Nick Walpert is a motivational speaker and business icon. He has built his business career over 40 years and has managed both startups and international chains. He has worked with some of the well-known brands, including McDonald’s, where he launched his career, Wendy’s International, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), and Dunkin Donuts. He nurtured his passion for the food industry with his first company, Juicy Burgers Restaurants, which he opened in 1978. He started the business at the tender age of 18 and grew from there. A short while later, he joined McDonald’s as a manager. While serving as a manager at McDonald’s, he took advantage of the company’s training course and used the skills to advance his career.
Nick then went on to serve as an executive in many other companies, including Good Guys Electroniccompanies, Kaiser Healthcare, Daddy Dough Donuts, Juicy Burgers Restaurants, Aloha Ice Cream, Host Travel Services, DaVita Healthcare, Godfathers Pizza, EU Multi-National Multirama, Sambo’s Restaurants, Denny’s Restaurants, Pyramid Beer & Alehouses, Sudwerks Beer, Winchell’s Donuts, Jack-in-the-Box, Mrs. Fields Cookies, Haagen Dazs Ice Cream, and Ghirardelli Chocolate. Walpert also enjoys a successful career as a motivational and business speaker and has addressed hundreds of businesses, professionals, and individuals globally. His success in business, and years of experience, have made him a much sought-after speaker, with his current rates ranging between $25,000 and $50,000 a session. His key message in all his speeches is that a change of attitude and well-executed action will help one achieve their goal. He has also written a book called “G.E.T. Customer Service Excellence.” which is available in an audio version on C.D.
Besides business, Walpert volunteers his time and resources to community courses. He is very passionate about mental and children’s health, the environment, and supporting the armed forces, especially the navy. Some organizations that he has contributed to include the Alzheimer’s association, St. Judes Children’s Research hospital researching solutions to pediatric conditions, The International Rhino Foundation, which fights for the conservation of rhinos globally, and the Navy Seal fund.
How did you get started in this business?
I got into the business world out of necessity. At the age of 18, I needed to move out and start a life on my own. While I could easily have got a job that would see me get by comfortably, I had this desire to become a huge success in life. That’s why I chose to get into business. This desire led me to open a retail restaurant at 18. That was back in 1978, and I have never looked back. I was open to learning new things that could help me grow. One of the most transformative learning experiences I got was at Mcdonald’s. It is training that helped me understand how to drive efficiency in a large organizational setup. From that point on, I have never looked back, and here we are today.
How do you make money?
For the better part of my career, I have made money through the remuneration from the company’s I have worked for in the past. Some of the companies where I have served as an executive include Multirama, an EU multinational, McDonald’s, Pyramid Beer & Alehouses, and Wendy’s International. Currently, I make money through the multiple companies I own. Some of them include MedSpa boutique, Advanced Renovation Services, a Surgery America. I also make money through motivational speaking, and lately, my new book is proving to be a good revenue stream. The book has also opened doors, as more corporations now seek my consultancy and motivational speaking services.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
In my first business, it took me about two years to turn profitable. It was my first business, and I was yet to learn the ropes of the food business. Things improved from that point. Most businesses I launched from that point turned profitable in under a year. I would credit the fast break-even cycle to the skills I learned while working at McDonald’s. I learned to develop efficient systems that can run on their own without my direct presence every single day. I am hoping to teach, this and many other skills through my book called G.E.T Customer Service Excellence. The book has valuable insights on customer service, which is key to business growth, especially in the startup stages.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
I never doubted that I would succeed in business. I got into business out of a strong desire to make a better life for myself. I was so convinced I would make it that any ideas of failure never crossed my mind. My confidence was boosted by the skills that I acquired all through my career. I intend to use these skills to help anyone who wants to get into business but is possibly having doubts about the future of their venture. I want to help them understand that what matters is good customer service and having an in-depth understanding of the business that they are doing.
How did you get your first customer?
I got my first customer through word-of-mouth advertising. I made sure that everyone in my circle of friends knew about the business. It did not take long before friends and their acquaintances started streaming in. Within a month, my clientele had grown to people I had never seen before, and from then on, it kept growing. To drive growth, we shifted to other modes of advertising that helped us reach a wider audience. Radio and television proved to be quite effective towards meeting our goals.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
I would give a lot of credit to social media. Social media is one of the best ways that we have been reaching and connecting with our customers. One of the things I love about social media is that it is highly targeted. It also the leeway to get immediate feedback that can be used in improving the customer experience. It is one approach to customer service that I would gladly recommend to any business that wants to grow not just customer numbers but also its relationships with customers.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
When the COVID-19 pandemic was at its worst in mid-2020, some of my businesses were negatively affected. We had to lay off some of our staff. It was really tough because these are people with families to feed, and they had been with us for a while. To make it up to them, I ensured they were all reabsorbed into various positions once things stabilized.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
That would my ability to see everything I start to its conclusive end. Once I set my eyes on a business, I work hard at it until it succeeds. I do not let the challenges that come with business deter me from giving my all in whatever business I set my eyes on. In my younger years, I saw many friends start businesses and give up midway, while mine kept growing. On closer look, the key difference was the ability to persevere through the various challenges of the business world. I have carried this with me all along my career.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
That would be when I turned a profit in my first retail business. As a young man just getting into business, this was a big deal. It reinvigorated my drive to pursue my dreams even more aggressively. To a large extent, I can say that I am where I am today because of this first profit. That’s because from then on, I went into overdrive, learning all I could about business while also opening new ventures whenever I spotted an opportunity that could make me money.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
The future is bright. So far, I am thrilled with the uptake of my book, and I expect this to continue going into the future. I am most excited about the growth of communication services such as zoom. They are making it easier for me to offer coaching services virtually, and reach a much wider market. This will help enhance my circle of influence, and by extension, profitability going into the future.
What business books have inspired you?
Besides my book, I am very inspired by the book, “Start with Why” by Simon Sinek. This book has a lot of insights that any business would find helpful, especially at the initial stages of any project. It forces to you ask yourself why you are starting in the first place. If the why is not clear, then the chances are that whatever you are trying to do will fail. It’s a book that I refer a lot for wisdom before I engage in any business venture.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
I would advise my younger self to let passion drive every goal. Most people chase money when choosing businesses or even careers. However, you will never achieve anything significant if you are not passionate about whatever you are doing. In fact, in any field, the most successful people have a deep love for what they do.
Are you willing to be a mentor? If so, how should someone contact you?
Yes, I would gladly mentor anyone who wishes to apply my ideas to grow in business. Many people have been coming to me for mentorship, so to cut the wait time, I would recommend that anyone seeking my mentorship buys the book G.E.T: Customer Service Excellence.