Today, I spoke with Romanus Wolter, who has successfully branded himself as “The Kickstart guy.” He has a lot of knowledge when it comes to entrepreneurship and business coaching. We talked about how people should define success, how to start a business from a simple idea, why some people don’t make the leap (quitting instead) and if you need an MBA to succeed in life. Some of this information may be repetition, but I believe you’ll learn a lot and rethink your career a bit after reading it.
Romanus, what is your definition of success? What should people strive for and it is possible for everyone to become successful?
“A person is successful when they realize that they can actually never attain success as defined by themselves.”
Other people can be amazed by their achievements – but since we are human, once we reach a specific goal we always seek out our next success.
A client of mine dreams of getting their book published. They work hard, they tell their friends and family about their goals and they know that it will change their lives. After their book is published, they’re happy but soon begin to ask themselves “I wonder what my next book will be?” “Perhaps I can turn the book into a movie, now that would be really a great success.” “If I could get on Oprah, I could reach even more people.”
The realization that we can never be ‘the definition of success’ is comforting. It enables people to freely explore new opportunities and discover the possibilities present rather than focusing on outcomes that may or may not make them feel successful.
“This is what true success is all about – creating moments in your life to explore, learn, celebrate and improve the world around you.”
How does one go from an idea to a business? What steps are needed to put your ideas into action?
The best way to go from an idea into a business is to follow what I like to call “The Three Rules to Live By”:
- Speak from your passion – it inspires others to help you.
- Listen to others – you do not have to start your business alone. There are others with the expertise and knowledge you need to succeed – ask for their help and listen to their ideas.
- Write it down – The first four letters of listen are “LIST.” Write down every idea, contact and strategy people share with you. Circumstances change and an idea that seems silly today will become brilliant tomorrow.
To speak from your passion you focus in on your intents. There are two types of intent–internal and external. Your internal intent is why you want to start the business – what do you hope to get out of it. Your external intent explains how will your business benefits other people. People can’t argue with benefit and it gives them a reason to help you. Together, these intents provide the motivation you need to keep you going if times get tough.
If you want to really ‘kick-start’ your idea into a business – discover a way to start it today. That may sound crazy but its possible if you free your imagination and engage other people. For instance I had a client that wanted to start a new bar where people could gather, talk, play games – recreating a “family room”. They believed their business was years away because they needed to overcome huge obstacles such as raising money, securing a location and obtaining a liquor license.
I simply asked the question, “How can you start this business today?” They felt it was impossible. So I asked them to follow the three steps above – and they were amazed at the results. A friend of theirs knew the owners of a restaurant who had a bar area he wasn’t using to its full extent. What if they partnered with the owner (who already had the permits, licenses, glasses, furniture) and tested their concept out? Their bar could actually attract more people to his restaurant.
If you want to start a restaurant, cook at friends’ houses for a small fee or offer to ‘take over’ a local restaurant on a slow night. There is always a way to start and test our your idea today or at least tomorrow!
A lot of people quit their blogs and businesses after a few short months. What is your advice to stick with it and carry it out?
Starting a business is hard work. Most people don’t stick it out because the amount of effort required to build their businesses is not worth the “immediate payback.” Reward for your effort motivates you to keep going – and the best way to accomplish this is to get out of your own way. Many entrepreneurs develop a product or service and believe that they don’t have to alter it in order to win big. They work hard to “push down walls” to get it to the marketplace and then are flabbergasted when no one buys it.
You won’t make any money selling to yourself. In the beginning, you can build a solid business foundation by simply listening to the marketplace and delivering what it needs. Your customers are more than happy to tell you how to modify a product or service so it meet their needs and you make money. Ask them!
And once you establish a solid foundation and a great reputation – people will start listening to you. That’s when you will have the time and resources to try out your crazy ideas and develop that new product that everyone needs but never realized it.
Would you recommend an MBA for everyone? Will it benefit some over others and is it required to build a strong business?
I recommend that anyone going for an MBA write down what they want to achieve in school rather than just going to school because it’s the next best thing to do. Do you want to gain contacts to help you start your business? Do you want to test out an idea in the safety of a school setting? Define your real reason for getting an MBA and how will it help further your goals.
When I went for my MBA my goals where two fold – I wanted to work in London and I wanted to test out my ideas on a new method for starting businesses. I chose my school based on their business contacts in London and whether or not their curriculum would allow me to test out my own theories. My work in school and at Business in the Community in London was the foundation for my first book “Kick Start Your Dream Business.”
“To build a strong business you need two things – passion and the willpower to take action. You can learn what you need to do whether you are in school, at home or in a corporate environment.”
It all comes down to my ‘three rules to live by’ – speak from your passion, listen to others and write it down. These rules keep you aware of opportunities and inspire other to help you achieve even greater success.
My one ‘secret to building a personal brand’ is to engage naysayers. Most people ignore anyone who says something negative about their ideas. I tell myself that they have experience to share and I had better listen to it – so I engage them. The result is that I always learn new strategies and the people who others ignored become my biggest fans.
Romanus Wolter is “The Kick Start Guy.” He reaches over 2.4 million entrepreneurs monthly. As the author of the best-selling Kick Start Your Dream Business and Entrepreneur Magazine’s Success Coach Columnist, he provides practical, proven action steps that close the gap between goals and success. His latest book is called Kick Start Your Success.
As a radio host and speaker, Romanus opens with a bang and leaves audiences energized and with enough creative ideas to last two lifetimes. His programs are tied together with passion and action! As more than one person has said, “Romanus does not view the cup as half-full or half-empty—it’s overflowing!”