Steve’s first business was a snow shoveling company that he built and sold to a large landscaping company. The sale was for $48 … he was 10 years old. Years later, Steve has become a self-made multimillionaire who has built, bought and sold over 100 businesses and helped thousands more around the world identify and realize their dreams. One of Steve’s proudest accomplishments is the fact that he helped make over 100 people millionaires in their own right.
An average student, Steve wanted to play football, so he attended Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois. He transferred and graduated from Bradley University with a major in Political Science before receiving an MBA from Rosary Graduate School. During this time, Steve worked a variety of jobs as a waiter, construction roofer, landscaper, factory laborer, and an adjunct faculty to mention a few.
In his mid-twenties, Steve hit his first big success with a marketing company called SCA. He didn’t have any business mentors or financial backing, so Steve learned on the fly. Possessing street smarts, a ton of passion, a solid work ethic, and of course some luck, Steve lived the trials of the small business owner. With limited resources, Steve used many cash flow conservation tactics such as sleeping in his car versus buying a hotel room, borrowing friends’ cars to take out clients, and more. These experiences along with many others allow Steve to easily relate to people in all walks of life. He knows what it’s like to stay awake all night agonizing over a decision he made 12 hours ago. He also knows the psyche and dynamics of the business owner, their families and employees both on the national and international scale.
Steve quickly realized that if he were going to make it big, he would need to get a lot of business from Procter & Gamble, the biggest marketing spender in the industry, so he set his sites on P&G. He didn’t know anything about big companies, nor did he have any connections whatsoever, so he had no choice but to learn along the way. After many disappointments, Steve landed his first P&G client, a $10,000 order from Scope Mouthwash. Fast forward 5 years, and Steve was working with over 50 P&G brands and billing them over $25 million per year. He was able to replicate his big customer success at many other companies and was on his way. Fast forward a few more years to Steve’s first book Bag the Elephant™ and notice that the forward is written by John Pepper, Chairman and CEO of P&G. Steve was able to build his relationship at P&G beginning with a receptionist and climbing all the way to the CEO level.
Steve built SCA into a leading target marketing/database company before selling it to Snyder Communications NYSE SNC for tens of millions of dollars.
Steve stayed on with Snyder as Group President where he had 1,500 employees throughout the U.S. and U.K. He grew this division 225% in two years by growing and acquiring smaller businesses throughout the US, Europe, Asia and Australia, and then led the growth strategy initiatives for these businesses. This was a large public company consisting of many smaller businesses around the world.
Steve then played a leadership role in selling the public entity (Snyder Communications) to French owned Havas Advertising for an industry record $2.1 billion a few years later.
Steve stayed on as part of the deal as President & Chief Executive Officer of Bounty SCA, the business he started and built to huge levels.
The Past Ten Years
At age 35, Steve decided to leave his position to spend more time with his children. He mastered balancing family life with business life, while also pursuing many of his life passions, and decided to write books to share it all. It didn’t take long for him to realize that the same principles applied to achieving success in both business and life. These were the books that he wished were available when he was building his businesses, and family.
The process of getting the books published was challenging, especially as a first-time author. Going back to the same principles he used in his early days of business at P&G, he started knocking on doors. Following his own advice, he went out on his own, and with a solid plan and a lot of persistence, he placed the book with a publisher. The book Bag the Elephant™ was a huge success and hit the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek and USA Today Bestseller lists as well as the number one seller on Amazon.com daily list. Steve went on a 30-city speaking and media tour to support the book, helping people along the way. Publishing Steve’s next two books was a different story. With the success of his first book, the same agents who once blew him off approached Steve. Steve signed with a top agency, and the books are now available in many languages around the world.
Steve applies the same principles that lead to his business success to every other major life goal he achieves. Due to this success approach, he has been able to achieve every goal he’s chased, no matter how big or how difficult. Whether it’s becoming a multimillionaire before age 30, building one of his many successful businesses from start up to over $350 million with over 1,500 employees, speaking to thousands, raising a family, gorilla trekking in the Congo, writing bestselling books, co-producing a Broadway play or pursuing his other passions and lifelong goals, Steve’s exact same success principles are put into action. Steve’s passion turned to helping others achieve the same level of success in life and business as he did. To that end, in 2004, he started Steve Kaplan Inc. where he uses his experiences to help others.
Today, Steve is the authority on success and achievement whose no-nonsense, hands-on, innovative approach to success has helped empower and teach tens of thousands across the globe. Steve regularly appears on a variety of media (including MSNBC, NBC, CBS and Fox Television) to discuss his experiences and help others achieve success. Steve’s books, products, consulting sessions and keynotes are full of proven tactics, tools, and techniques to help foster success in life and business. Steve toured the nation’s universities on his Bag The Elephant™ Unplugged University Tour where he spoke with students, faculty and administration on success, and how students can better prepare for success in the next phase of their life.
Steve believes that both life and business should be an adventure, pursued with passion and vigor. Some of the adventures Steve has been fortunate enough to experience include: scuba diving with hammerhead sharks off the Galapagos Islands and Cocos Islands; running with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain; body sledging in New Zealand, white-water rafting; hot-air ballooning over the Masai Mara; and rappelling down water falls in Costa Rica. It is this infectious passion and determination that has impacted every individual and business he’s touched. To book business strategy speaker Steve Kaplan call Executive Speakers Bureau 901-754-9404.