Nicolas is a doctor and founder of Sparrks, a platform for business coaching. He completed his medical studies at Harvard Medical School and the University of Munich before receiving his MBA from INSEAD. His top three skills for entrepreneurship success are discipline, follow-through, and customer focus. Discipline involves maintaining consistency in the job and pushing through unpleasant chores, followed-through involves not giving up, and customer focus involves keeping current customers happy. These three skills are essential for entrepreneurship success.
The co-founder of Sparrks, a renowned source of business consulting, is Dr. Nicolas Stephan. Former Senior Manager at Bain & Company, Nicolas offered significant organizations strategic and transformational guidance. He co-created and oversaw a number of consultant trainings as well. The concept for developing a time- and money-effective business coaching format that would give talent and emerging leaders access to top business coaches and promote organizational development originated at Bain & Company, where Nicolas worked with his colleague Jakob Hansen, who is now the company’s co-founder.
The process of creating a high-value service is not new to Nicolas. He was a founding member of the unicorn logistics company Sennder Technologies. Yes, Nicolas is a doctor; he completed his medical studies at Harvard Medical School and the University of Munich before receiving his MBA from INSEAD. Unquestionably, Nicolas’ “surgical” accuracy in detecting and meeting consumer demands was affected by his educational background.
What is Sparrks’ purpose?
A platform for business coaching called Sparrks is committed to a framework that is both affordable and valuable. This dedication manifests in an effective 1:1 coaching approach that includes practice phases and four digital coaching sessions of 45 minutes each with the best executive mentors for each development aim.
Describe your background and the founding of your company.
At Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, I earned a medical PhD in Clinical Pharmacology before developing an interest in business and entrepreneurship. Then, when my goals changed, I chose to enroll in INSEAD’s MBA program. This shift in emphasis, time spent as Senior Manager at renowned strategy consulting company Bain & Company, and meeting Jakob Hansen all played a role in the founding of Sparrks in early 2021.
Which top three skills, in your opinion, are essential for entrepreneurship success? Why?
Discipline. You may maintain consistency in your job and push through unpleasant but important chores by exercising discipline. It also connotes responsibility and dependability.
Follow-Through. Don’t give up until you’ve done something! even if the information is annoying. Just finish it.
customer focus. It doesn’t matter whether you think the stuff you bought was fantastic. In the end, you need customers who see your offering as special. Furthermore, if you currently have these customers, keeping them happy should take precedence over finding new ones. In the end, it is easier to keep current customers than to find new ones. Additionally, new, small firms have a structural advantage in terms of client retention and happiness, thus it is crucial for them to focus on it.
What are your long-term goals and how do you plan to grow this business?
We want to evolve into a platform for business counseling, or, to put it another way, for professional growth. Coaching is a great place to start. Mid-term, we will keep putting our attention on business mentoring because it is growing quickly and gaining market share, especially in Europe. As a result, our main goal is to keep growing as a platform for business counseling, after which we want to extend into additional markets for highly-tailored professional development solutions. Offering top-notch development solutions will remain our True North. We place a great value on the time and money of our clients.
What effects have the epidemic and lockdown had on you or your startup?
In the midst of the epidemic, we started making Sparrks. The epidemic was essential to our business model’s success. It is advantageous for people to be familiar using their computers and video conferencing to speak with others as we provide one-on-one business coaching via videoconference. It acted as a catalyst for our company concept, to put it briefly.
How do you set yourself out from your competitors?
Our teaching style is far more successful than other digital coaching platforms, enabling coachees to do the same, if not more, in less time. To make our offering so powerful, we take advantage of the psychological impact of a well defined scope and the level of our teachers. The most skilled and knowledgeable group of executive business advisors works for us. We are thrilled beyond belief! Our coaches can deliver a lot of value in a short amount of time. Additionally, our solution serves whole enterprises, leaders, and other groups in addition to a small number of top executives.
What did you learn from the three greatest mistakes you made while starting your business?
I should point you that since we are a bootstrapped business, our marketing budget is constrained. Although appealing, marketing needs resources. In hindsight, I think we allocated resources and started promoting it too soon.
Second, we started selling our products too late, which meant that we didn’t hire any salespeople until far after our product had already been released. Until marketing produces viable prospects, the sales team may support the rest of the business.
We kept developing as a team despite the start of the global economic slump in the first half of 2022. Maybe we should have employed a little more slowly given the surroundings outside. My co-founder and I were asked to provide more funds because our business was bootstrapped.
What marketing tactic has been the most successful for you?
We place a lot of emphasis on sales promotion because our service is geared at businesses. Each firm is distinct, therefore prospects have certain worries. Therefore, it is essential to provide replies from a sales representative who is aware of the difficulties and frictions faced by customers. Nevertheless, in order to help our sales efforts, we also engage in extra marketing initiatives. The majority of digital marketing and PR is conducted through these promotional channels. In this area, we want to improve brand recognition.
What challenges did you face that you overcame the most?
My biggest challenge was assembling a team and a product on a shoestring budget. This remained a difficulty until we could pay suppliers, team members, and everyone else from generated money.
What did you manage to accomplish with your initial company concept?
My first business idea, I think, came to me as a young child. Nevertheless, while working toward my MBA, I came up with my first real business concept. In order to create suggestions for diagnostic and therapeutic care, it was building an artificial intelligence that searches through medical literature, research papers, and readily available medical records. Many companies now do or seek to accomplish this. I also got this concept, maybe a bit earlier, but it was just that—an idea.
What are you learning right now? What makes this important?
I’m trying to teach my youngster how to make origami. It is, in my opinion, a great technique to develop precision and patience.
What would you alter if you had to restart your business?
I think hiring salespeople sooner is the biggest improvement I would make.
Which top three internet tools and resources do you use most frequently to grow your business?
I’m using Hubspot, which is essential for marketing sales and keeping detailed records and documentation.
Trello is, in my opinion, a fantastic team management tool because to the canvas board functionality. Planning tasks is made much more organized thanks to it.
I’ve lately started learning more about Chat GPT and utilizing its AI capabilities.
What productivity tip do you follow?
Avoid multitasking. Multitasking is ineffective. Do one thing well, then maybe take a little break before going on to the next item. Don’t assume you can remember knowledge, as well. Document issues in writing.
Can you suggest a book, podcast, and online course with an emphasis on entrepreneurs?
I would suggest reading “The Great CEO Within – The Tactical Guide to Company Building” by Matt Mochary. It resonated with me. The book is available in English. I’ll let readers find it out for themselves.
The podcast version of David Goggins’ “Can’t Hurt Me” was entertaining.
I am unable to offer advice because I haven’t completed any online courses for business owners.
How would you spend $1,000 if you had the information you now have to establish a new business?
According to me, a lot relies on the market one wants to compete in. I might start by signing up for a digital application service like Zapier (another contender for the top 3) or other no-code automation solutions. With these tools, you can build fantastic services and business models without writing a single line of code or needing to be a programmer. You can produce technically simple, visually beautiful solutions with these tools. I would initially use the money to buy an online membership to a no-code automation program, depending on the various sizes and costs.
What keeps you steadfast and inspired to go on running your business?
I consider myself to be quite disciplined, which is very beneficial. I also like the idea of following through and depending on a capable staff. People value those who are dedicated to providing high-quality services.
What is your favorite quote?
You possess mental intelligence.
Your sandals are on your feet.
You are free to travel in any direction.
What guidance would you offer to potential business owners who are just starting out?
The best advise I could provide to aspiring or new business owners is to begin going right away. Expecting a wonderful company idea to fall from the sky is unrealistic. Just venture out into the world, perhaps find a business partner, and use a systematic approach to uncover your company idea. Do not panic excessively. And if the first or second attempt is unsuccessful, try again!
What would you define as success?
This is a difficult subject. For me, success involves living morally uprightly, being happy, and having the ability to contribute to the happiness of my loved ones.
How do you personally deal with anxiety?
Even if it sounds silly, I try to finish jobs. I try to avoid putting things off and holding onto the notion that issues or worries will go away on their own. So I try to grab the bull by the horns and make things happen.
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