In today’s episode, we’re talking to Paul Oberschneider the author of the new book “Why Sell Tacos In Africa” and the Founder of the Ober-Haus Group. Paul turned a little three-week allowance of $400 into a business empire valued at over $200 million over a period of 18 years in Central and Eastern Europe.
His life story is a testament to the spirit of entrepreneurship and capitalism. Using the skills and resources he had available and thanks to a bit of serendipity, Paul met a young Russian named Sergei at the famous square in Tallin, Estonia who made an unusual request. Sergei asked Paul if he could put together a business plan for the purpose of obtaining a bank loan. Paul wrote the business plan, and to their mutual surprise, Sergei got the loan. Word quickly spread, and pretty soon Paul had made over $100,000 over a three month period writing business plans for various people and organizations.
Riding on the back of the success of his business plan writing service, Paul parlayed his capital into other ventures ranging from Real Estate development, Hospitality, Financial Services and Retail and Consumer products. Along the way, he met several interesting characters and had many hair-raising experiences including being held up at gunpoint by a pair of Russian gangsters asking for a piece of his business.
Ever the creative problem solver, Paul was able to resolve many issues simply by applying his creativity and intuition to problems as they arose. Though he’s a firm believer in having a strategic and tactical approach to doing business, he credits a large part of his success to being at the right place at the right time.
After selling his businesses in a presciently shrewd maneuver at the beginning of the financial crisis of 2008, Paul admits to taking his eyes off the ball and not focusing on the important things. He then decided to get back in the game of business by becoming a private investor and mentor to startups founders in the Oxford area of the United Kingdom. He has also written a new book “Why to Sell Tacos In Africa” which chronicles his adventures over the past 25 years and serves as a metaphor for how young entrepreneurs should think about doing business in blue sky markets.
I hope you listen, learn and take lots of notes. If you would like to know more about Paul and keep up with his current work you can reach him at Paul Oberschneider/. Feel free to connect with him on social media and LinkedIN.