Andre Ottlik, is a consultant, coach and trainer for entrepreneurs, self-employed persons, and small and medium-sized enterprises. Since 2005, he has been interested in vision and determination appeal, goals and management, as well as the topics of corporate communications and marketing. Since 2011, he has been teaching social and methodological skills at the HWR Berlin School of Economics and Law as a visiting lecturer. Andre is trained in business computing, and previously worked at IBM; where he worked in sales, marketing and business networking as well. He has acquired several years of extensive sales knowledge – from door-to-door to business-partner sales. Andre has been a member of betahaus since September 2009.
You offer consulting, coaching, and training for freelancers, as well as small and medium-sized enterprises. Which of these is your main specialization? What inspired you to work in this area?
I am communications trainer; I help people with personal and business development by improving their communication in any way possible; with how they or their company communicates, or how they communicate with workers, investors, customers, and so on. It is all about figuring out who you are, and the best way to communicate within a space.
I was inspired by two of my mentors who are also communications trainers. I got to know one of them while studying business computing. A lot of my work has been inspired by the philosophy and methods of Stefan Merath, who is also a business coach, I have read also really good books which inspired me and they are part of my basic philosophy.
Before you start a seminar or training session, what is important for you to know about your client? How does a typical seminar take place?
If I want to get to know you, anything I’ve read about you in advance is unimportant. What I consider to be more important are things like why you are here, your energy, your voice – things like that. With all that, we can build something that is called rapport, and we work from there. I try not to find out too much in advance about my customers; especially if they are asking me for help, as that would lead to problems.
I offer two types of training. The first of these is open seminars. When I started working at betahaus, I got to know many people, and was asked for help by a lot of them. I then started offering seminars on things such as how to manage yourself, how to figure out what you really want, or how to motivate yourself.
I don’t feel the need to have a vision for my clients, but rather that they should have one for themselves.
How has working at a coworking space like betahaus affected your work?
Working from betahaus has shown me that people really are all different, and they each need the right circumstances and environment to work in. I also got a lot of creative input from various people here.
I have worked with some startups, such as Netzwiese, as well as some freelance workers within betahaus.
What kinds of problems do your clients usually face, and how long would a typical session take?
My clients have many of the typical problems: they don’t earn as much money as they want, they aren’t getting enough customers, or they are working too much and can’t develop themselves as much as they’d like to.
I have had a couple of clients who just came to make one decision, and that took about an hour for me. On the other hand, some people come to me to set up entire strategies, so they will go through both my seminars and be finished in about 20 hours. I’m also a coach, and I offer regular sessions once or twice a week to gradually develop a client’s strategy.
Could you tell me more about the Elevator Pitch?
The idea comes from America, and refers to a way in which people present their ideas. The name comes from the situation in which one would try to show their boss an idea while in an elevator, and present it in the time it would take to reach another floor – so about 20 to 60 seconds. I show people how to present their business ideas like this, and how they can attract attention from customers or investors with an elevator pitch.
Do you have any plans for the future?
I will have another workshop this year on management and communication skills for startup managers, which will be sponsored by the European Social Fund. I am also organising an adventure group tour, with a focus on personal development. We will be going to Nepal, and trekking through the Himalayas. I would like to do more things like that in the future – helping people develop themselves through things like travel.
Your portfolio shows us some of your recommendations for further reading. What would you recommend for people at betahaus to read?
There is one book written by Stefan Merath: Der Weg zum erfolgreichen Unternehmer. Wie Sie und Ihr Unternehmen neue Dynamik gewinnen. I think it’s one of the best books for freelancers and founders of startups or medium-sized firms.