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OMC inside - a year as a businesswoman - a summary
If after more than 25 years as a manager and CEO in different companies you take the step to self-employment, this ensures attention. Friends, family, acquaintances ... almost everyone warned me.
"Think about it carefully," "Then you will work even more", "Is it safe?!", "Buying a company is much riskier than founding one", "No one needs outplacement now, we have skills shortages".

I listened to, thought about, questioned, discussed - and rejected - all of these certainly well-intentioned warnings and critical questions. In the end, I did what my intuition, my Excel files, and my bank account allowed. Precisely in that order.

To say it straight away: I didn't regret it for a second.

Nevertheless, the constantly recurring concerns in the run-up to it unsettled me.

There were mainly five points:

  1. "You absolutely have to be alone in the management, after all you own 80% of the company!"
  2. "The consulting business is rock hard. You know nothing about it and you'll crash and sink."
  3. "Outplacement is no longer needed, we have skills shortages now!"
  4. "You absolutely have to move the office to Berlin-Mitte, that's where it's all at."
  5. "You won't sleep peacefully at night!"

I have been asked more than once why I don't go into sole management. Whether the risk of leading the company jointly with another woman isn't too high. Because women would rather scratch their eyes out than work together.

Big mistake. Anyone who hears me and my business partner talking, developing new ideas, and laughing will quickly realise that things are happening here. There is energy and strength here. Both our employees and our candidates feel this - and everyone benefits. We complement each other, accept differences as enrichment ("ah, then that's another way to see it"), and find the solution that is best for the company. We like to share our passion. Because that increases it even more.

And there are harder things than the consulting business. Anyone who has experienced the daily battle in a media company is toughened up for other industries. A pitch with two competitors never surprised us, it is quite the opposite. If both the companies and the candidates feel that we enjoy our work with heart and mind, we have won. Authenticity is the basis for success. That makes the tough consultancy business easy: We don't present ourselves as competent and personable, we actually are.

Outplacement is no longer needed. Luckily, I didn't share this assessment from the beginning - and it has in fact proved to complete myth. Especially in digital transformations in economy and industry, there is so much change and thus also personnel changes in supposedly good economic times that the demand for outplacement consulting is rising rather than decreasing. Change is the new normal. In addition, the outplacement services are not yet known in many industries - so there is still more potential to grow. We are growing.

Berlin-Mitte. Mitte (city centre) is of course the popular location for startups, hipsters, and tourists. But are they our candidates? Not really. Our direct clients often live in the south of Berlin and appreciate being able to stop in on their way to work. So, we are not really out of the way, we have beautiful and conveniently located premises in an urban area. Okay, Steglitz is not the centre of the world and perhaps a little old fashioned, but everyone is in Mitte. We're different.

Sleepless nights. Granted, I had the most respect for this. How calm will I be, how well will I sleep, if things do not go as planned? The answer is: I sleep well. Because our first year was financially better than I expected. Because the combination of consulting experience, management expertise, and passion for people is tried and tested. Every day. This provides security and confidence. To me personally, and therefore the whole company: We are confident.


Being a successor in an existing company is risky. But if you look at the figures of the past few years properly, have a realistic market assessment, and keep your expectations grounded, you have good chances of success.

No, it's not all great. Yes, there are also unpleasant surprises. But the main point is true: Providing consultation for managers gives me great pleasure, I gain new customers due to my authenticity and expertise. Engaging in my own company released an enormous amount of energy for me. The certainty of success being in own hands, gives me security and peace. And I had underestimated immeasurably the euphoric effect of success.

So, I would do it again.



Claudia Michalski, October 2016


OMC inside - Claudia Michalski