Nick Walpert is a business guru with decades of experience in the food and beverages industry. He established his first business at the tender age of 18 and has a string of successful companies under his belt. His success is largely a result of hard work and resilience and his professional networks and connections, which he leveraged to find opportunities for growth and development. He started at McDonald’s, where he served as a manager, and through their training courses, he learned the necessary skills to advance his career. He held top managerial positions at numerous internationally recognized companies such as Pyramid Beer & Alehouses, Sudwerks Beer, Winchell’s Donuts, Jack-in-the-Box, and Mrs. Fields Cookies. He is also an established public speaker and has helped motivate numerous students and professionals to find the drive they need to pursue their dream. Through his years of experience, he provides invaluable information to help entrepreneurs succeed during these seminars and even offers mentorship sessions for those interested in a similar career path. Nick is also the author of G.E.T: Customer Service Excellence, which offers great insights into enhancing customer experience and keeping them coming back for more. Aside from his first business Juicy Burgers Restaurant, he founded other hugely successful organizations, including MedSpa, Surgery America, and Advanced Renovation Services. He is very passionate about healthcare and the environment. Some of the charities he supports through donations and time include St. Judes Children’s Research Hospital, The International Rhino Foundation, and the Alzheimer’s Association.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
The idea for my business came about out of my passion for entrepreneurship and a strong desire to attain financial independence. I launched my first business straight out of high school at just 18 and learned a lot in the process. I invested years learning all I could about the industry and finally felt I had enough experience on my own to set up my own business.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
A typical day starts with an hour of exercise. I like to run in the morning because it’s great for my body, and I love being out in the open. I also love to read, so I spend about thirty minutes reading material relevant to my field, and that will give me growth. I then have my breakfast, and I’m out the door.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I write them down and start acting on them immediately. The first step is usually to do as much research as I can about the idea over the internet and through people in my circle who may have expertise in the matter. I then break them down into actionable chunks and work on them against a timeline.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Artificial Intelligence in business really excites me because it’s very promising. It can increase efficiency, productivity and enhance customer experience. Through the use of technology, costs can also be lowered and with the automation of routine processes and tasks, businesses will have the capacity to operate optimally.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I write down my goals, follow the 80/20 rule or the Pareto principle in my personal and professional life, and take breaks when needed. This helps me focus on the most important and urgent tasks which can’t be delegated. This policy also ensures that I give my best at all times, and I stay creative and innovative.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would advise my younger self to believe in myself more. I always knew what I wanted but second-guessed some of my decisions. I think having more confidence in myself would have made the whole process much easier. I would also advise my younger self to enjoy the process and take one step at a time. Running a business can be a daunting task let alone running multiple ones. During my earlier years, I constantly worried about keeping everything in order, which came at the expense of my personal and social life.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Not everyone needs 8 hours of sleep. Some can manage on a little less, having a consistent schedule is actually more important.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Staying in tune with your business values. I’ve found that sticking to my business values gives me and my team direction in all our activities. The values keep me motivated during challenging periods, provide guidance and act as a compass that helps us chart the way forward.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Leveraging my networks has been the most significant contributor to my success. I use the people in my circle to help grow my business. They play a significant role by being my clients, suppliers, employees, and partners. These relationships have made me aware of opportunities, provided the connections I needed to take my business to the next level, and included my social support system.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
In the beginning, my biggest failure, as with most entrepreneurs, was trying to do it all by myself. I thought I could handle everything by myself and was very hesitant to accept help, even from professionals. I handled everything from marketing to sales and accounting, and I learned the hard way after failing miserably. Eventually, I hired professionals and micromanaged them to the point that they felt stifled and none stuck around too long. I learned to focus on the things I was good at and that were vital to the company’s growth because doing everything by myself was exhausting, and I faced the risk of burnout. I gradually learned how to delegate and trust my staff to do a good job and, in this way, encouraged creativity and efficiency and increased their productivity.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I would highly recommend a food business idea. Everyone eats, and not everyone has the time to prepare the food. I think finding a convenient solution to this will definitely be a success.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I used it to take my dad out for lunch. It was awesome having a close conversation with him after close to 4 months of not meeting.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Slack is my best. This software helps me connect with all my staff and organize tasks with ease.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek. The book is excellent for helping people find their purpose, reason for doing what they do, and direction on the way forward. It helped me develop good values, which have directed my work and personal life.
What is your favorite quote?
My favorite quote is “You will face many defeats in life but never let yourself be defeated.” by Maya Angelou.
- Start your day with something productive before you begin working to get your body and brain in the right frame of mind.
- Act on your ideas immediately and break the timeline down into workable chunks that will be easy to accomplish.
- Leveraging your networks can be a significant contributor to your success.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.