David RegnJan 2, 2023
Creating a Company Culture that Lasts
A Conversation with David Regn
New Books Network 2023
In this interview, Richard and Kimon speak with David Regn, CEO of Stream Companies. Collectively, David oversees about 600 employees, generating an annual revenue of around $225 million.
Growing up in a middle-class family, David got his first job at age 14. He worked at a grocery store, starting as a bagger, before quickly being promoted to run the in-store bakery. He worked in the bakery for five years, growing its weekly revenue from $300 to $3,000 a week. He left the grocery store once he started college, and after an internship, David realized that he didn’t want to work for someone else or a big corporation. Instead, he opted for the more challenging path of entrepreneurship.
Along, with his best friend Jason Brennan, David began doing independent marketing consulting for small companies owned by friends. This was in the mid-90s when many small businesses did not have any presence on the internet. At first, they helped small business owners like landscapers and physicians produce and distribute brochures.
David humorously describes how the first advertisement he ever took out was in the Yellow Pages phone book. Stream Companies had a phone number, but they used David’s mother’s home as their business address. From this ad, they got their first significant client. The marketing deck they produced made its way to a VP at Motorola, who reached out to David and Jason about additional marketing work.
One of their first significant clients was a small gym franchise of five locations owned by his brother. Over the course of the partnership, the franchise added an additional seven locations. This experience helped their company learn more about retail and how to work effectively with smaller owners.
Over the course of the interview, David continues to emphasize the importance of developing and maintaining relationships with clients over time. Many of David’s clients have worked with him for 20+ years. As these companies have grown, so has Stream Companies.
David also discusses cultivating and developing talent. He says that any boss and business owner should think about how to adequately care for employees, seeing them holistically instead of as just cogs. In the lead-up to the shutdowns from the pandemic, David and his executive board took pay cuts to ensure that as few employees as possible would be hurt by any declines in revenue. As David says, you have to “put people before profits.”
At the end of the interview, David talks about more recent developments, including recently selling a majority share of the company. This has given the company more room to grow.
Jason concludes with some advice on what entrepreneurs need to succeed:
2. Positive attitude
3. Be passionate about work
In 1996, David Regn and his lifelong friend and business partner, Jason Brennan, founded Stream Companies. In only a few short years, Stream Companies was recognized and awarded as one of the fastest growing, privately held entrepreneurial companies in Philadelphia and has continued to win awards like Inc. 5000, fastest-growing private companies and Best Places to Work in Pennsylvania multiple times over.
The NBN Entrepreneurship and Leadership podcast aims to educate, inform and entertain, sharing insights based on the personal stories of carefully selected guests—all in an informal atmosphere of unscripted conversations and open, personal accounts.
Find links to past episodes here.
About our Hosts:
Kimon is the founder of both Argos Multilingual and PMR. He founded both companies in the mid-90s with zero capital, and both have gone on to become market leaders in their respective sectors. Kimon was born in New York and moved to Krakow, Poland in 1993. He is passionate about sharing his success with others and working entrepreneurs of all kinds to help them achieve their goals.
Richard is a business and social entrepreneur who has founded or invested in more than 30 businesses, including Argos Multilingual, PMR and, in 2020, the New Books Network.
Richard has been a TEDx event organiser for years, supports the pro-entrepreneurship ecosystem, and leads entrepreneurship workshops at all levels. He was born in Oxford and moved to Poland in 1991, where continues to invest in promising companies and helps other entrepreneurs realise their dreams.