Bill Hansen is the founder of The Hansen Group, a luxury catering and event production services company in Miami, FL.
For those who don't know anything about you or your work, can you provide a bit of background?
I grew up in a small town in Western NY. For college I attended Cornell University in Hotel Management. I was also a Naval Officer and have worked in many different roles for over 50 years now. For the last 40 years I have been an entrepreneur in South Florida, working in the world of luxury weddings and special events. In 1980 I took over the management of Miami’s top city club as their contractor, met Miami’s movers and shakers and started catering off-premises at venues like Vizcaya Museum and Gardens and my exclusive venue, Villa Woodbine in Coconut Grove.
Was any one person who was instrumental in helping you get from where you started out, to where you are now?
Many mentors over the years but my wife Terry has kept me sane and solvent!
Is there a particular piece of advice you were given in the early days of your business journey that you still benefit from today?
You can do anything you set you mind to do. It might seem simple but I=it has helped throughout my career. Another piece of advise that I was given was to follow you passion. If you are not passionate about something, find something that you are passionate about.
What is the most important lesson you've learned about leadership in your business journey so far?
Hire the best and the brightest! Tell them what you expect, give them the necessary tools and do not micromanage. Never be the smartest person around the table.
What are the top three things you wish you'd known when you were just starting out?
Spirituality: I wish I had embraced spirituality earlier in my career. It's been a great guide for me both professionally and personally.
Owning my own workspace: I wish I had owned my own commissary earlier in my F&B career
Hiring tactics: I wish I had known some of the special tactics needed in a good hire.
In your experience, what is the most effective way to build a strong network of mentors and advisors to guide you in your business endeavors?
A great way to build a strong network of mentors and advisors is to know where you need help and reach out to that person. Don't be afraid to drop them a line on Linkedin and ask for advice. It can be a great tool and people are usually willing to talk and give their own advice to those looking to grow their career.
How do you determine when it's time to pivot, and what factors should you consider in making that decision?
For me, it's always about revenue. If we're not making money, we need to shift the way that we're doing things.
How do you stay motivated and inspired during the business cycle of ups and downs?
I meditate each day, which helps me get ready for the busy nature of the industry. I also make sure that I spend time with family and friends as they are my motivators and the reason why I keep going after 78 years!
Looking back, what one thing would you do differently if you could start your journey over again?
I've had a wonderful life and career. If I could go back to my youth, I probably would have applied myself more while at Cornell. As many college students do, I probably partied too much and studied too little. I would take the time to network and meet other people with similar goals and work ethic.