Building Business the Organic Way

Armed with an MBA and a wealth of corporate experience, this IE alum prepares to launch a good-for-you fast food business

Born into a family of business owners, I think I probably have the kind of gene pool that encourages you to build your own company. Initially, however, my parents wanted me to take a different career track. Hence, after completing my masters in engineering and economics, I ended up in the corporate world. My last employer was Siemens (SI) in Austria, where I was working as project manager. For Siemens, I worked all over the world, including in China, Australia, Russia, Ukraine, and also the U.S., where I stayed for three years on a management assignment. One of my personal goals was to get an MBA, but my job involved a lot of traveling and interrupting my career was not an option. Taking the International Executive MBA at Instituto de Empresa Business School offered great possibilities and gave me the opportunity to think about making a move in the direction of the family calling.

Every student at IE had to complete a business plan as part of a team, and that's when I met my current business partners. We started to develop our venture idea while in school. As traveling business people we were always frustrated by the food you get when you want a quick bite while on the move. There is nothing healthy available and sometimes it's of really poor quality. So we thought: Why not provide something tasty and healthy as well as convenient? Moreover, I’m from a small village in Austria where everything is fresh and organic without making a issue out of it. Being addicted to the outdoors, a healthy and environmentally sound lifestyle came naturally to me. And it was against this backdrop that the idea kept growing.

Here's a typical workday:

6:30 a.m.—I wake up before the sound of the alarm clock to my 8-month-old son talking or crying. I get up and go for a run—physical activity is an integral part of my daily schedule. Than I eat breakfast with my wife and use this time to play with our son. The morning is the only time I can spend time with him during the working week.

8:55 a.m.—I arrive at the office and check in with those already there. After working 12 years as a senior manager it's been quite a change. Currently we employ four people, and the number is growing monthly as we prepare to launch in October. Right away I turn on my laptop and answer the first e-mails of the day. After that, I take about 15 minutes to review industry-related feeds and newsletters.

10:00 a.m.—My first meeting is with the accountant to review the financial update. As usual, we meet in his office — I like to talk to people in their own work area. This time we also talk about the future format for the monthly cost-controlling report he is working on.

10:45 a.m.—After the meeting I start my daily telephone sessions. Today the calls are mostly connected to lobbying activities for our business, which is based in Charlotte, N.C. We're in the food retail business and will be providing healthy "on-the-go" food to busy, health-conscious people in a convenient way — in the food retail industry we would be...

See Full Version

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.