Welcome to our interviews section once again. This time around, we have a very important personality as our guest. Our guest is a leadership coach, trainer, electrical engineer and entrepreneur.
Bernd Geropp has been into entrepreneurship for over a decade, has built and sold a personal company and also handled over 350 employees of the company that eventually bought over his business. Today he is back as an entrepreneur, a job he has been doing since 2009. Bernd is the owner of More-Leadership.com
When I told Bernd I would love to interview him on my blog, he accepted with all pleasure. He finally made it and provided answers to a lot of issues bothering on leadership and entrepreneurship. Please relax and enjoy this interview, reserving your observations and questions for the end. Make sure to leave your questions for Bernd Geroop, using our comment box, he will surely respond to your questions as soon as possible.
Hello Bernd! You are welcome to Business Success Guide. Could you please introduce yourself to us?
Ans: I am working as a trainer, leadership coach and consultant, supporting CEO’s and entrepreneurs working in an industrial environment (B2B).
I studied electrical engineering. After my graduation I co-founded a high-tech company in Aachen/ Germany. The company grew and 5 years later we had 20 employees. In 2001 we sold the company to a global engineering company with 70,000 employees. I was in charge to integrate my former company into this corporation. I worked there for nine years in a middle management role having responsibility for 350 employees worldwide. Since 2009 I am back as an entrepreneur and work as leadership coach, consultant and trainer.
As a coach and consultant, do you handle bloggers too?
Ans: That is not my focus group. I mostly work with small and medium tech companies with 10-200 employees.
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What is the first step any business owner (including bloggers) should take to get your help?
Ans: First step would be to check out my English website www.more-leadership.com or my German website: www.mehr-fuehren.de
There are lots of free articles, videos, tips and tools available in order to learn about leadership, motivation and building teams. Mid of 2013 I published my first book and also started audio podcasting – but right now only in German. I plan to do this in English as well midterm.
How many quality clients do you have at the moment?
Ans: Right now I am working with about 20-30 clients per year
Do you think bloggers need leadership training?
Ans: To answer this question, we first need to define what we mean with leadership. I use the term leader for someone whom people follow or who guides or directs others. Important to mention here is: If you want to guide others, you firstly need to make sure that you can lead and guide yourself. Useful leadership training starts with getting to know yourself. How can you motivate yourself? What are your strengths and weaknesses? What are your goals? What do you want to achieve? All these are questions which also bloggers need to answer for themselves. So yes, parts of a good leadership training can be very useful for bloggers.
How affordable is your services to newbie business owners?
Ans: There is a lot of free stuff available on my websites. For instance you can download my free E-Book & a free audio version about how to become
a true leader.
With my services I focus on strategy consulting and leadership trainings for existing companies in B2B. They pay premium fees for the benefits they get from my services.
For 2014/ 2015 I plan to offer online video leadership trainings which will help newbie business owners as well as people who get into their first managerial role.
What do you think is responsible for the high number of business failures?
Ans: That’s a difficult question because if a business is successful or not depends on the business model, on the type of entrepreneur – and sometimes also on luck.
I wrote a blogpost where I highlighted 3 major points an entrepreneur should be aware of when he/ she starts a business: http://www.more-leadership.com/secrets-entrepreneur-start-up
1. The company today will not be the company you end up.
2. Overnight success does not exist!
3. Everything takes longer than you think!
The most important point for me is: Always take care that you have options. You will make lots of mistakes during your entrepreneurial journey, so you better be prepared that lots of your projects will fail but in these cases you should always be able to start again. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
What are the basic foundations for startups that would ensure their success?
Ans: I don’t believe that there is a 100 % certainty for success.
Independent from the business model you choose if you want to be successful, you need to be consistent in what you do and you need to focus on the benefit you bring to your clients. Be sure to be very clear which clients you focus on. Become sure that you solve an important problem of your clients.
What are the differences between working as an entrepreneur online/offline?
Ans: For me the big advantage of working online is that you can work from home. From a business perspective: Online business is global. That allows you to extremely niche down which clients to focus on. That allows you much easier to be perceived as the expert for your tiny niche! But because you are working globally this tiny niche still gives you enough business to earn good money.
How were you able to take your business to a global level? Did you do anything special?
Ans: Right now I am not really working on a global level. I am just starting. For me it was important to have my platform in both languages: German and English!
I run my German blog: www.mehr-fuehren.de and my English presence: www.more-leadership.com
Right now I focus on my German platform, but this will change in the second half of 2014.
What role does formal education play in wealth acquisition?
Ans: Formal education is needed if you are working as an employee. Formal education can help you if you are an entrepreneur, but it is not a prerequisite. Much more important is your attitude, your motivation, your consistency and the way you cope with your failures.
How does Bernd Geropp get his regular clients in the midst of stiff competition?
Ans: When I started 4 years ago, my offline client base came mainly from my business network I had. Today my clients hear from me thru my blog and podcast. I get emails and phone calls from business owners who want to work with me because they read my blog or listened to my podcast. It takes time to build this type of platform but it is worth it.
What steps should one take to keep one’s customers?
Ans: Never promise anything which you cannot deliver. Stay to your word. If possible overpromise!
Do you use social media to promote your business? If yes, which of them provides you the most measurable results?
Ans: I use Google plus, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube. But what really made the difference for me was audio podcasting. Right now I only have a podcast in German but I plan to do it in English as well.
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Has Google update at anytime affected your business blog? How?
Ans: No. I am not focused on SEO, but I focus on content creation. It seems that Google detected this fortunately. But what helps to get good links is networking with like-minded people.
What is the antidote to the world economic meltdown?
Ans: To be honest: I don’t know. Maybe everyone needs to start in his own environment. I try to do my best to help others to succeed and to be fair and honest with others. I am not successful with it all the time, sometimes I fail miserably but I try to do my best.
What are the basic precautions to take while doing business?
– Always have options. Think of a plan B.
– Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
– Nevertheless, don’t be afraid and try things. You will sometimes fail but
take risks: everything great and decisive is risky!
What advice do you have for newbie business owners and bloggers?
Ans: If you just started: Try things out. You learn by your mistakes. If you blog or podcast, find your voice. It takes time. Be consistent and don’t give up. Success needs time. It will not take weeks it will take years to be successful.
And very important: Get in touch with other like-minded entrepreneurs. Talk with them openly about your entrepreneurial journey, your ups and downs and your goals. They will lift you up if times are tough and they will hold you accountable when you think about quitting.
Thanks you so very much Bernd Geropp for granting our interview. God bless you.
Ans: It was my pleasure. Thank you very much for asking!
You have heard from Bernd Geropp. Drop your contributions and questions using our comment box below. Bernd would be glad to respond to and take care of your concerns as much as he can.
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