Wild Business Growth Podcast #18: Greg Branstetter – President and Founder of Hippo Direct, Our Family Business

If you’re reading this, you’ve heard of Hippo Direct. But did you know how Hippo Direct came to be? This week’s podcast guest knows a thing or two about that – it’s our President and Founder, Greg Branstetter! Episode #18 of the Wild Business Growth podcast is HERE and is a special Thanksgiving family business edition where I interview Greg, who happens to be my dad! Presented by Hippo Direct. Listen on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, and your other favorite audio platforms – subscribe and leave a 5-star review if the episode made you smile!

What is the Wild Business Growth Podcast?

Hear how entrepreneurs & innovators unleash creativity to grow bigger and better businesses. Hear from an exciting new guest every single week who’s turning wild ideas into wild growth. Guests include startup founders, product inventors, social media influencers, and much more. Hosted by our digital marketing dude Max Branstetter – that’s me!

Episode #18: Greg Branstetter – President and Founder of Hippo Direct, Our Family Business

Greg Branstetter, the President and Founder of Hippo Direct, joins the show for a very special family edition during Thanksgiving week to be interviewed by his son and our podcast host, Max Branstetter. Dad has always been my biggest personal and professional influence, and it was incredibly surreal interviewing him to share his wisdom and life lessons with all of you. He’s been a huge help with this podcast and we even conducted the interview at the same exact table where we planned out the podcast 5 months ago! Dad is a true entrepreneur to the core who has embraced new ideas and pivots to achieve business success for over 2 decades now. He has always done everything he can to satisfy the needs of our clients and team. This episode covers everything from how Greg started Hippo Direct back in 1992 to the biggest life lessons he’s taught me. Here’s a small sample of what you will hear in this episode:

  • How to build confidence to start your own business
  • Why learning from failure can be so valuable
  • The pros and cons of family businesses
  • Why communicating with strangers is important
  • The importance of work-life balance
  • How music and travel can inspire creativity
  • Why disruption is key in any industry
  • The power of crayons

Connect with Greg on LinkedIn, on Instagram at @gbhippo, and at gbhippo@hippodirect.com.

Enjoy the show and call a family member to thank them! Check out the show notes below for much more detail.

Show Notes

  • Intro
  • The Hippo Direct Story
    • [7:37] When Greg decided to start his own business
    • [8:18] How my mom JoAnn and Greg survived financially when starting out
    • [9:02] How to build confidence to start your own business
    • [9:20] The desire to do it overcomes the feel of failure
    • [9:34] SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives)
    • [9:40] How many people told Greg his business wouldn’t work
    • [10:59] Where did the name Hippo Direct come from
    • [11:11] Heights International Publishing
    • [12:08] When Greg realized this would be a sustainable business
    • [12:35] Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band
    • [12:55] Mindy Branstetter LinkedIn
    • [13:18] Andy Mills LinkedIn
    • [14:01] How NYC has played a big part in our company history
    • [15:01] Why you need to be open to new ideas and pivot
    • [16:03] Yoda
    • [16:21] How we evolved from postal mailing lists to email marketing to lead generation to content marketing
    • [16:46] Google
    • [17:15] From SEO to content creation to social media marketing
    • [17:25] Why crayons are a metaphor for marketing methods
    • [18:05] What marketing is all about
    • [18:30] Clients who are book and newsletter publishers, content marketers, specialty product companies, online learning
  • Pros and Cons of Family Businesses
    • [20:04] Positive side of family businesses
    • [20:21] The best part of working with family
    • [22:02] The Notebook
    • [23:05] How to delegate projects to other people
    • [23:30] Why people start their own business
    • [23:46] Difference between a doer and a manager
    • [24:26] The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber
    • [25:17] A small business can only grow as large as the ego of its founder
    • [26:10] The importance of work-life balance
    • [28:47] Type A
    • [29:01] How my mom JoAnn got involved with the business
    • [29:24] QuickBooks
    • [29:58] General Electric
    • [30:05] Being in control of your future
    • [30:50] How many family businesses make it to the 2nd and 3rd generation
  • Biggest Life Lessons
    • [32:14] Learning from failure
    • [32:40] What I learned from running into a wall playing baseball
    • [34:50] Why learning from failure can be so valuable
    • [35:30] Why sports are such a great teacher in life
    • [36:02] Why you learn more from failure than success
    • [36:20] Bob Knight
    • [36:25] Wild Business Growth Podcast Episode #12: Ann Bastianelli from the Kelley School on Bob Knight
    • [36:45] Bill Parcells
    • [37:12] Why most startups don’t make it
    • [37:54] Failure is only permanent if you let it be
    • [38:20] Shiny Object Syndrome
    • [38:30] Orchard Middle School
    • [39:00] How to prioritize tasks in your work day
    • [39:33] Kendrick Lamar
    • [39:43] Why diners are a metaphor for business priorities
    • [40:16] Greg’s mentor Jim Lord
    • [40:25] Why you should focus on the thing that’s closer to bringing in money
    • [40:48] Why cash is like oxygen to a young business
    • [42:26] How to develop confidence to walk into any room and have a conversation with anyone
    • [42:43] My Grandpa Fred Branstetter
    • [43:01] Why communicating with strangers is an important part of business
    • [43:56] Venice Beach
  • Inspiration & Creativity: People, Hobbies, and Resources
  • Wild Business Shoutout of the Week
  • The Unusual: Pet Peeves, Phrases, and Quirks
  • Rapid Fire Q&A

That’s a (turkey) wrap! Stay tuned for a new special guest coming every single week! Let us know any guests you’d like to see on the show and follow along for your favorite marketing tips and business tips on Facebook, Twitter, InstagramLinkedIn, or YouTube. Sign up for the Hippo Digest email newsletter for your weekly recap of creative marketing. Let your business Run Wild…and Bring on the Bongos!!