January 27, 2020
"And I'm in there -- the hat on backwards, t-shirt, and jeans ripped. I've got no job, but I'm keeping my word, right? That I was going to take care of this person no matter what." -Ward Bassett
Ward Bassett understands how quickly one’s luck can run out -- and what it takes to persevere when everything goes sideways. Ward’s early life played out like a classic teen adventure film befitting someone born grasping a silver spoon. Then tragedy struck, leaving him to make sense of life.
Today, Bassett Salon Solutions' CEO credits a crash course in humility and enviable timing for his second chance at success. Jason chats with Ward about his unusual origin story, what he’s learned about acquisitions from the school of life, and the mantra that’s fueled his entrepreneurial spirit from day one.
“Help people get what they want, and you will always have what you need,” Ward says, reciting his father’s oft-repeated advice. “I just never forgot that.” His dad knew of what he spoke. The senior Bassett founded Bassett Racing. At age 19, Ward’s future in the high-octane sport of motocross was bright. Then, his father’s untimely death set Ward adrift. “Any money left behind, I blew,” he admits. Broke and carrying a massive chip on his shoulder, Ward found himself in a karate dojo, far from college-bound but somehow on the right path.
The circuitous journey from hair model to successful salon products distributor has a lot in common with Ward’s early days in motocross. He applied himself to both pursuits and took advantage of his access to the industry’s smartest people. Those connections provided him with a better education than any college program. To this day, he recommends owners surround themselves with people outside their business and even their industry, like a CFO coach, to provide unbiased support.
Still, no matter how much he’d learned on that job, life teaches new lessons—case in point, Bassett’s one and, so far, only industry acquisition. Before setting up his own operation, Ward had sat in on multiple buyouts, but it wasn’t until he drove the entire process from the owner’s that he realized all the little things he didn’t know. “We certainly had some ego going in,” he admits. No regrets, though. He’d do it all over again, only wiser about it next time.
Humility and an uncomplicated approach—what some might still call luck—are the critical ingredients of Ward’s success. Now, he’s paying it forward by supporting causes near to his heart. Check out his motocross-themed video for ChildHelp USA, then visit the foundation’s page for more information.
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Distribution Talk is produced by The Distribution Team, a consulting services firm dedicated to helping wholesale distribution clients remove barriers to profitability, generate wealth and achieve personal goals.
This episode was edited & mixed by The Creative Impostor Studios.
Special thanks to our sponsor for this episode: INxSQL Distribution Software, integrated distribution ERP software designed for the wholesale and distribution industry.