Jose Luis Orona, founder and President of the Texas Nexus Business Group, sees himself as just an average guy who was fortunate enough to be introduced to a couple of great business opportunities. He chose to take advantage of both, first one, then the other, and those two choices have made a world of difference in his life and the lives of many others. If you are an entrepreneur or business owner trying to figure out how to grow your business, you’ll want to read about how Jose and the men and women of the Texas Nexus Business Group are making their dreams come true. They are all ordinary people, but they have extraordinary vision.
How did you get started in the insurance industry?
I’m sure every young man wants to make his mark in the world, at least his small part of the world; I know I did. So I made a commitment to attend college, and I chose Texas A & M University, to get a degree in engineering. While I was there, I heard about a unique opportunity with the Southwestern Company. They hire college students every summer to sell educational materials door-to-door. I jumped at the opportunity, not having any idea of the impact that decision would have on my future. During the four summers I worked with Southwestern, I worked a mind-blowing number of hours every week, and it helped me develop a strong work ethic, and I learned how to be coachable. The most important thing I learned through my Southwestern experience was how to accept 100% responsibility for my results. I really thrived at Southwestern, becoming a team leader and making a great income every summer to pay for my fall and spring semesters at Texas A & M. After graduation, I actually turned down ALL job offers in engineering, to begin a commission-based career in insurance.
Why were you so motivated to join Family Heritage Life Insurance Company of America, over all the other job offers you had as a degreed engineer from a prestigious university?
One reason was the company’s unique and amazing products, which pay cash directly to clients in situations like cancer, heart disease, and accidents. I was also influenced by my strong belief in the people who were offering me this incredible opportunity. Firsthand experience with my own brother battling cancer was also a huge catalyst propelling me to choose this career and to commit to making it work no matter what. For the first time, I’d seen how people can lose everything they’ve worked so hard to achieve. I really wanted to raise awareness about the huge difference that being prepared can make. I’d found the area where I could make my mark.
Can you tell us a little more about your brother?
Francisco Orona was a Marine, super fit, committed to taking care of his body by exercising, eating right, and staying away from things that he knew weren’t going to make him healthier. He was a good Christian with a giving heart; everybody loved him. So when he was diagnosed with brain cancer, my whole family just could not believe it. He was so strong and vibrant, and he fought the cancer with everything he had in him, but he died at the tender age of 23. His death had a huge impact on me, because I saw Francisco as a great role model, and we loved hanging out and spending time together whenever he was home. Eight years later, I still think about him a lot. On a positive note, even though Francisco is gone, he is still making a positive impact. Last year, the family got together to establish a memorial scholarship in his name. This scholarship is a great source of pride for the entire Orona family.
How would you describe your work style?
I have a strong belief in my commitment to being a “P.O.P.I.,” a Person Of Positive Influence. I try to always look on the bright side of things, and speak from a positive mindset. I never ask my team members/business partners to do anything that I myself have not done or am not willing to do. I try to follow the example set by the founders and leaders of Family Heritage Life Insurance Company of America, who for at least one week a month, are out in the field working alongside the “people in the trenches,” the sales force. Even our founder/CEO, Howard Lewis, who is in his mid-sixties is out in the field monthly providing invaluable training, and creating lifetime memories for our agents. I’ve learned that being in the field allows me, as the owner of the Texas Nexus Business Group, to keep in touch with what’s going on at the ground level.
What advice do you give to your agents?
I am a business owner who wants nothing but the very best for all of my business partners. I try to give them good advice, especially the kind that will help them not just in business, but in life too.
- Discover your purpose in life. As we work to fulfill our true purpose in life, we become fulfilled, and we will naturally desire to become the best version of ourselves.
- Make a decision. It really is as simple as that. You make a decision to move forward, to achieve, and you don’t have to listen to your emotional self anymore when it tries to make excuses that do nothing but hold you back.
- Set your goals, add a deadline and make sure they are high enough so that they scare you at least a little bit. Each goal you set should stretch you a little, or you’ll settle for mediocrity.
- Create a plan to meet your goals, and then work it to the best of your ability. You have to break it down into action steps, so you don’t get too overwhelmed.
- Surround yourself with people who are on the same mission as you are. Creating accountability with like-minded people is a great way to keep you on track as you move toward your goals.
- Stay away from negative people. They will suck the life right out of you. Even if that means limiting your time with certain members of your family, so be it. Life is tough enough without having to deal with that.
- Commit to your goals and don’t accept your excuses for not achieving them. A lot of the time, you can turn your excuses around and make them into reasons to do the things you should be doing to achieve success.
- The most important message I try to get across to my team members/ business partners is to be patient and to understand that building a successful business takes time.
I’ve worked with many amazingly talented people, but because they were not able to give themselves the time to move through the process, they were unable to realize their original visions of success.
What are some of the tough calls you’ve had to make in building/growing your business?
Growing a business always involves sacrifice, and it’s been no different building the Texas Nexus Business Group. In the early days, when Texas Nexus was just one guy in a little one-bedroom apartment, I made the tough decision to travel away from home, away from my wife, for weeks, sometimes months at a time, to work in territories all over South Texas. By traveling to work away from home without distractions, I was able to stay focused on selling and recruiting and then training the people I brought into the business. I’m not saying that I was never tempted to call it a week and head back home, especially during the holidays. But I was committed to making things happen, so I stuck it out.
Years later, after the business had grown, and I had become a sales director, one of the toughest things I had to do was ask people to move on. Either this business obviously was not a good fit for them, or they became a negative influence on the team, despite ongoing coaching to help them develop a more positive mental attitude. I’m sure people may have thought I was crazy to remove commission-based sales agents, because a huge portion of the business is driven by the sales force, but I realized that a negative influence on the sales force is as damaging, if not more so than not having a sales force at all. I had to put the needs of the team ahead of the needs of a few. It was tough to do that, but I’ve never regretted doing what was best for my company.
What does the future of Texas Nexus Business Group look like?
I’ve heard it said that the best way to predict the future is to create it. We in Texas Nexus know where we’ve been, and we also know where we are going. Texas Nexus has a goal to hire enough people to have one of the largest organizations within Family Heritage in the state of Texas. We are always looking for sharp people, because Texas Nexus also plans to develop 5 business partners into millionaires (in net worth) through the same process while being a part of Family Heritage. We are implementing a plan to streamline operations in certain areas such as training. In 2015, we will begin developing our people in a newly created training program called Success University, created specifically for our new agents, which will address their specific products and needs. Through Business Adviser Magazine – San Antonio Edition, we plan to give small business owners a boost in their branding, name recognition, and market presence, by offering them advertising in exchange for sharing their expertise with other small business owners. It’s a win-win!
What are you most excited about with both Business Adviser and Family Heritage?
There is so much to be excited about! We at Texas Nexus have been so amazed at how everything has fallen into place basically from day one when I was spending so much time away from home, looking for people to share the opportunity with. I was just hungry, looking to build my team, meeting people and asking for referrals. I truly had no idea that those relationships would connect me to people who would later be the builders of a multi-million dollar organization. I had no clue how many of our clients were going to benefit from our unique supplemental products! Or how connecting the dots would also lead me to becoming the first franchise owner of Business Adviser and expanding it into the San Antonio market.
Family Heritage has recently made some adjustments that are going to have a big impact on our business here in South Texas. The development of Spanish language materials has definitely boosted sales. The investments that are being made into the sales force, and the increase in home office staff members to provide optimal customer service will go a long way to help everyone feel how valuable they are to the company. And for the record, it was the Texas Nexus Business Group that put Family Heritage on the map in the Rio Grande Valley!
So to answer the question, what I am most excited about is that Texas Nexus Business Group and Business Adviser were practically destined to meet, simply because the founders of Business Adviser and the other businesses that they own utilize so many business practices that parallel those of Texas Nexus. Common sense tells me that if Business Adviser helped their businesses grow in South Texas, it will do the same for us here in San Antonio.
What do you plan to bring to the San Antonio market with Business Adviser Magazine?
Texas Nexus is ecstatic about bringing Business Adviser Magazine to the San Antonio market! Business Adviser has had a huge impact on the Rio Grande Valley business market, and we want to do the same for San Antonio. We’re so happy to give business owners a vehicle to get their name out there, and to begin establishing themselves as the industry authority or the expert in their field without it costing them an arm and a leg. We are also glad to know that we will be providing our market with education that is valuable at all levels of business, as well as a fresh perspective on the way small businesses are growing in today’s market. Business owners need to understand that they can make certain benefits available to their employees at little or no cost to themselves or their companies. Business Adviser Magazine will help open the door for us to reach out to those business owners.
In a word, Business Adviser – San Antonio Edition can accurately be called a great example of synergy at its best.