Parish Morris, Profile in Success: From Vet to “Vetrepreneur”
Parish Morris is the owner and founder of a successful multi-million dollar business called Document Security Solutions (DSS) based in Perris, CA. Morris’ rise to prominence as an entrepreneur is an inspiring story and one that should be shared with our local business leaders, current business owners and perspective business owners.
The Early Years
Morris graduated from Morgantown High School in North Carolina in June 1984. In September of 1984 he joined the United States Marines. Initially, he served as a military recruiter but in 2003 he was deployed to Kuwait for 12 months as part of the Marine’s Operation Iraqi Freedom. After his honorable discharge, in September 2004 he and his family settled in Menifee, here in the Inland Empire. He worked at a few jobs in the private sector that were unsatisfying.
Seeds of Entrepreurship
In December of 2004, the seeds of Morris’ business came through in the form of a thought that he could combine his military experience and knowledge of sensitive documents (he handled confidential personnel information), into a mobile document shredding business. He knew the major barrier to entry, himself. He knew very little about entrepreneurship and small business principles but he was determined to learn, and fortunately for him there were many organizations available to him such as; SCORE, SBA, the SBDC and the Veterans Foreign Wars department, of which he took full advantage. Further, he had the good fortune of meeting a commercial banker who stressed the importance of a business plan and who taught him the basic principles of finance, loans and accounting.
In the Trenches
In 2006, almost two years after his business idea originally surfaced, Morris resigned from his job and officially launched DSS as a sole proprietorship. He purchased his first shredding truck that year via a SBA loan. In 2007 he incorporated the company.
During the early years of 2006-2012 Morris made many mistakes, learned a lot and had his share of bad luck like all entrepreneurs do. One year the company’s shredding truck was destroyed by fire. It was a great lesson for Morris, who learned the strategic tactics of creating multiple revenue streams, diversification and creating strategic alliances.
Continuing his education, in 2014 Morris graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in business from The University of Phoenix.
Today, DSS destroys confidential information stored on paper, computer hard drives and other media storage devices. The information is destroyed in state of the art shredding trucks. DSS footprints cover the IE, LA, the Bay Area and states in the south such as Georgia. The company is a multi- million dollar operation and over the years Morris has become an expert in the area of sourcing and winning government contracts.
In April of this year The U.S. Small Business Administration, Orange County/Inland Empire District Office selected Morris as the Veteran Small Business Champion of the Year for his efforts in assisting other “Vetrepreneurs” through his Veterans Business Action Committee, which he co-founded.
I asked Morris a few questions about becoming an entrepreneur. He claims he is now a “Battled Tested Entrepreneur.”
Gene: What advice would you give a new entrepreneur?
Morris: Believe in yourself and don’t accept no from anybody, including you.
G: What is the biggest lesson you have learned?
M: You have more fight in you than you ever imagined, especially when you are backed into a corner.
G: What do you think is the key to staying in business?
M: Expect to get it right only after you have failed a few times.
In this age, metrics can measure business key performance Indicators (KPI), but determination to move on in the face of adversity is the KPI of all KPI’s. Make this characteristic part of your entrepreneurial DNA.