Episode 50: Entrepreneurship with a Purpose with Mike Beckham

Mike Beckham: Co-Founder and CEO of Simple Modern

Mike graduated Summa Cum Laude from the OU Business College in 2003.

Mike began his career working with the worldwide non-profit Christian ministry CRU. Since transitioning to the business world, he has been a part of founding and operating several e-commerce businesses that have cumulatively generated more than 1 billion in revenue.

Most recently, Mike has served as CEO and co-founder of Simple Modern. Simple Modern has grown in 5 years to be one of the leading suppliers of stainless-steel insulated drinkware in the world. Simple Modern is an omni-channel consumer packaged goods company that was built from a digital first distribution strategy. Its three largest distribution channels are its website, Amazon, and Target. In addition, Simple Modern is a licensing partner for the NFL, NBA, NCAA, and Disney.

Mike lives in Norman with his wife of 17 years, Heather. He has two children, Carter (9) and Kenzie (6). In addition to his work in the business world, Mike is the senior entrepreneur-in-residence for the University of Oklahoma Price College of Business Entrepreneurship Program.

Mike says he is naturally very straightforward. He sees the world as it is and likes to work within that. Because of that, he thinks he is a more natural doer who tries to incorporate dreaming into it.

Relational Intentionality

Growing up, Mike’s parents were dedicated to their family and strengthening their relationship. They spent their time helping others through their profession and their actions. Mike and his brother were taught to be relationally committed and to help others. 

Mike was not immediately an entrepreneur, but his main goal was always to help others. Entrepreneurship is really about being creative and using one’s talents.

Taking a Step into the Nonprofit World

Mike was given the opportunity to be part of CRU after graduating from college. He decided to go for it and spent 9 years in ministry. Mike reflects that this job taught him so much about caring for people and working with them. He says that each job can bring out different parts of your personality, and has enjoyed being able to be in different industries over the years.

The Challenge of Business

Mike felt very challenged to leave the nonprofit world. His community and comfort zone were there and it was hard to leave. However, Mike was ready to work to make people’s lives better through his own business. Simple Modern is a fusion of all these things for Mike. 

Each water bottle from Simple Modern has a label that says “We exist to give generously.” Mike’s vision is to build a generous company and to be able to instill these values within their customers. 

Middle School Advice

Your beliefs are not stagnant and they can be grown! Mike wishes he had more of a growth mindset during middle school and high school. You have to take responsibility for your own development. 

Key Takeaways

  • Stewardship in business should be a core value.
  • Each job you take grows you in a different way.
  • Relational intentionality can shape an entrepreneurial mindset.

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