If you keep reading this article you will definitely not land at the list of the top 10 business tips that will make you a millionaire. Simply because that magical list does not exist. It’s much more complex than that. Indeed my friend so far you have read at least 10 articles each one of them titled with a magical number of business tips that will shoot your stamina and know-how to the stratosphere. But surprisingly enough you are still not a millionaire and you have spent much more time reading than actually doing. I’m not gonna waste your time either.
It was February this year. I was in Thailand, enjoying the great weather, turquoise-blue waters and fantastic days before a visit to Singapore. Early morning at 7:00 am. I was up for a morning swim. And then got a message from a friend of mine who was in Taipei, Taiwan at the time. It was all about an entrepreneurial initiative of the US Government and guess what, the deadline to submit all the information and the documents was ending up in 8h. “You gotta do it!”, my friend was telling me, “It’s still 2:00 am in Washington”. And so I did. It was not that easy considering the fact that I had to write all the statements, do all the scans, etc in an airport shuttle van and submit them via constantly breaking up WiFi connection at the airport literally moments before take off. But it all went well. Let’s fast-forward few months ahead now. It was the beginning of September. I’m in Vienna, boarding a long-haul flight to D.C for the afternoon official inauguration of Young Transatlantic Innovation Leaders Initiative 2017.
“Two roads diverged in a wood … I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference.”
“When you take risks you learn that there will be times when you succeed and there will be times when you fail, and both are equally important.”
So here we are in America, 50 young transatlantic innovation leaders from various countries gathered together to cooperate, work and grow their entrepreneurial initiatives. The amount of knowledge, quality of questions asked and answers given, connections established and friendly chitchats is utterly great! You would definitely want to be in a same room with such flourishing minds, entrepreneurs, top US government officials, policy makers, influencers, investors, experts from various backgrounds, VCs and most importantly – curious people. We have had rich and fully packed agenda planned well ahead in Washington. It was all stamped as a fabulous beginning. Indeed.
A huge surprise came up when I understood that there are many friends of mine from around the globe that are also part of the initiative. Eman from Malta, Boris from Georgia and Ivan from Croatia are just a few among them. The world is not small, it is actually quite huge but as my dear friend, Filipe Carrera would say “The friendships, network and connections you establish in life will define your future ones”, or as another great entrepreneur and friend of mine, Paolo Ruggeri would point out “Bright people are the greatest capital one could have”.
“The secret of business is to know something that nobody else knows.”
A week after the top-notch time spent in D.C. I am in front of the Comcast Corporation Center in Philadelphia. I had lined up a serious number of meetings related to my business initiatives and had precisely planned who I want to meet and why this person can not be substituted with anyone else. This way you make sure you don’t waste anyone’s time. Philly offered unique business and entrepreneurial eco-system that indeed helped me set up the foundations of something very important.
Doing business in the US is of course different to anywhere esle in the world. Despite the fact that I have ran a successful company in London, UK and have had ventures in a number of EU countries I have to admit that having such a first-hand experience and the opportunity to dive in so deeply the US business infrastructure is a rare commodity you would not find on the stock market. What the US Government and the GMF team have prepared for us is a state of the art program that provides you with the best sound system produced. What is left for us is to load the right track and turn the volume up.
So I end up with invitation from the U.S. Department of Commerce to hold a Sales and Business Development training to the management team of a local company. What a pleasure it is to do what you love. And I still haven’t turned the volume up.
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” – Bill Gates
Following the energizing Sales training I delivered to a USA based company a number of very resourceful meetings took place after. First with faculty members of The Wharton School, the business school of the University of Pennsylvania, a private Ivy League university which MBA program is ranked No. 1 in the world according to Business Insider and is tied with Harvard Business School for the No. 1 rank in the United States according to U.S. News & World Report. Then with researchers and young business owners from Drexel University School of Entrepreneurship where we have been discussing what is the difference between wannabe-entrepreneurs and company owners. And then a thought-provocative and delicious lunch with VCs from Touchdown Ventures.
“Don’t let perfection be the enemy of done!”
So the journey continues. New York, Philadelphia and Washington again, Chicago and Miami. Precisely selected destinations each one of which offering its unique opportunities and various assets to my business initiatives. Series of resourceful meetings and fantastic relationships were established during the following weeks.
Together with my dear friend Matteo who flew from Charlotte and joined me on a 24h notice for a trip to NYC, we have had great time meeting fabulous people. Now is the time to say “Thank you, Laurence and Alex!” and the whole JCI New York team for the warm reception and the great time we have spent together! We love the business vibes, the energy, entrepreneurial spirit, pro-activity and the talent of you all! Christiane from Austria who is resigning in Italy and with whom we happened to have many friends in common is doing a wonderful job! If you want to know more about her project check out StartUpStars and Junge Wirtschaft to get to know more about her initiatives! I also managed to sneak time and had lunch with a real entrepreneurial torpedo, my old friend from Cologne, Germany 2012, a World Business Dialogue Ambassador, Isabella.
“To succeed in business it is necessary to make others see things as you see them.” – Aristotel Onasis
Now, let’s keep it short as promised. It’s a day before my fight to Frankfurt and I am having аn early morning breakfast in Miami with a true business tornado! Doing business with a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway is a stock you want to definitely long. Mr. Buffet is quite lucky to have Felicita, the CEO my close friend and JCI EVP, Kevin Hin introduced to me. Two hours breakfast at Ocean Drive Cafe with the person working closely with Mr. Buffet is, believe me, great and valuable experience.
Voila! That was an extremely short wrap up of the intense program I had in America. What will follow next is a number of know-how exchange meetings and a YTILI reunion in Berlin, Germany in April 2018. We are all looking forward to come together again!
In the meantime, look up for your own No.1 Business Tip from this story. I promised “No business tips here” but you can still read between the lines. And you can prove me wrong.
Be great and live in passion,