Interview Lorand Szasz: We need a new “edition” of entrepreneurs. People doing business with their heads and their hearts

Lorand Soares Szasz, Business Coach, Speaker, Trainer, entrepreneur and Coaching4you CEO is currently undergoing free seminars in many cities across the country as part of a tour. Learn more about it from the following interview for The Romania Journal:

– You have recently started the free seminars’ tournament in many cities across the country. Why did you choose the seminar “21 ways to increase your business” and not another one for this tour?

Although I hold this seminar for over five years, it is still very appreciated and highly demanded. It is the course that brings the biggest changes for the businesses in Romania. Those more than 60,000 business people who have already participated to the course are sending me messages of gratitude for the information presented at the course on weekly basis.

Being very practical information, at the end of the course participants know exactly what to do next in order to increase their sales and profits. The seminar is applied to the Romanian market and contains examples and case studies useful for any industry and for companies of any size.

– What percentage of new participants to paid seminars do you have following the organization of these free workshops?

After each free seminar we have around 15 percent of participants coming back for the second, third or even fourth time. The remaining of 85 percent represents people who are participating for the first time at one of my seminars.

Out of these participants more than a quarter register also for paid courses, seeing that what we teach are not nice theories taken over from books written by Americans, but simple strategies applicable to the market in Romania. For each paid course we have between 5 and 10 percent of participants returning for the second or third time, as our fee for a paid course is valid for life. The client can participate whenever he wants to that course. This way, from time to time, he “refreshes” the previously learned information.

– What new seminars will you organize in 2015 and where?

2015 will be a year of many launches of products and services. We are to launch five books, an online application to help entrepreneurs in Romania and two new courses: on marketing and on external and internal (employees) customer loyalty.

In the first half of the year we will hold these courses only in Bucharest, and afterwards I will hold these courses all over the country.

How do you see the evolution of young people in Romania in terms of entrepreneurship?

Not long time ago, I spoke with a former colleague from Portugal who saw some pictures from my courses and he told me: “Lorand, it’s amazing how many young people are attending your courses!”. I had the pleasure to work in other countries and Romania, together with the Republic of Moldova (where I had the pleasure to deliver a few courses) overtakes any market in Europe in terms of young people’s entrepreneurial spirit.

Many young people aim at opening a business, at starting off on their own and want to become the next millionaires.

This is due also to the low wages in Romania, as well as to the entrepreneurial spirit of our nation (for example, when Dacia was fashionable, we were all mechanics). This is a good thing, but at the same time I would like to draw a warning signal. Before becoming entrepreneurs, they should learn what it means to build and run a successful business, otherwise they risk bankruptcy.

– Do you have any statistics on young Romanian entrepreneurs (number for each big city)? If not, as an estimation, how many started their own businesses in the recent past and which are the cities in Romania with the highest number of young entrepreneurs?

From personal experience I would say that the cities with most young entrepreneurs are Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, Iasi and Timisoara. At least this is what statistics from our courses reveal.

On the other hand, from the statistics provided by the National Trade Register Office we can see it more clearly.
In December 2014, Cluj-Napoca was ranking first, with 2,159 of new SRL-Ds (Limited Liability Companies – Debutant). SRL-D is clearly a legal form addressed only to young people.

On the second position there is Bucharest with 1,890 SRL-Ds and Timis with 1,166 SRL-Ds. The surprise is represented by Dolj which comes next on the fourth place with 702 SRL-Ds.

However, if we look at the statistics of all the companies in Romania, and how they are distributed according to the age of the associations, out of the 747,699 active companies in Romania (December 2014), 124,912 are companies owned by persons aged below 29 years old. Related to the countrywide distribution we have on the first six places: Bucharest with 30,086 companies, Cluj-Napoca with 7,208, Constanta with 5,734, Timis with 5,556, Ilfov with 5,175 and Iasi with 4,561 companies.

For the 30-39 age segment, the rankings are almost identical, only that Timis ranks third and Constanta fourth.

The last counties in terms of number of newly founded companies and of young entrepreneurs are: Vaslui, Botosani, Ialomita, Mehedinti and Covasna.

Distribution considering the judicial persons’ ages:
SRL-Ds’ registration:

According to the 2015 Political Risk Map Report, Romanian economy presents one of the fastest growths in the EEC in the coming years. What advice do you have, under these auspices, for those who want to start a business and for the entrepreneurs who have just started their journey?

One of the reasons for which I returned to Romania in 2008 is that I saw the entrepreneurial potential of our market. It was obvious that a country having “discovered” the market economy 18 years ago had to grow. Western markets were quite mature and even saturated.

It is obvious that a country which in economic terms is below the group average (EEC) has to grow the most. It is just like in a classroom. If you put the best students in one class and you bring a lower level student, the latter will have the most visible growth.

As for advice, they are the same I  have been giving for the past six years since I am in Romania.

  1. Learn, learn, learn. You cannot build successful businesses by ear. Go to courses, read books, study the successful companies, copy the models that work and be open to everything that’s new on the market. If you don’t grow, your business will not grow.
  2. Be righteous. You cannot build a successful business which to stay on the market also after decades if you’re not honest. We all know that we are bombarded with examples of “businessmen”, as I cannot call them entrepreneurs, who have become rich because of schemes and kicks. Fortunately, those who get rich overnight, usually get poor overnight. Be honest to customers, employees, suppliers, investors, partners and even to the state.
  3. Be different. You cannot resist on the market if you don’t innovate. If you’re not different, the only way that you can fight the competition is through price. And you will lose this fight, because there is a rule in economics saying that there will always be someone selling cheaper. Educate your market to look at quality, not at the price. Provide impeccable services which to pleasantly surprise the customer at every transaction. Within the free seminar “21 ways to increase your business” I teach two simple methods through which the companies can differentiate themselves from the competitors so they can sell more and more expensive.

We need a new “edition” of entrepreneurs. People doing business with their heads and their hearts, not with their ears and their pockets.

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