Keeping Small Businesses Competitive through Sharing Best Practices of Global Leaders

NICK KALIKAJAROS’ BIO

Nick Kalikajaros

Nick is the CEO and Founder of Ploutos Global Advisory and Kalikajaros.com

He is an experienced leader in the Financial Services Industry with particular emphasis in Domestic and International Private Banking, Premium/Priority Banking, Wealth Management and Corporate Advisory for over 30 years. He has worked at a number of leading organisations including Credit Suisse (CEO & Managing Director of Credit Suisse Private Bank. Australia), Merrill Lynch (Head of Global Private Clients, Australia and New Zealand), St George Bank (General Manager and Head of Private Bank and Private Client Services), UBS (Co-Head of UBS Private Clients, Australia) and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (Senior Executive positions in Private Banking, Business Banking and Credit).

Providing innovative solutions to stakeholders in international wealth management and banking markets, Nickservices sovereign wealth funds, global banks, private wealth managers & brokers, institutional investors, professional services firms, government and regulators, High Net Worth investors, Affluent Investors and Mass Affluent Investors and their advisors.

Nick’s primary focus is on emerging markets in Middle East (MENA), Asia Pacific and Central Eastern Europe (CEE) as well providing coverage on Australia, USA, UK and European markets.

Nick has a successful track record of establishing and building wealth management business for domestic and global financial institutions and entrepreneurship, setting a foothold in several industries with significant exposure to global networking. He has knowledge and experience in General Management, Start-ups, Turnarounds, Leadership, Operations, Human Resources and Strategy.

Nick’s private client base has ranged from sovereign wealth funds, family offices, small corporates, entrepreneurs, executives of both publicly quoted and unlisted companies, professionals such as solicitors and accountants, sportspeople and entertainers.

Nick is a Senior Fellow of FINSIA , as well as a member of both the Network for Sustainable Financial Markets and Network for Family Businesses and has completed a postgraduate degree at Sydney’s Macquarie University in Banking Management.

Nick is the founder of the Linkedin Groups ‘Global Private Banking and Wealth Management”   “China Private Banking and Wealth Management” and “India Private Banking and Wealth Management”

Nick is also a, Senior Industry Advisor to a Global Consulting and Advisory Group covering banking and wealth management, Regional Director Asia Pacific & MENA for an organisation that provides advisory and consulting services on clients strategic business issues and their impacts on professional development, Regional Leader Asia Pacific & MENA for a soon to be launched web platform globally catering for islamic professionals and executives and Project Director and Thought Leader for a Global Research Group covering banking and wealth management.

Nick’s Passions are diverse but primarily are focused on Diabetes, Wealth Management, Nurturing Human Talent, Greece and Armenia.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW

1. Please share with us how you got started with Ploutos Global Advisory and Kalikajaros.com.

Nick: I founded the business in January 2009 initially to pass time by as I had left a corporate organization offering global wealth management with a one-year non-compete period. Like all entrepreneurs, I found I just couldn’t sit still for 5 minutes let alone a year.  I found I was being approached by many people in the financial services industry wanting to talk and get advice about how to execute their strategic plans better and the challenges (and frustrations) being experienced.

When I looked back, I too can recall constantly reaching out to others for such help.

Time and time again, I realized that most people get professional consulting on setting strategic visions and business plans but there always seems to be an inadequate focus on being very clear and focused on how to execute.

I realized I could share my experiences and leverage my skills and capabilities to others; hence Ploutos Global Advisory and Kalikajaros.com was formed.

In addition, I retained my wealth management skills and capabilities by providing innovative solutions to stakeholders in international wealth management and banking markets. I service sovereign wealth funds, global banks, private wealth managers & brokers, institutional investors, professional services firms, government and regulators, High Net Worth investors, Affluent Investors and Mass Affluent Investors and their advisors.

 

2. There is no typical day in the life of an entrepreneur. Please share with us a sample of your day, start to finish.

Nick: There are some key components to the day I set as ‘non-negotiable’ rules.

I break up the day to:

  • Research and Learning Development Activity – Gain insights into key market and key data globally, regionally and locally.
  • Setting the Day Ahead – Being very clear on what must be achieved today, what activities are moveable if needed
  • Activating – Completing the daily goals and challenges set.
  • Networking – They key to survival. Developing and reaching out to the network using direct contact, social media platforms including Kalikajaros.com, Twitter, Google + and LinkedIn.  I want to take the opportunity here to comment on networking.  I have a very strong belief that most people focus on networking focusing on ‘what’s in it for me’. I have a completely different view, my view on networking is that your sole focus on attention should be focusing being helping people with the utmost sincerity. Work mandates become outcomes but that’s not primary my focus on networking. Helping people is the key focus.
  • Review – What I set out to achieve and start to plan the new goals for tomorrow
  • Switch Off – At the end of the day, all the technology tools get switched off. It’s time for focus and attention to be given to my family and also finding a bit of quiet time for me.

3. What are your ‘can’t live without’ Smartphone or desktop applications?

Nick: Well being an Apple follower for over 30 years, I am starting to wonder why Apple hasn’t reached out to its consumers for such milestones!. On the desktop side of things, the iWork’s iLife and iWeb packages are essential

I’m a huge fan of Tweetdeck and Wunderlist.

My communication tool is Skype and Apple’s Facetime

On the SmartPhone, my favourite 10 apps (excluding games!) are:

  1. Tunein Radio – Handy for accessing radio stations globally via the net!
  2. PriorityPass– Finding those airport lounges all over the world is handy
  3. Bloomberg – Giving me access to worldwide financial news and market data
  4. Card Munch – Converting business cards to electronic cards for me Apple Contact Book and connecting with people through Linkedin
  5. Regus – Finding and booking location for Regus Offices, Meeting Rooms and business lounges globally!
  6. Dragon Dictation – Converting voice to text for SMS, Email etc. when my hands are firmly locked on that steering wheel!
  7. Skype and Skype Wi-Fi – Great reliable VOIP and Skype Wi-Fi. It lets me use my Skype Credit to leverage off user pay wifi globally
  8. Booking.com – In my opinion, the best hotel finder in the world and instant booking capabilities are simply fantastic
  9. Skyscanner – The App that finds me air travel solutions globally and enables me to book instantly
  10. iBook and iTunes – I have over 3000 books and 26000 songs in my library and being able to access via the iphone and ipad is simply brilliant

 

4. What are your tricks for time management?

Nick: Without the structure or the camaraderie of office mates, it’s easy to feel disconnected or to let work run my life. If you have a flexible schedule, I consider these three things to make my work life easier:

Clearly delineate your workday. Make a schedule and stick to it. Without boundaries between work and non-work time, you’ll feel guilty if you’re not at your desk.

Start your day right. When you don’t have to clock in by 9, it’s tempting to fritter your time away. Make your mornings time for work to get a jump on the day.

Give yourself time off. Working alone can be intense. Don’t feel guilty about not working a full 8-hour day. Do what you need to get your work done and then clock out.

 

5. What was the best advice you received when you started your career?

Nick: Never Stop Learning – It’s a simple statement often pushed aside because we fall into the trap of treating learning as a ‘cost’ to the business and also an intruder of time management in a busy world.

Given the current economic climate, what has been your strategy for building awareness of Ploutos Global for short term and long term growth?

Remain focused on who and what is important – It might sound a bit boring but my view on this is simple.  Awareness primarily comes from the cliens I service who become my off-balance sheet marketing division.  My only interest is ensuring the clients that engage me are completely satisfied and that expectations are exceeded as opposed to simply being met.

Networking, I’ve touched on earlier is focused on talking to people and organizations to offer help, rather than try and push my own profit agenda.

Social Media has too become very important for the business. Again, my own view on social media is to focus on helping people and organizations think about issues and items that are on their mind and offer to help.

 

6. What is your proudest achievement as an accomplished entrepreneur?

Nick: Surviving the first 12 months. Sincerely, I think its important for people to understand that the first twelve months of any business is the most challenging and often what you undertake to achieve here really sets the scene for whether the business will go on and prosper or alternatively fail.

Resilience is key and if you haven’t got it in your DNA, get help!

 

7. How do you achieve balance in your life?

Nick: I know my family love me responding to this question.  To be honest, it’s a struggle, but I think the reason it is a struggle for most people is that we are told that balance is dependent on working in a set structure or discipline and switching off after that. Usually, I see for many people that means we should all work from 9am to 5pm. (I honestly can’t recall when that last happened to me!)

Flexibility is key, there will be times where work will require you to work extensive hours and there will be times where you can switch off earlier than planned.

They key is that you must commit to switching off. For those with family, it’s important to ensure that you give your family 100% attention during the time that you have set aside for such.  We tend to allow technology to intrude here, our iphones and deskptops tempt us with sound alerts, pop up messages that someone has reached out to us.

Whether you have a family or not, having time set aside for yourself is also important to do things you like to do. For example, read, play golf, paint, meditate.  The point is, that you need to ensure you set some time aside for yourself.

 

8. Your top 3 book recommendations?

Nick:

  • [amazon_link id=”0061804290″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Slowing down to the Speed of Life[/amazon_link] by Carlson and Bailey
  • [amazon_link id=”1742169562″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]CEO of Earth[/amazon_link] by Simon Hammond
  • [amazon_link id=”1742169538″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Scores on the Board[/amazon_link] by Bill Lang

If I could however add one more, I always read once a year as a firm rule – [amazon_link id=”076790592X” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Tuesdays with Morris[/amazon_link] by Mitch Albom

 

9. What are your most rewarding charitable involvements?

Nick: I am very passionate about Juvenile Diabetes (also known as Type 1 Diabetes).  My wife has had the disease for 20 years and I fail to understand why this disease, which is increasing every year globally, is not getting the priority attention of health, political and financial leaders consistently enough.

The JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) organization is one I have very high regard for.

 

10. Who has influenced your career the most?

Nick: There are three people that influenced my career, they have been part of my world for over 20 years. At the time of first contact, each was my direct manager in particular organizations and they have remained influential and very important to guiding, inspiring and teaching me.

Today they continue to be my sounding board or ‘reality check’

The other is the late Steve Jobs (aka Apple’s Co-Founder and Savior).

 

11. What is your advice for someone interested in entrepreneurship?

Nick: For the entrepreneur, I have the following advice based on Steve Jobs, the man who has inspired me for over 30 years.

  • Do what you love. Jobs once said, “People with passion can change the world for the better.” Asked about the advice he would offer would-be entrepreneurs, he said, “I’d get a job as a busboy or something until I figured out what I was really passionate about.” That’s how much it meant to him. Passion is everything.
  • Put a dent in the universe. Jobs believed in the power of vision. He once asked then-Pepsi President, John Sculley, “Do you want to spend your life selling sugar water or do you want to change the world?” Don’t lose sight of the big vision.
  • Make connections. Jobs once said creativity is connecting things. He meant that people with a broad set of life experiences can often see things that others miss. He took calligraphy classes that didn’t have any practical use in his life — until he built the Macintosh. Jobs traveled to IndiaandAsia. He studied design and hospitality. Don’t live in a bubble. Connect ideas from different fields.
  • Say no to 1,000 things. Jobs was as proud of what Apple chose not to do as he was of what Apple did. When he returned in Apple in 1997, he took a company with 350 products and reduced them to 10 products in a two-year period. Why? So he could put the “A-Team” on each product. What are you saying “no” to?
  • Create insanely different experiences. Jobs also sought innovation in the customer-service experience. When he first came up with the concept for the Apple Stores, he said they would be different because instead of just moving boxes, the stores would enrich lives. Everything about the experience you have when you walk into an Apple store is intended to enrich your life and to create an emotional connection between you and the Apple brand. What are you doing to enrich the lives of your customers?
  • Master the message. You can have the greatest idea in the world, but if you can’t communicate your ideas, it doesn’t matter. Jobs was the world’s greatest corporate storyteller. Instead of simply delivering a presentation like most people do, he informed, he educated, he inspired and he entertained, all in one presentation.
  • Sell dreams, not products. Jobs captured our imagination because he really understood his customer. He knew that tablets would not capture our imaginations if they were too complicated. The result? One button on the front of an iPad. It’s so simple, a 2-year-old can use it. Your customers don’t care about your product. They care about themselves, their hopes, their ambitions. Jobs taught us that if you help your customers reach their dreams, you’ll win them over.
  • There’s one story that I think sums up Jobs’ career at Apple. An executive who had the job of reinventing the Disney Store once called up Jobs and asked for advice. His counsel? Dream bigger. I think that’s the best advice he could leave us with. See genius in your craziness, believe in yourself, believe in your vision, and be constantly prepared to defend those ideas.

LEARN MORE ABOUT NICK ON HIS WEBSITE

SOCIAL MEDIA FOR NICK KALIKAJAROS

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