Overcoming setbacks is a crucial part of any entrepreneur's workflow, but it's unlikely that anyone understands challenges—and conquering them—better than Stan Bril.
Present-day, Stan Bril is the founder and CEO of MCG, a lending company that has lent billions of dollars to small and medium-sized businesses. But Bril didn't start there—in fact, he, like many others, had to face the rough, choppy waters that often go hand-in-hand with entering the world of entrepreneurship. Bril, however, entered the entrepreneurship world at one of the toughest times imaginable—the 2008 financial crisis.
Through dedication, hard work, and infinite lessons, Bril built a wildly successful company even in the midst of an economic downturn. Today, MCG is one of the most successful, admired lending companies in the industry, and all of that can be credited to Bril's determination and desire for growth.
Bril's Early Life
The hardships Bril faced weren't just career-related, though. While he's now the leader of an American company that's lent over $30 billion, he was once just a 7-year-old boy, moving to the United States from the Soviet Union with his parents via a resettlement program.
Bril's journey was anything but seamless and straightforward. As part of the program, Bril spent nearly six months in Italy watching his father earn money by repairing bicycles. His older siblings brought in earnings washing windshields on street corners. Even Bril did his part, visiting junkyards to find bike parts in order to help his father.
He looks back at that time and realizes in those moments is when he truly learned the value of a hard-earned dollar.
Eventually, Stan and his family settled in Savannah, Georgia, and he began his own entrepreneurial chase toward receiving hard-earned dollars. In school, he started a lawn mowing business—when it grew, he hired his school friends to work with him. It was his first lesson in scaling a business and growing an enterprise.
Setbacks, Challenges, and Successes—Sometimes They're All The Same
Though Bril had learned quite a bit already about challenges and how to overcome them, one of his most poignant ones came right after high school. Bril had earned a soccer scholarship at Brooklyn College to play for the Metro Stars. Unfortunately, Bril broke his leg several times on the field, ending his soccer career and costing him the scholarship he'd worked so hard for.
But Bril didn't quit college once he lost his scholarship. He pressed on, determined to reinvent himself and find his new identity. It was only because of this challenge Bril realized that he desired a career in business.
But the hardships didn't stop there. Years later, a routine doctor visit revealed that Bril had a rare heart condition that required him to have immediate open-heart surgery.
The condition turned out to be a disease that was strongly associated with sudden cardiac death on the field for athletes—had Bril not broken his leg years earlier and ended his soccer career, it's possible he could have met the same fate as other athletes with this condition. Sometimes, setbacks can make the biggest differences in the outcomes of our lives.
From Used Cars to Mortgage Banking - Sometimes It's a Process
Bril graduated college and moved to Philadelphia where his father owned a used car lot. Here, Bril began his first entrepreneurial adventure as an adult—selling used cars on eBay.
Naturally, it was a success, and it kick-started his journey of how to successfully work as a savvy entrepreneur—none of which might have happened without the challenges and setbacks he experienced in college.
Bril worked with his father's company for several years, but in 2003, decided he was ready for a new challenge altogether. Bril began his career as a mortgage banker, and during his six years in the industry, he saw first-hand just how difficult it was for individuals, small businesses, and mid-sized businesses to get the same access to capital as large companies and the elite.
An idea was born.
The Launch of MCG
Bril realized quickly what his new goal would be—he wanted to develop a private, commercial lending firm that would provide funding to small and mid-sized businesses, even the ones that didn't have access to bank lending.
MCG, Bril's lending company, was founded in 2009—right in the middle of the worst financial crisis in generations. While he considers it one of his fiercest challenges to date, it also led to being the most rewarding project of all.
Despite the rocky start and the roadblocks along the way, Bril spent ten years building a successful business that has lent in excess of $30 billion dollars to funding businesses. He also manages a fund of more than $400 million with the exact same mission.
It was Bril's values, his determination, and his willingness to face challenges head-on that led him to where he is today—and that's a lesson he wants to leave behind for every entrepreneur who follows in his footsteps.