Business Development Talk with Isaac Mostovicz

Isaac Mostovicz (Courtesy)

Isaac Mostovicz, MBA, PhD, FCIM is the Principal of Isaac Mostovicz -Marketing Solutions.  His Jerusalem based boutique consultancy specializes in helping business owners, founders and CEOs express their personality and fulfilling their dreams through their business.  In this talk Isaac discusses how leaders can transform from merely surviving the Corona crisis to thriving in it. 


What do you mean by “…expressing their personality and fulfilling their dreams through their business.”

Some see their business as a money-making machine. They are happy when it works but when it fails, they dump it and look for other opportunities. For others what they do is beyond business or money – it is their lifework. They are motivated to succeed in a way nobody who is there just for money is. Sometimes, the owner’s personality just stands out and clients can recognize the honesty, integrity, and the high ethical way the business tries to achieve. 

In many cases owners don’t know how to plough these great qualities into their business. They run it as another faceless enterprise. I help them expose their genuineness and make their business unique. 

Expressing oneself through their business is financially rewarding as it helps gaining higher margins while rendering the competition irrelevant.  It is easy to be personally coached or to go to a workshop and learn something about oneself. It is far more difficult to stay faithful to one’s values against external pressure. 

Could you share examples of case studies of people that you have helped?

Success stories are usually those when the client tells how miserable he was and how successful he became. How can I share the most intimate secrets of my clients? I respect them. Nevertheless, I always ask for referrals. I know how difficult it is for a respectful businessman to admit to his friends that he was in bad shape and when I am referred, I really appreciate it.

For sharing experience, I prefer to relate to industry that I am not part of any longer – diamonds. But this is not the only reason. During the time I was a diamond manufacturer and dealer I completed my PhD in luxury marketing and many tools that I use today were created and successfully tested fifteen or twenty years ago. Using these tools, and in an extremely competitive market I managed to charge my clients a premium of more than 20% and they managed to successfully charge even higher margins while being honest and ethical.

Any business can benefit from this approach. Here is an opposite case. My mentor, Prof. Malcolm McDonald’s Magnum Opus used a similar set of tools helping ICI -Fertilizer moving from an almost bankrupt company into the best performing fertilizer company in the world and the most beneficial to ICI. 

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of integrating their personality and dreams into a business?

Focus on these three questions: What, How, and Why.

“What” is about What I am doing. What is my offer? This reflects on how professional we are. One can’t be a bad lawyer or accountant and wish to be the most successful one. We should understand our offer perfectly, realize what we can do and what our limits are, and we should be honest about our limitations both toward our clients and toward ourselves. 

“How” is about our clients and our market. The question is how we benefit our clients and what are the problems that we help them to solve. Think about yourself as a concierge who provides good advice to a client. No concierge runs around trying to sell two tickets for the centerline place in a Superbowl. He will first identify the need of the client for such a service. Saying this, we should remember that the market is segmented, and we will be able to satisfy some people only.

“Why” is about you. Why did you start this business? What did you want to get out of it? If this is only a way for enriching yourself my advice is to leave the business and look for something else. It won’t work. This is the most important question as it clarifies your life purpose. Ideally, a purpose is defined for which he would have been ready to die if it couldn’t have been pursued. In reality, a perpetual process of intrinsic purpose seeking is also helpful. It motivates and mobilizes body and soul.

Isaac Mostovicz (Courtesy)

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has put many businesses in survival mode – struggling just to keep the doors open and bills paid.   What do you say to an executive who says, “My company is in survival mode?”

Those owners who are on “survival mode” means that they don’t really know how to progress. This is painful. Every day I can see missed opportunities and money left on the table just because people were too shortsighted to truly grasp the opportunities in front of them.

Anyone should firstly ask whether they have a business. There is one lifeline to any company in any situation – successful sales. This is the only source for cash flow. The first step we should take is to check this lifeline and see how good it is. Do we have sales? Are these profitable? 

One should look at these questions in an extremely honest way. It is possible that sales shrank, and that cash flow became thinner. People should check whether currently they still run a profitable business. Once this part is answered affirmatively, it is time to offset the external burden such as debt. It is time for building a business plan that will allow the company to grow and to start paying off its debt in a planned way. 

While this is true for any company, those ones driven by dedicated leaders, who have dreams and vision and might get now a chance to shine like a bright star. Contrary to other companies, these leaders have a different mindset. They are willing to risk, knowing their strengths and weaknesses and have a chance to grow. Increasing sales in a shrinking economy might be tough but these companies can find ways for increasing profit margins based on their unique offer. 

I am not a typical coach and I don’t live off people’s shortcomings. My remuneration is tied to my client’s success. After each session I will ask my client to implement what they’ve learned in their business. My clients must be clear and accountable. The route is tough and bumpy but rewarding. and I will never tell the client what to do. This is their business and taking even one iota of responsibility off my clients’ shoulders is taking ownership of their dreams. They are fully entitled to their success. 

About the Author
Sherman holds an MBA from The Kedge Business School, a Grande Ecole de Commerce et de management in France, which included time as an executive exchange scholar at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China. He has a BA from The University of California, San Diego, San Diego, and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Duke University.
Related Topics
Related Posts