Smiljan Mori is a businessman, author, coach, and consultant to top performers from all walks of life. His business successes are legendary, including the founding and building of one the largest and most successful insurance brokerage company in Central Eastern Europe: the Mori Agency.
He is also the creator of Top Success Club, the leading e-learning platform with more than 1000 hours of quality e-courses and lectures by more than 50 world-renowned experts.
His speaking credentials include an ongoing count of more than 300,000 attendees to presentations in more than 50 countries. He has more than 20 years of experience in direct sales. He trained thousands of people in the direct sales industry, network market industry, insurance industry and bank industry.
MEET THE FOUNDER OF THE MORI AGENCY
1. How you came up with the business idea for The Mori Agency? Tell us the first three things you’ve done to turn it into facts.
How did I get the idea to start a company? It was actually very simple. One day my friend “accidentally” invited me to a seminar. If I had known that the seminar was going to be about insurances, I probably would not go, since I had no intention of ever working in the industry.
Then, I was working as a criminal police officer at the Ministry of the Interior and as an apprentice at the Supreme Court in Ljubljana. For that reason, sales and especially sales of financial products were everything but my dream job.
Things changed at that seminar because I felt that it could become my mission. It might sound strange and funny, but the main reason was that I didn't like getting up very early in the morning and knowing that working in the general government sector would involve working from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the rest of my life, it did not go hand in hand with my dream job definition.
I wanted a career, I wanted freedom and that is how I decided to start an insurance agency without a penny in my pocket. My mother lend me money for gas when I started going to the first seminars.
Now, after 20 years, I can honestly say that I have made the best decision possible.
Also, when I started selling my fist insurance and financial products, I realized that I am really good at motivating people and training them for sales. Therefore I started with motivational and sales seminars, which later grew into business coaching.
Throughout my career I have written almost 10 books, coached many well-known people, including Olympic winners, professional athletes, top business people and managers.
2. Name one situation that made you want to quit.
When I started with organizing my seminars, writing books and sales coaching, and even though things had not gone as planned, I have to say that I never thought about giving up.
Of course I was disappointed because I did not earn as much as I had expected. Also, there have been more expenses than I thought and if I had known what it would be like, I wouldn't probably start in the first place.
Nevertheless, I never thought about quitting. When I set a goal, I stick to it until I reach it.
It was probably helpful that I did not receive any support from my father who threw me out of our house when he found out about my decision to quit working in the general government sector and opted for insurances and coaching. Those circumstances motivated me even more.
3. Name one situation that made you want to go forward.
When I started selling financial and insurance products, people had problems deciding on buying the products or not. But when they ended up extremely satisfied after we closed the deal, it motivated me to go on.
Also, when I first started my seminars, there were people who told me that nobody will come. My first seminar was visited by over 280 people which gave me a real boost. By now, I have had more than 300,000 people coming to my seminars.
4. What do you think are the most difficult challenges entrepreneurs have to face in the Slovenian market nowadays?
When people strive to reach their goals, ideas or visions, they often find themselves in a non-supportive environment.
Slovenia, in my opinion, is a country where entrepreneurs wanting to start a company find themselves challenged by long bureaucratic procedures, the market is limited and small, since there is only 2 million inhabitants.
Also, when they try working outside the borders, it isn't simple to get started either, because many internet providers do not consider Slovenia a serious contender.
However, the biggest challenge for entrepreneurs and companies is not their environment. It is the way they think, what they believe in, their lack of courage and self-confidence, perseverance and will.
When I ask businessmen in my seminars to enumerate what they need to succeed, these are the key points they make. Rarely, they start with points such as good marketing, well-regulated legal system, good products, etc. They talk about courage, will, perseverance, ideas and inspiration.
5. Investment matters. If you would invest in something else but your actual business. What would that be?
I would invest in technologies, especially online technologies. During the last year I invested a lot in social media.
I have over 380,000 followers on my personal Instagram profile and also on Facebook Fan Page. On Instagram we own a network with over 2.5 million followers.
In a way I also invest into things that do not bring money straight away but help me create my personal brand in the long run.
6. If you could change something about Slovenian’s Entrepreneurs Community to improve it in any way what would that be?
If I had that option, I would definitely make it possible for entrepreneurs to open new companies with less paperwork. Also something must be done about payment discipline, which is still on a very low level in Slovenia.
7. What is The Mori Agency bringing to the art market, that is different compared its competitors?
Every businessmen needs to strive to be as unique, innovative and different as possible in the market. They also need to stay authentic in order to become as influential as possible. When we talk about the Mori Agency, which specializes in selling financial products, we can definitely say that we are unique in our recruitment system.
Our onboarding system of new agents is extremely different from others in the industry. Financial and insurance industry is quite rigid, therefore we have implemented many trainings that include personal growth, motivation, inspiration, setting goals and activities, happiness, and other “soft touch” skills that help agents become more productive.
Also, my training seminars show our uniqueness, where I dedicate 80% of the time to mindset and 20% to acquiring skills. I do the same when I talk to entrepreneurs and focus on the way they think, their rituals, habits and on increasing productivity.
MEET THE MAN #BEHINDTHESUIT
1. Name one good habit that helps you deal with your active life.
Exercise. 19 years ago, when I started with insurance business, I was out of breath after reaching 2nd floor of our building. There and in that moment I decided that I will never be out of shape again. Even when I'll turn 50 I will be in a better shape than I was back then. I feel good about my body, I have a lot of energy and I exercise 6 times a week.
2. Name one bad habit you can’t quit.
This is a very good question. The answer is coffee. I did not drink coffee for many years. Once I started, I drank too much coffee every day. It was my favorite habit. Only a few days ago I decided to stop. I don't need coffee for more energy. Wish me luck.
3. If you could be anything else but an entrepreneur what would you be?
I would be a professor. Actually, I would be a professor of positive psychology or neuroscience. I have certificates in both subjects and I use my knowledge in everyday life and business.
4. You are the founder at The Mori Agency, what is the favourite movie of the man who founded it?
I have to admit that I don't watch movies. I don't want to insult anyone, but for me, movies are a waste of time. I read a lot.
I read a lot of books every year, that's why it will be very hard to answer question number 5. I actually like documentaries about successful people like Gandhi. They inspire me.
5. Tell us your favourite book. What’s the best thing you learned from it?
I probably read more than 10 000 books so it's hard to pick one. One book that totally turned my life around was Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers. It made me realize that people with the most difficult stories can become highly successful.
I have to mention Joseph Murphy's The Power of your Subconscious Mind because it thought me that our life depends on the way we think and our mindset. As an entrepreneur, I learned a lot from The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber.
6. Name the most important value that you believe in.
Honesty. In personal and professional life. We need to be honest with our partners, clients and employees. I like facts. People need to know that we are honest and fair. This is one of the reasons why I'm successful.
7. If you could compare your journey as an entrepreneur with a song what song would you choose?
We are the champions by Queen. I believe that we are all champions. Some people just need to find a champion within themselves. This song really helps me go through difficult times.
8. Tell us the best experience you had while working to build The Mori Agency.
This question is quite complicated. I would say that the best experiences were those that made me stronger and even more determined. Normally, they come when we fail at something. From these situations, we are able to learn the most and...
...I believe that rejections, failures, and defeats made me stronger and more experienced. Therefore, these are the experiences that I am most grateful for.
9. If you would give our readers one piece of advice from your entrepreneurial experience, what would that advice be?
I could give you lots of advice but I will focus on something very important. Many entrepreneurs say that their company is their family. I was one of them but in the last year, I learned this:
My business is not my family. My family is my business. What does this mean? Never forget about your family, your personal life and your free time. You own your business! Your business should not own you! Your family needs you and you should never forget that.