The father of Romanian business coaching talks exclusively for The Romania Journal about his company, prospects, personal and professional background and what Coaching4You can do for your business.
How did you realize that your profession is right for you?
Only when I was 28 I felt that I am doing the thing for which I was born. Until then, I went through several jobs and several companies. Although in each place I had excellent results, at 28 years old I came to know that public speeches and entrepreneurship are my passions. There are three indicators that help you see if your activity is suitable for you or not, and these are:
It should not make you tired
Not even after a 5 hours course, during which I am moving, I am all along standing and making effort, I don’t feel tired. On the opposite, I feel even fuller of energy.
You should not need external motivation
No one has “to force” me or “to lure” me to get up on stage and talk. It’s me who wants to do so.
You must have results
It’s not enough for you to like what you are doing. You must be good in that area. Otherwise you will give up easily on that activity, because the results will be missing.
Which were the highlights of your career?
There are many moments in life in which we are taking small decisions that are influencing our lives forever. In fact, the decisions we take on a daily basis define our destination and destiny. There have been important moments in my life when a different decision would have changed my direction, probably 180 degrees.
I will enumerate a few:
When I left for Portugal.
Going to another country made me open my mind and see “something else”. I’ve seen a different way of living. A different mentality. A different way of doing business.
When I joined the largest coaching company in the world.
In just two years, I have learned more than I did 24 years up to then. It meant a spectacular growth for me.
When I got married.
My wife is the person who has mostly influenced my life. She is my inspiration and the person who supports me in everything I do.
When I returned to Romania.
I decided to start my company in Romania at the beginning of the financial crisis. Although the beginning was very difficult, it was my best professional decision.
When I was in bankruptcy and did not give up.
After six months of activity in Romania, I found myself in bankruptcy. I hadn’t succeed in signing any contract and I had lost all the money I have saved in Portugal, including the wedding money.
It was the moment I had to decide whether to continue my activity with the company or to close it and get a job. I went on with it… and I am extremely glad I did so.
I would not exclude the education I received from my parents, who has decisively influenced my career. Nor the influence of my mentors or of people with whom I interacted later in life and who helped me reach a level I didn’t even afford to dream about before.
What made you choose business coaching and not other professional activities?
I wasn’t dreaming as a child to get to become a business coach. In reality, I didn’t know much of business. On coaching even less. My career has developed in such way so that I came to work for the largest business coaching company in the world. After I started learning out there the secrets of successful businesses, I fell in love with this sector. Therefore, it was not something planned from way ahead.
How was the beginning of the Coaching4You business, what difficulties did you encounter and how did you overcome them?
The greatest difficulties have been the age and credibility. I was only 26 years old when I returned home. I was contacting business people aged 45-50 years old and was telling them I want to help them earn more money. Obviously, no one believed me, because I was too young and had no experience in Romania. The method through which I overcame this obstacle was to organize a lot of free seminars through which to educate the business people and to show them what I am capable of. And to overcome also the customers’ skepticism, we were the first coaching and training company in our country to offer the satisfaction’s guarantee for the provided services. Meaning, in case one wasn’t satisfied, we would have refunded him all the money.
How do you see the Romanian market you activate on?
As aforementioned, an important decision in my career was to return to Romania. The market here is nicely developing. Although the political environment is not so supportive with SMEs and entrepreneurship, there are many young people who are dreaming to have their own business. In Portugal, out of 10 friends, maybe I was having one who wanted a business. In Romania, from 10 young persons, 8 want a business. So it’s a good market, an emerging market. It’s the perfect market for me.
Do you think Romanians need business coaching and why?
Nobody needs business coaching. Any businessman can build a successful business without a coach. But with the help of a coach, he can do it faster and more efficiently. Any football team could play without a coach. But with a coach, it has better and quicker results.
What do you teach your seminars’ attendants?
Essentially, I teach them how to build a successful business, which, from my perspective, is: a commercial and profitable company that works without its owner. Many business people in Romania believe they are owners, but in fact they are employed in their own business. Instead of having a tool (the business) which to offer them free time and money, they work 10-12 hours a day and don’t earn as much as they deserve.
For many Romanians, the business which to function without them sounds utopian, but for those who want more than a job, the information in my courses can bring the change. Thousands of Romanian entrepreneurs have already changed their mindset and businesses in this regard.
How do you see Romania, in terms of entrepreneurship, in the future? With the development of this sector, do you think more coaching companies will hit the market or the existing ones will be expanding?
As mentioned above, there are many young people who want to have a business. Therefore, I would say that the future sounds good. Obviously, this will depend much on the political and economic environments. On how will the Government support entrepreneurship and on how it will encourage young people to put the basis of a startup.
Certainly, there will be more and more business coaching companies. There are many who say that these are already appearing as mushrooms after the rain. But few companies and few trainers will have a real major impact on the Romanian market. It is not enough to start a coaching company, you need to have results as well.
How do you see your business in the near future? Do you have plans to expand your business?
Of course I do. We have a plan for 1, 3, 5 and 10 years. On the short and medium term, the plan is to diversify the educational products we are offering and to collaborate with other trainers and coaches in order to launch products that change people’s lives. On the long term, the target is to take the business at global level.
How would you describe the evolution of your business from its beginning up to now? What was its turnover when you started it and what is today’s one?
There were three phases so far:
After just six months, I lost all the money and I was in bankruptcy.
After that “black” period in my career, I went through two years of surviving. At the time, I was living on one month to another.
Then I went through other two years of massive growth. I passed from one employee to 30 (in all my companies) and we reached the level of having events with thousands of people each year.
We need to see from now on what the next phases in the company’s development are. The turnover at first was zero. Since then, every year, we have doubled it, except for 2011, when we have made major changes in the company and have grown only with 38%. Our goal is to continue this trend and to double our turnover every year.
What advice do you have for an entrepreneur who wants to start a business in the same field in which you are activating?
To never stop learning. One cannot teaches others if he does not learn.
To focus on the success of the customer, not on the money. Money is a consequence of our work, not a goal.
Not to give up. It’s hard at first, but every beginning is hard.
Not to get emotionally involved with clients and their companies. A coach’s advantage is that he can be impartial and detached from the client’s company. When he loses this advantage, he cannot be a good adviser.
To build a great team around him. You can do much alone, but you can do ten times more with a fantastic team.