Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal and organizational development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Oliver Durrer, Founder of SwissLEAP Inc., located in Buochs, Nidwalden, Switzerland.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I founded SwissLEAP Inc. with the vision that employees should be empowered to drive innovation as intrapreneurs from within their companies, that large organizations and startups should learn from each other and can achieve even more impact together, and that technology should be a means to the end of sustainable value creation.
We advise, coach, mentor, and train boards, leaders, and teams to navigate uncertainty and innovate from idea to impact. Together, we develop learning organizations as ever-evolving ecosystems and fuel intrapreneurship and innovation in a culture of collaboration and learning.
Our LEAP (Lasting Enterprise Action Practices) combines the speed, learning, and innovation capabilities of startups with the stability and operational excellence of successful enterprises. SwissLEAP's clients include enterprises, SMBs, startups, and scale-ups, such as Bayer, Holcim, Intersport, iMad, Inficon, Migros, Mobiliar, ODEM, Skribble, Sympany, and more.
Tell us about yourself
I believe in humans, technology, entrepreneurship, and innovation to achieve sustainable prosperity, health, and well-being for people and the planet. My passion for personal and organisational development is the reason why I love to enable individuals and organizations to unleash their full potential in pursuit of a meaningful purpose.
My fascination with technology, entrepreneurship, and innovation, was shaped early on by my father; also an intrapreneur turned entrepreneur. As an employee, my dad had the vision of pursuing systems integration and developing software solutions beyond focusing purely on hardware sales. However, his employer was not yet ready to embrace this business model, which was completely new at the time. So my dad started his own business in the early 90s to realize his vision. Fun fact: 13 years later, he sold his successful company to his former employer and became an employee one last time before retiring.
For me as a teen and later as a member of the executive board, this was an inspiration for innovation and new business models, an example of "where there's a will, there's a way" and a lesson that a creative and structured approach is needed for a break-through, whether as entrepreneur or intrapreneur.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Achieving the freedom of working on my own terms, on topics I am passionate about with people whose values and sense of purpose I share.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
It can be an emotional rollercoaster with constant ups and downs (like winning a new customer - or not closing a proposal for a big project) and uncertainty (like not knowing if your business will be financially sustainable in the long run). Hence, it is always day one.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Look before you leap. Become very clear about your purpose and your priorities regarding what you want to do (and why) and what not. It's essential to deal successfully with the uncertainty of entrepreneurship.
- Go for progress, not perfection. Start sooner than you feel comfortable. You will learn a ton and continuously improve. Outside of your comfort zone is where your biggest growth happens.
- Nail it before you scale it. Deeply understand who your customers are and the challenges they want to solve and help them solve them better than what's currently around before you scale your business.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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