A Conversation with Roman Sledziejowski: Cofounder of Savant Strategies

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A Conversation with Roman Sledziejowski Cofounder of Savant Strategies

Roman Sledziejowski is a Polish-born American businessman and currently the Vice Chairman of Savant Strategies, an international management consulting firm.

Roman Sledziejowski began his professional career in New York City at Salomon Smith Barney, Member of Travelers Group at the age of 17, working for the investment bank part-time throughout his final year of high school.

After graduating from high school as the class valedictorian, he began his studies at Columbia University in the field of Economics. While in high school, he was the captain of the school’s varsity soccer team, playing as a striker, and was awarded the most valuable player (MVP) distinction three years in a row.

He also competed on his school’s varsity track and field team at various meets throughout New York State.

At the age of 18, he became the youngest National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) licensed stockbroker in the United States and began working full time as an Investment Associate at Smith Barney, a Member of Citigroup.

In 2002 Roman Sledziejowski became the Vice President of Investments at Prudential Securities in New York City. In 2004 he was promoted to the position of First Vice President of Investments.

At the age of 25, Roman Sledziejowski became the Senior Vice President and Investment Officer of Wachovia Securities; at the time, the 3rd largest investment firm in the United States with over 10,000 brokers working in 700 office locations and $680 billion in assets under management.

While at Wachovia Securities, Roman Sledziejowski began to make personal investments in multi-family rental properties in New York, Tennessee, and Arkansas. Through various partnerships, Roman Sledziejowski purchased and re-developed nearly 400 residential units between 2004 and 2009.

In 2006 Roman Sledziejowski founded Innovest Holdings, a New York City-based financial holding company. Innovest Holdings operated through four main subsidiaries: TWS Financial, LLC, a full-service broker-dealer based in Washington, DC with over $500 million in annual market transactions, servicing primarily foreign high net worth individual clients and international financial institutions; TradeWallStreet.com, one of the leading online Broker/Dealer platforms at the time, catering to individual investors; TWS Investment Partners, LLC, a real estate investment and finance company with over $100 million in real estate projects); and TWS Capital Partners, LLC, an offshore investment advisor with client assets exceeding $1 billion.

In 2007 Roman Sledziejowski co-founded MyPlace Development, Sp. Z o.o., a Poznan, Poland-based real estate development company, together with Sebastian Kulczyk who served as the company’s CEO with Roman Sledziejowski serving as the Company’s Chairman of the Board until early 2010. In December of 2009 RJS finalized the sale of his interest in MyPlace Development for $7.3 million in cash to Kulczyk Real Estate Holding SARL in Luxemburg.

After significant initial success, TWS Financial, LLC. suffered debilitating financial losses during the financial crisis of 2008.  Between October 9, 2007, to March 9, 2009, the S&P 500 lost approximately 50% of its value.  Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and dozens of other financial services firms suffered extraordinary losses, with many others seeking bankruptcy protection or mergers with other investment companies.

In 2013, Roman Sledziejowski co-founded Savant Strategies, an international management consulting firm. Due to personal and legal issues, he took an extended leave of absence from the firm in 2016.

In 2021 Roman Sledziejowski returned to Savant Strategies, the firm he co-founded back in 2013, as Vice Chairman. Savant Strategies provides management consulting services to middle-market companies primarily in Latin America, Europe, and South Africa.

We recently had the opportunity to interview Roman Sledziejowski and learn more about Savant Strategies. 

How does Savant Strategies make money?

Savant customizes fees primarily based on project scope and duration. Traditional pricing model based strictly on hourly billing is not always the best solution since it creates an obvious potential for misaligning the interests of the client and the consultant. We prefer to implement a “per project” billing model with a well-defined scope of work to be deployed with established clients.

How long did it take for you to become profitable?

From an operational standpoint, the business saw “black ink” just four months after launch.

When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?

Anyone who ever started a business knows that there is always doubt about the future of the venture. At the same time, this was not my first rodeo starting a business from scratch. Prior to turning the “lights on” there were months of painstaking planning, preparation, and “soft selling” to potential clients. This process helped to alleviate a lot of anxiety and put us on the path to success.

How did you get your first client/customer?

The first customers included businesses that I had dealt with previously in a different professional capacity. In short, I asked those who encouraged me to enter the management consulting field to put their money where their mouths were. Every single one of the ones that I approached did exactly this.

What is the most challenging decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?

It is always difficult to let someone go from an organization, but it is crucial to do so as soon as it is determined that someone no longer aligns their individual goals with those of the organization.

What do you think it is that makes you successful?

Persistence and focus on the task at hand are what I believe brought me the most business success. Losing focus and spreading myself too thin always brought failure to me.

What has been your most satisfying moment in business?

Getting a client referral has always been the most satisfying moment in business for me. Since Savant Strategies relies only on client referrals for new business acquisition, it is our lifeblood and measures how well we are doing for existing clients.

What does the future hold for your business?

While there is always a need for good advice, now more than ever, there is a need for timely and actionable advice in the market segment which we service. Our niche, which provides management consulting to midsize companies, has an excellent future and tremendous growth potential.

According to IBISWorld, the Management Consulting industry in the US is a 253 billion-dollar market.  It has grown 1.4% per year between 2016 and 2021 and is expected to increase 8.6% in 2021.