Ans: Vitalis Consulting is an executive search and a staffing agency located in Morristown NJ. Our executive search (direct placement) activities focus on assisting our clients identify qualified employees primarily in the accounting and finance space. For our direct placement activities, we have a national presence, thus not confined to New Jersey.
Our temporary/contract employee placement activities focus primarily on placing our healthcare professionals at our client locations to render their services. We also place general office employees such as administrative assistants and executive assistants at our client locations. Our temp/contract placement activities are in New Jersey.
Q 2. Kindly give us a brief description about yourself (it should include your brief educational or entrepreneurial background and list some of your major achievements).
Ans: I am the Founder and Managing Partner of Vitalis Consulting. Prior to Vitalis, I was a Controller at Soros Fund Management, a fund with over $30 billion in assets under management located in New York City. I pursued my Master of Business Administration degree from the University of North Florida and a Masters degree in Accountancy from the University of Notre Dame – go Irish! Preceding my role as Controller, I served as a consultant for a national CPA firm. The first 5 years of my career performing financial service audits – initially at Ernst & Young, within the Financial Services Office, located in New York City and later at Barclays Capital, also based in New York City.
Q 3. What inspired you to (start a new business venture) or (to make significant changes in an existing business)? How did the idea for your business come about?
Ans: I have always had a desire to step out of the main stream corporate environment as an employee and establishing a firm that directly impacted lives – placing candidates in well paying jobs and life changing careers. In addition, over 12 years of 3-hour round trip commute to NYC (the daily grind of riding NJ Transit to Penn Station), writing semi-annual and year-end self-reviews and sitting in endless non- productive meetings was just not the right fit for me.
Prior to establishing Vitalis Consulting, I explored investing/ buying into a national franchise- a financial factoring franchise, insurance brokerage franchise, expense reduction franchise and a national staffing franchise. The staffing / executive search concept increasing became more appealing being that it was the option that I thought could positively impact the most number of people.
Q 4. What three pieces of advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Ans: 1. Research and educate yourself on your new venture but more importantly go with the option that you feel most passionate and and have the most enthusiasm for.
2. Research and education notwithstanding, there will be mistakes along the way – some costly – acknowledge mistakes, learn and move forward.
3. There will be several competing activities in the day, week, month – prioritizing is crucial. Make your income producing activities central in your activities but do not loose sight of the operational tasks!
Q 5. What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Ans: I think being enthusiastic and having passion for what ever venture one engages provides the fuel to move the venture forward.
Find a way to differentiate your offering be it product or services and provide outstanding service to your clients.
While a number of tasks may be delegated, important to understand the details.
Q 6. How many hours do you work a day on average?
Ans: Tough question being that I’m available all the time – when out on vacation I work, on the weekends while playing golf, I would cut the round short to address a client need.
Q 7. To what do you most attribute your success?
Ans: Dedicated client service – delivering on promises and providing service level that hopefully differentiates Vitalis from the competition
Q 8. How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?
Ans: Online marketing has been our most successful marketing platform. That said, we engage in other forms of marketing as well including direct mailing campaigns, being an active member of the Chamber of Commerce.
Q 9. Where did your organizations funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it? How did you obtain investors for your venture?
Ans: Initial funding was personal capital. After a year in operation, obtained an SBA loan.
Q 10. What is the best way to achieve long-term success?
Ans: Set dynamic goals (aspirational goals) but also set medium and long term static goals such how much target revenue in the next year, five years and ten years. Then, listen to your clients and continue to provide quality service.
Q 11. Where you see yourself and your business in 5 – 10 years?
Ans: In 5 years I’d still be actively engaged in all aspects of the strategic direction of the firm, with 5 to 10 in-house employees and 100 W2 contract /temporary workers engaged at our various client locations. In 10 years I would have minimized level of involvement and with more delegated responsibilities to a couple of other executives. In-house staff in the region of 10 to 15 employee and about 200 contract employees
Q 12. Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
Ans: Robert Half
Q 13. How important have good employees been to your success?
Ans: The importance of having good employees cannot be over-emphasized – it builds a successful and credible staffing agency, being that we rely on these employees to project our brand and represent Vitalis Consulting at our various client locations.
Q 14. How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?
Ans: I tend to make quick decisions on ideas that come up, but the implementation of these ideas have to weighed against budget and timing. Also, going ahead with ideas depends on information and knowledge regarding the subject matter. Where I do not have enough information or knowledge to move ahead, I quickly drop idea.
Q 15. What motivates you?
Ans: Setting per-determined goals, meeting those goals and making a difference in the lives of employees we place at our clients motivates me.
When an employees tells us “Thank you for assisting me find this job – I love working there” – that is what Vitalis is all about.
Q 16. What are your ideals?
Ans: My ideals are what enable Vitalis meet our goals – these ideals include keeping my promise to our clients, being honest with clients, employees and stakeholders and sharing timely information with all.
Q 17. How do you generate new ideas?
Ans: Active with staffing/employment agency webinar’s often – listening to industry experts and learning and picking up ideas we can apply
Q 18. How do you define success?
Ans: Defining success is two-fold – first placing our employees in well-paying careers and jobs and second, generate minimum revenue to cover expenses with additional profit to invest and grow.
Q 19. How do you build a successful customer base?
Ans: Actively listening to client (the companies we serve) needs and delivering solid and consistent service. We achieve this by providing our clients with high caliber employees at the right time.
Q 20. What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Ans: The daily challenges of decision making regarding various aspects of the firm -specifically marketing and sales. Also, the flexibility that comes with the role – I do not have to schedule and discuss my proposed vacation dates with my team 6 months ahead of time (as was the case when I worked finance industry). I can opt to work from home or go into the office as needed. In my opinion work-life balance is significant enhanced as an entrepreneur.
Q 21. What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Ans: When we secured our first multinational client and when they provided positive feedback on our services and our employees.
Q 22. What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
Ans: There is a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly challenge of generating revenue as an entrepreneur to cover expenses and pay employee salaries. Also, there is a sense of fulfillment and significant financial rewards when successful. Working for someone else assures a steady and somewhat fixed income with minimal risk (though one can be fired at will).Moreover, the potential for generating incomes over and above ones agreed salary are somewhat limited.
Q 23. What kind of culture exists in your organization? How did you establish this tone and why did you institute this particular type of culture?
Ans: The culture I try to cultivate is one of respect and showing to job seekers that we care – we may not be in a position to find jobs for all who call and send in their resumes but at least we can show that we care and that we will do our very best to assist.
Q 24. In one word, characterize your life as an entrepreneur.
Q 25. If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
Ans: I now understand, more than when I first started, the importance of digital marketing – took a while to appreciate this. If I had the chance to start over, I would engage, from day 1, a solid digital marketing strategy – such as one we are undertaking now.
Q 26. How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?
Ans: It has given me the flexibility and quality of life I was yearning for.
Q 27. What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?
Ans: Generating adequate revenues to meet expenses will be the first concern. I manage this by constantly learning and exploring ways to grow our client base.
Secondly, as we are active in the healthcare industry, there is a concern for our employees at our various locations to not have work place injuries and accidents. We mitigate this by maintaining a good workers comp and professional liability coverage.
Q 28. How did you decide on the location for your business?
Ans: Close to where I live, which is a vibrant and active location for various accounting, finance and healthcare companies
Q 29. Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?
Ans: I do not know the answer to this – but hard work, dedication and being passionate about what you do will go a long way
Q 30. If you could talk to one person from history, who would it be and why?
Ans: Currently living -would have to be Warren Buffet.
Now deceased – would have loved to speak with Steve Jobs .
Q 31. Who has been your greatest inspiration?
Ans: I do not have to go too far for this – my wife Gloria – as we believed and inspired me, 3 years ago, to go ahead in confidence.
Q 32. What book has inspired you the most? (OR what is your favorite book?)
Ans: The Power of Now – by Eckhart Tolle
Q 33. What are some of the biggest mistakes you’ve made?
Ans: Several, but one that quickly comes to mind is not stepping out to start this firm several years earlier
Q 34. How can you prevent mistakes or do damage control?
Ans: Internal controls and well defined and documented procedures are a way to prevent/minimize mistakes
Q 35. What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
Ans: I am an avid golfer. Whenever I have the time and opportunity I play – also a great way to meet new people and business leaders.
Q 36. What makes you happy?
Ans: Getting new clients and shooting a low round at golf!
Q 37. What sacrifices have you had to make to be a successful entrepreneur?
Ans: The comradery and friendships formed working in a larger organization in New York.
Q 38. If you were conducting this interview, what question would you ask?
Ans: I would ask about financial expectations one had prior to becoming an entrepreneur and whether targets have been achieved or achievable in future?
Company : Vitalis Consulting LLC
Contact : Gottfried Oddoye
Address : 55 Madison Avenue, Suite 400
City : Morristown
State : NJ
Zip : 07960
Phone : 973-285-3382
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org