-demand facility maintenance, construction management and special project implementation for retail locations, restaurants, healthcare facilities and educational institutions, among other industry verticals.
“My goal is to guarantee that my team and I continue to provide our clients, vendors, partners and each other with a #BeBetter experience by exemplifying our core values and following our vision,” explains Michael. “Our award-winning One-for-One social impact program guides our volunteer efforts by matching our time with completed client service calls. We are always seeking new ways to give back to our communities. In past years, we have volunteered with Habitat for Humanity of Orange County, California and Suffolk County, New York. This year, we’re contributing one meal to Feeding America’s network for every completed service call to help put an end to food insecurity.”
Here’s the excerpt from our conversation with Michael Kurland, the CEO and Co-Founder of Branded Group:
What has been the most important aspect of your success?
I was determined right from the start that I would not fail. I would go to any length to ensure the success of my company, which even required balancing the books at first; certainly not my strong suit.
I transferred this “never fail” mantra to my team in that I wanted each of them to feel supported and be a part of the BeBetter family. For example, if anyone was not thriving in their role, we sought to reposition them so they’d be better aligned with their strengths. We repeatedly revisit our operational processes and procedures with a mindset to continuously improve, making us uber efficient and productive as a team. We have refined our hiring and training process so that we are crystal clear on who we bring into the company. These endeavors, along with a team that supports our vision, are what has collectively led to our success.
How do you encourage creative thinking within your organization?
Creative thinking is embedded in our commitment to being an organization that is continuously improving. We regularly “break” our processes to see how we can do them better. We seek out ideas and feedback through our annual employee engagement surveys and implement suggestions.
What is the most significant risk you’ve ever taken?
Selling all I owned, moving across the country and launching Branded Group was the biggest risk I’ve ever taken. I left the familiar behind and ventured into realms I’d never imagined. My vision to Be Better, on the other hand, kept me focused and motivated because I knew that if I didn’t give up, I’d be successful both personally and professionally. More significantly, I’d be able to use my firm to make a difference in the world. Aligning purpose and profit has resulted in an organization that benefits our industry, our employees, and their families, as well as the communities where our team members reside.
Which suggestions would you provide to the young leaders aspiring for success?
Be yourself. When you are authentic, people will be drawn to you and will want to do business with you because they trust you. Relationships that are built on trust will last forever. This holds true in business and in our personal lives. It’s the relationships we have that enable us to be successful, whether these are people in our professional networks, family, or friends. As a leader, you must lead by example. Do what you say you will do. Admit when you’ve made a mistake and move on. Don’t be afraid to take a risk and fail. Sometimes it’s these leaps of faith that will transform our businesses and our lives.
What are your outside interests?
I enjoy a variety of physical activities and participating in my organization’s give-back events, which have included beach clean-ups, building and restoring houses, running in 5K’s and supporting food and back-to-school drives. Most recently, I launched my #BeBetter with Michael Kurland podcast and I have enjoyed meeting my guests to discuss their inspiring stories of overcoming personal and professional challenges as well as their insights into how they are being better to themselves and others. I’m currently working on a book and I look forward to sharing my experiences with other leaders who seek to launch or transform their businesses into purpose-driven organizations.