Subscribe to Inc. This Morning, a daily news digest curated for those interested in entrepreneurship.
Need a little inspiration to get your Monday going? You should meet Alan Fuerstman.
Before college, Fuerstman worked as a part-time doorman and bellboy at a Marriott hotel in Saddle Brook, New Jersey. Working in a hotel allowed him to meet "a lot of fascinating people"--including Bob Small, a guest who soon became that Marriott's general manager and eventually the CEO of Fairmont Hotels. The two men connected, and the executive became Fuerstman's mentor.
Four years later, as Fuerstman contemplated going to law school, Small offered him a different path: a full-time job in Marriott's management program. He took it.
Fuerstman, now 62, says it was one of the smartest decisions he ever made. It turned out that he was talented at hospitality management. He doubled the value of one resort in Scottsdale, Arizona, in just four years--which gave him the confidence to start his own company.
Maybe you've heard of it: Montage International, a 17-year-old luxury hospitality management firm with a portfolio now worth nearly $3 billion. The company's revenues exceeded $400 million in 2018 alone. In a fascinating story published on Inc.com today he explains how his company found success. Check out the piece for a lot of smart, nitty gritty growth strategies.
What I find most compelling about Fuerstman's story is how he got started. He wasn't Steve Jobs, co-founding a company in his garage during his 20s. He didn't pull a Mark Zuckerberg, dropping out of college to chase fortune and fame. He didn't even follow the "second act" entrepreneurial template: retiring from a long corporate career before finally following his passion and starting the unrelated business he always wanted to run.
Instead, he got a foot in the door early. He was lucky enough to meet the right person and smart enough to build that relationship. He worked his way up, and used his years of expertise to launch the venture his industry was missing.
Proof, yet again, that there's no single path to entrepreneurial success.
Correction: An earlier version of this article misspelled the surname of Bob Small.