“Do the right thing, the right way, and actually do it.” This slogan was passed on to me by Sam Brunner. Sam is an exceptionally gifted management consultant with a wide range of clients. Passionate. Analytical. Tough. And fully booked. I first met him in 1992 during my first serious crisis as a consulting start-up. One year earlier, when I was 28 years old, I quit my very well-payed position as a senior financial analyst at a renowned Swiss private bank and started my own company as a financial consultant. It was time to bring an independent voice for evaluating private equity and stock investments to the market.
I started out in the consulting business for investors charging per daily or hourly rate. Later on we decided to grow the business with periodicals, i.e. monthly print publications in the pre-digital world. Together with Norman Rentrop’s publishing team, my team and I worked hard seven days a week to establish the first independent research service for institutional and private investors, a printed informational product, periodical, covering over 430 international publically traded companies on a monthly basis. Despite the effort, I was running out of cash. I was in the middle of hundreds of pages of research manuscripts, building a gigantic database of company data, and employing a dozen people.
The only thing that I instinctively realized at the time, “If it doesn’t work, I just have to increase my input, cash, and time.” Being an entrepreneur requires a dream and stamina, at least that’s what everyone says. Sure, but Samuel taught me to focus on something else. When you’re under stress, breathe deeply through your nose four times and reflect on these questions for ten minutes: “Am I doing the right thing? Am I doing it in the right way? Am I actually doing it?”