An Interview With Fotis Georgiadis

Never stop learning and educating yourself. Every industry has a wide variety of knowledge on the internet, in books and through people in the industry. Make sure you are constantly keeping yourself up to date and educated- things change fast, you have to change with it!

As a part of our series called “Making Something From Nothing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Soheil Nazari-Kangarlou.

Soheil Nazari is a successful business executive with over three decades working within the domestic and international markets. He has served as an advisor to various enterprises and heads of governments throughout the globe, working within the fields of energy, construction, oil and gas, financing, commerce, telecommunications, technology, healthcare, manufacturing and distribution services. Soheil’s expertise lies in international diplomacy and global business operations, which he utilizes to provide valuable insights to his clients. Soheil is an expert in business expansion and growth and has helped many businesses increase their reach and operations. He is also a skilled negotiator and has extensive experience in international contract negotiation.

Currently, Soheil focuses on being the managing partner of Gainful Solutions which he also co-founded. As a managing partner of Gainful Solutions, Soheil provides custom-tailored solutions and guidance to businesses and governments. He focuses on political, social, and economic evaluations in distinct global markets. Soheil and his team discover and provide a wide range of services, including government relations and public affairs, international business development, communications, and campaigns and advocacy.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a bit about your “childhood backstory”?

I was born in Iran and lived there at the beginning of my childhood. In 1968 my father left Iran to participate in a research program at Stanford University in California. After seeing success in this research program he traveled back to Iran to bring my mother and I to the states. From there I grew up in Santa Cruz the remainder of my childhood.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” — Steve Jobs

I believe that this quote is especially important for entrepreneurs. If you don’t love what you’re doing, it’s very difficult to be successful. In order to wake up every day and feel the drive and motivation to push through obstacles, you have to find great joy and love in your end goal. The key to success is to find something that you’re passionate about and to pursue it with all of your heart.

Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

I am a startup enthusiast and avid reader. I’m particularly interested in books that provide valuable insights into the startup process and how to create a successful business.

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries made a significant impact in my process of beginning Gainful Solutions. Every campaign, business and politician I work with has a goal they are trying to achieve, The Lean Startup gave me valuable insight on how to begin the process of creating a successful strategy and business plan for them. I believe any entrepreneur who wants to be successful should take time reading this book, as it provides valuable insights into the startup process and how to create a successful business.

Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. There is no shortage of good ideas out there. Many people have good ideas all the time. But people seem to struggle in taking a good idea and translating it into an actual business. Can you share a few ideas from your experience about how to overcome this challenge?

Oftentimes I notice that when people have a good idea it is easily given up on because it is harder to bring that idea to life which is why I’m a big believer in the power of brainstorming. Once a good idea is thought of I find that it’s important to get as many people involved in the process as possible. I like to start by getting a group of people together and throwing around some ideas. Once we have a list of potential plans, strategies and product details/ideas, we then start to narrow it down and focus on the ones that seem the most promising. From there, we start to develop a plan of action and work on bringing the idea to life.

Often when people think of a new idea, they dismiss it saying someone else must have thought of it before. How would you recommend that someone go about researching whether or not their idea has already been created?

We are in an age where we have the privilege of the internet right at our fingertips, I would first begin by researching your ideas- read articles, find companies doing something similar, search social media channels for information. Oftentimes it is hard to be the first person with a brand new idea that no one has pursued before but as stated previously we have the capabilities that come along with the internet and just because someone has had a similar or the same idea as you, doesn’t mean you can also pursue that idea even better. Being that we have access to so much information, we can take what people are liking/disliking/what people are looking for/ what businesses are lacking, and grow your business with that knowledge.

I also think that networking is a great form of research, talking to your peers and people in the business space of the market you are trying to enter. See what their ideas are, what have they heard of, do they have any tools or resources you can utilize? Do they want to be involved in your new venture? The possibility of generating a new business out of just an idea is possible- but it takes work, effort and research to accomplish successfully.

For the benefit of our readers, can you outline the steps one has to go through, from when they think of the idea, until it finally lands in a customer’s hands? In particular, we’d love to hear about how to file a patent, how to source a good manufacturer, and how to find a retailer to distribute it.

Yes, unfortunately this is not a simple answer- as there are many steps and every idea has multiple routes it can choose to take depending on the industry, market and competition. I do think that the first and most important step is to make sure that your idea is written down, dated and witnessed- this helps in having priority in exclusive patent rights.

Once an idea is patented it is important to find the funding you need to appropriately market and design your product. If you already have personal fundings and are ready to do so, make sure you are researching and learning about the industry and market you are entering. Although your idea is patented there might be close competition that requires you to have an appropriate strategy in place to be successful.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Started Leading My Company” and why?

  1. Create a Business Plan — The first and most important step is to create a business plan that you see as sustainable and factors in the hardships that come with leading a company. If you have a solid business plan, your goal becomes much more clear and much more accessible. The very intimidating path becomes easier to manage and navigate with a great business plan.
  2. Select the Best Team- Having a team of experts around you and working for you is extremely important because ultimately your team is an extension of you.
  3. Client Satisfaction- In the business of strategy, business planning and government referrals are the biggest source of your clientele. Because of this It is extremely important to make sure your client is happy and a relationship of trust and reliability is built between your team and theirs.
  4. Be Willing to Experiment- Nothing great ever came out of playing it safe. It is important to take risks, that is what sets you apart from your competitors and brings you to the next level of business.
  5. Never stop learning and educating yourself. Every industry has a wide variety of knowledge on the internet, in books and through people in the industry. Make sure you are constantly keeping yourself up to date and educated- things change fast, you have to change with it!

Let’s imagine that a reader reading this interview has an idea for a product that they would like to invent. What are the first few steps that you would recommend that they take?

The first steps I would take are first to educate yourself on the products industry; are there similarities or competitors? Make sure you know the market you are entering as that will help you determine the appropriate strategy your business plan should take, which is the next step- creating a business plan. One of the first steps you should invest in after having a solid idea and plan for your product is marketing, ensuring people know about your product and getting them excited to invest.

There are many invention development consultants. Would you recommend that a person with a new idea hire such a consultant, or should they try to strike out on their own?

I believe that a consultant can be a great asset for your team, but I do think you can only determine your need for a consultant after spending time researching, inventing and developing. If you feel you are still lost and need help- reach out to a consultant, as they may be able to bring your idea to life.

What are your thoughts about bootstrapping vs looking for venture capital? What is the best way to decide if you should do either one?

The best way to decide which route you should take is first assess your access to assets. If you have the means to sustain a company and do not need resourcing, bootstrapping makes sense- you will just need to make sure what you have of your own is enough to invest in a successful business and you will see a return. If you do not have enough to begin your business then searching for funding only makes sense.

Ok. We are nearly done. Here are our final questions. How have you used your success to make the world a better place?

Yes, everyday. Being that I work in governmental and political campaigns, with politicians and with lobbyists, the business I do on a daily basis is to make the world a better place. The current laws and regulations we have in place are constantly changing, and hopefully to make the world a better place- my job is to put a strategy and plan in place to amplify these efforts.

You are an inspiration to a great many people. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

I am eager and excited to see the world move towards more sustainable practices. If I could inspire more politicians, businesses and people to invest in sustainability and sustainable practices I believe the future will be a better place for the most people.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.

I am blessed to say I have had ample opportunity to meet with many people I admire so there is not one person in particular.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.

Making Something From Nothing: Soheil Nazari Of Gainful Solutions On How To Go From Idea To Launch was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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