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Finding your niche amidst oil

Roland Mader

Katy Roberts:

Roland Mader tells us how he went from scribbling an idea down on a piece of paper, to growing that scribble to a EUR 60 million turnover organisation.

It’s not often that you meet an independent consultant who, from scribbling an idea down on a piece of paper, soon grew that scribble to a EUR 60 million turnover organisation, employing 450 people, globally, with the help of a few key shareholders. Roland Mader did it, and this Talmix independent consultant shares his story with us.

“I’m actually a petroleum engineer”, he tells me. “I studied mining in Germany, followed by an MBA with the IESE Business School through the University of Navarra. Following an engineering degree in Germany is often a long process, so by the time I was 28, I realised that I wanted to develop a deeper understanding of the business and finance worlds, and fine-tune my skill to develop a long and successful career”, he says. Roland’s MBA spring boarded him into a management career with a German oil & gas organisation. But it was the renewable energy space that had captured Roland’s attention and after a few years within the corporate world, Roland co-founded Green Gas International – a company that is ‘committed to climate change mitigation by converting harmful methane emissions into valuable energy.’ “Within 2 years, with the help of business angels, a lot of hard work and a great team, we had grown the business to a profitable business with EUR 60 million turnover and over 450 employees. We had a presence in virtually every corner of the earth.” But as with most things, the path to success doesn’t always run smoothly. As the business grew, so did the vision by the shareholders at the time. Unfortunately, Roland didn’t share the same vision, and it was after this period of massive growth where the business started to change shape, that Roland decided it was time to leave.

Not quite the desired turnout

“I was in London, without a job. My instinct set in and I looked for my next corporate employment. I was of a certain age, with a huge amount of experience within my portfolio, having worked at a certain level and I just couldn’t find what I was looking for. So instead of looking outwards for my next opportunity, I decided to look inwards.” Roland reviewed the knowledge he had. He knew how to create startups and he knew how to manage organisations. So, the progression towards providing this on a freelance basis was natural, and he decided to become a consultant where he would have the opportunity to share his experiences.

Roland’s introduction into independent consulting took him to Beijing after the creation of his boutique advisory firm Entrenergy Partners – a business specialising in energy, natural resources and company valuation. Although the business focus was within the energy sector, Roland soon started to provide services to European Investors looking to invest in the Far East and vice versa. Having served the challenging Chinese market for a number of years, it was the realisation of the importance of work-life balance and healthy living conditions, that Roland and his partner decided to leave the pollution of Beijing and return to Europe.

Take risks without reservation – no plan B.

“I base a lot of my life decisions on a quote I read once. I believe it was Swami Vivekananda who wrote, ‘Take risks in your life. If you win, you can lead. If you lose, you can guide’. And the decisions I’ve taken in my life have empowered me to lead and to guide. It was at this point, and after talking to many of my own peers who’d taken the independent working route, that I realised that one of the biggest mistakes us as freelancers make when we start out, is to try to do be everything to everyone. We try to do more and cast our nets so wide – that we become ineffective. In fact, it’s completely the opposite. As an independent consultant, you need to have focus. You need to provide a niche service that truly demonstrates your knowledge within the field, and for me, what I’d known, lived and breathed from the very first years of studying and working, was business valuation. Whether it was within the oil and gas industry looking at validity of projects before rollout in new territories, or whether it was working with start-ups who wanted to grow – business valuation is what I know and thrive on.” And so was born Roland’s independent consulting business Bewertungsraum – a firm specialising in business valuation, specifically within the German regulation compliance sector.

When Roland is not working on client projects, he works alongside a start-up of a different kind, nestled amongst beautiful apple orchards and producing some of Germany’s finest apple juice. He rates his defining moment within his career as being the moment his paper-idea became a EUR60 turnover business and although it may not have had the longevity for him that he thought, the experience gave Roland the resilience to continue and realise that he could do that again. And he is, through Bewertungsraum. It is niche and it is needed.

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