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Nerella, I thank you for the opportunity to ask you some questions.
Please tell us about your background, experience, and current business.
I have lived and worked in a number of countries and have over 20 years of business experience in markets such as Canada, US, Europe, UK, Japan, Australia and NZ. I have worked in business development and operations management primarily in the business and professional services sector. Hence my current business, Boomerang Consulting Inc. which specializes in international business development, helping companies to expand into foreign markets by providing services such as market entry strategies and intercultural business communication.
Were you the founder of the company?
What is the legal structure of your company?
The company is incorporated both for tax purposes and potential liability issues – although I’m aware that this doesn’t completely protect me as the sole shareholder.
How many employees does your business employ?
I work with associates and subcontractors but have deliberately avoided employees, being a firm believer in the “free agent” movement. I have found most employer-employee situations to be less than ideal. Boomerang Consulting operates out of an executive office where receptionists and administrative staff are shared between several entrepreneurs.
How was the business model of the company developed?
Obviously the business model is very simple even for a consulting firm; the intent is to grow through strategic alliances rather than number of employees or branches.
Was your company financed by venture capital, private investment, loans, or personal funds?
The business was funded personally; whenever possible I think companies should grow organically and avoid the kind of debt the business world seems to be operating on at the moment. Of course this isn’t possible in most cases, but I have often been shocked at how freely some entrepreneurs spend other people’s investments.
Do you feel your company has a distinct corporate culture? If so, would you describe it?
I guess Boomerang Consulting’s culture is essentally a reflexion of me; i.e. professional, creative and entrepreneurial but never corporate!
Describe some of the obstacles you have encountered along the course of building your company? How were these overcome?
The ongoing challenge is always “hustling for the next gig”. I try to overcome this by forming alliances and joining consortiums of experts that gives my business more visibility and marketing clout. 9/11 was also a big impact; persistence and continued networking helped overcome this to some extent.
How important do you feel the proper advisors are in ensuring an young entrepreneurs success?
Young entrepreneurs can certainly benefit from advisors and mentors, but one advantage they have is the luxury of being able to make mistakes and still have time to learn from them. Having said that, I would certainly warn them not to underestimate the wisdom gained from some “grey hair”.
What have been the keys in bringing your company to the level it is at today?
Persistence, persistence and persistence!
How have you kept your edge over competitors fresh?
Our competitive advantages are a) experience (which is never exactly the same as our competitors), b) the fact that we are small enough to personalize our services (something the big guys are not usually good at) and c) our willingness to be present and accountable throughout completion of each project (not always the case in the consulting world unfortunately). And I tend to think of competitors as potential partners.
What are the marketing methods you have used with the most success?
My business relies primarily on referals, therefore networking is extremely important, as is writing articles and giving presentations to position the company as an expert.
What books and resources would you recommend for young entrepreneurs?
There is so much information out there, you just have to dig through it to find what is most applicable.
How important do you consider networking and building contacts to be for an entrepreneur’s success?
Extremely important! I wish I had known this when I was younger then I would have had an even greater international network of contacts to help my business.
If you could pin it down to just one thing, what is the one most important thing you have learned about business?
To be true to my own values and ethics and do business only with those who share them.
Any final advice for young entrepreneurs or businessmen just getting started?
Be persistent, overestimate expenses and underestimate revenues, and remember that if “you fail to plan, you plan to fail”.