We had the good fortune of connecting with Tommy Obenchain and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tommy, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
It was really the previous business’ I started.
In launching, nearly destroying, and then rebuilding a company that I went onto sell, I came to appreciate how challenging it really is to be an entrepreneur. There is just so much bad information out there. So, I formed Tommy Obenchain Consulting in 2016 to help leaders struggling in the chaos of running a business and hurting from the results of financial stress.
What I really do is help people establish clarity, and then take the right steps forward.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
My first word was airplane, and some would say I have a different way of looking at the world. My wife, Hannah, would agree (with good reason). I started my first business as a six year old, and could spell “entrepreneur” backward and forward by the time I was seven.
At 16, I started my first e-commerce business importing jewelry from Asia, and at 24 I launched a charter bus company.
In that time, I had also graduated from college and gone to work for a management consulting firm. The bottom line was I thought I had the business world by the tail.
The reality was I did not. I made a series of impulsive decisions and accumulated over a quarter million dollars in high-interest debt, all in a misguided pursuit of my own success.
The short version of the story is that, by the time I was 26, my unwise decisions nearly caused Hannah and I to lose everything.
After waking up to the stupidity of my decisions, I went on a journey to learn how to start companies that thrive and understand how money really works. I researched everything I could find on healthy businesses. I met with many older entrepreneurs and leaders who started and ran businesses that actually succeeded. I became obsessed with the difference between what people think or say versus what is really true.
And my journey lead to a really familiar and uncomfortable place: me. I came to see that my bad decisions, money problems, anxieties, and failings all started and ended with me.
I also realized that if I could learn to manage myself, I could succeed in business as an entrepreneur. This had become so much more than a journey to learn: it was a journey to truth.
So I began the intense process of re-organizing both the jewelry and bus company, and took a job as a flight attendant to stabilize my family’s month-to-month cashflow. With the right plan, both of those businesses shed debt, turned around, and were eventually sold.
I also transformed my personal life. And along the way, I returned to consulting, but this time with a clear mission of helping others like me take the same journey to truth and transform their businesses.
I started Tommy Obenchain Consulting in 2016 to guide leaders and their businesses hurting from the chaos of financial disorder or the lack of a clear plan. I have made many nearsighted business decisions (which I prefer to call “expensive learning experiences”) so my clients do not have to. I created the Tommy Obenchain Strategic Planning (TOSP) Framework based on all I have learned about building a healthy business, and began implementing it alongside small business leaders in 2017.
That lead me to create a series of frameworks, and begin sharing them in coaching sessions, workshops, and through my online courses.
My company defines success not as dollars coming in, but lives changed by business’ that are executing a clear plan of action and growing on cashflow. We call this thriving because it represents more than just a financial reality. When a business thrives, it strengthens a community, creates continued value for customers + shareholders, and therein betters the world at large.
That is why our mission is not a platitude or corporate lip service, but the true passion behind our work:
Tommy Obenchain is on a mission to provide world-class management consulting services to serve businesses of all sizes, so they thrive and in thriving make the world a better place.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
You know, truly, I just love DFW airport. To me, the metroplex doesn’t gets anymore fun than that.
It might be a unique place to spend a week, but what a story you’d have to tell if you did.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The truth is, a lot of people. Jesus Christ. My wife. My parents. My grandparents. My siblings. My extended family. The faculty at Providence and Highland Park High School in Dallas. My professors at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. Those who serve in leadership at Park Cities Presbyterian Church. Jase Chandler. Phillip Koons. Gil Sheehan. Robert Hunt. Victor Boutros. Many others. The list really does go on and on, which is a reflection of how deeply our stories are shaped by those around us, and how significant those around us really are.