How to Build a Successful Business
Some 7 years ago we dreamed of building the Company that would have nothing to do with the Soviet Union; the Company that would become a national leader in dozens of countries around the world; the Company that would assemble the strongest international Team of extremely effective and result-oriented specialists, and would be able to pay them the highest and most competitive salaries.
The Company that would make people feel confident and secure about their future; the Company that would exclude cronyism as a way to become a leader; the Company in which personal initiative, energy and reliability would be the most important core values; the Company that would reach hundreds of millions of dollars in turnover and eventually become a global company.
A long time ago we were a small group of people, full of bright hopes and guided by optimism and courage, who did their best to build the Company of their dreams. We wanted to be №1 in the world right from the very start. And we knew that to become a leader we should be fast, in other words we needed to release new features and products faster than competitors. However, it was not always an easy task and sometimes we lost more than we got, but we were motivated, strong and inspired enough to try again.
The environment in which we built (and continue to build) our company was less than ideal:
• unfortunately, our national culture did not raise a generation of entrepreneurs;
• the specialists we had hired turned out to be experts “in words, not in deeds”. Promising a lot and doing little, they shamefully ran away without saying goodbye;
• we often faced those “professionals”, that were asking too much and offering too little;
• knowledge and experience of thousands of candidates turned out to be useless and irrelevant;
All this gradually helped us to get our heads out of the clouds.
We had to adjust and improve our plans and speed, increase the costs, wasting a lot of time and money due to the lack of professionalism of the new "NON-proFFessionals." We posted vacancies thousands of times, selected candidates, invited them for interviews, interviewed and employed them, paid their salaries, and finally fired them for unwillingness to work and deliver, and placed vacancies once again …
The business environment of pseudo-experts didn’t treat us very well. There were layoffs and scandals, that left us to deal with negativity and mean comments on the Internet. Moreover, we continue to face these so called “non-motivated” people: they are late or even no-show to interviews without sending a heads-up, don’t answer phone calls, don’t go on internships, they steal, lie and get drunk, however, they want to be paid as much as bank CEOs and will miss no opportunity to leave a bad online review.
The problem became even worse as the result of the widespread use of online courses for managers. Some people believe that any of YouTube 3-hour trainings can make them an expert in any field and automatically gives them right to teach you how to optimize your business processes, use cohort analysis correctly, and convince you that “you know nothing, Jon Snow”.
We were alone. We didn’t have lots of investments or any examples to follow, as well as the right to make big mistakes. At the first stage there wasn’t even USP, we didn’t know how to run business in Europe, we weren't familiar with local realities and sometimes we EVEN didn't speak languages of the countries where we launched our businesses.
Well, we started our business with a small room in a small office. Then we came to new countries and did not know at all what to do. At that point it seemed we really knew nothing. And we asked ourselves: what do we have? Our biggest asset were our people, our energy and our dreams. We all became kind of product managers, analysts and marketing managers. At the same time every business in the country started to develop without expensive ad campaigns, market experts, mind-blowing budgets and sometimes without any support.
We began to develop on the basis of logic and common sense. Today we have hundreds of thousands of customers. In 2018, we plan to triple our numbers. Marketing, Risks analysis and Product development. We learned how to do it by ourselves. Today we teach people and grow our own specialists in various fields. And we will succeed.
What are our core beliefs?
We are confident that the things you aim to achieve are more important than the things you already have or know. However, we had neither secret knowledge of the market, nor special studies, nor unique experts. We didn’t even have a regular office at the beginning! We survived 5 economic crises (2 of which were global).
Well, what options did we have?
Grow our “inner winners”. We had to understand that there was no choice. We had to win. Our competitors wouldn't miss an opportunity to take advantage of our failures;
Forget about work from dusk till dawn and start working in a result-oriented way;
Since we didn't have some secret knowledge or tremendous USP - WORK HARDER;
Make the IMPOSSIBLE. The "possible" is for ordinary people and ordinary companies, especially if they have enough time, money and support. True winners are those who can deliver, having limited resources.
So why am I writing all this?
Because I want you guys to know that you can do much more than you think. Just don't be lazy. Today's business environment is far better than it was decades ago, you have an opportunity to see the preliminary results of all your initiatives and it's easier for you to believe that nothing is impossible. There are so many different ways you can learn some business secrets that nobody else knows.
We have enormous potential, but we are terribly lazy. I often find myself amazed at most people's reluctance to work. If you want to achieve something, you need to work. Nothing falls from the sky. People worked hard at all times. So, what's bad about it?
I´m deeply convinced that being a pessimist is a waste of time, especially now when we have so many opportunities. In addition, we should never stop learning. The competitors are not sleeping, they are looking for new ways to grab our piece of the market or prevent us from taking market shares in their countries. Fortunately, knowledge has no boundaries, so we can absorb as much of it as we can every day of our life.
My generation grew up with examples of incredible leaders, like Muhammad Ali or Arnold Schwarzenegger.
When Muhammad Ali, one of the most significant and celebrated sports figures of the 20th century and the person I admire, was asked how many sit-ups he did, he responded, “I don’t count my sit-ups. I only start counting when it starts hurting. That is when I start counting, because then it really counts. That’s what makes you a champion.”
According to Arnold Schwarzenegger we need to “be hungry for success, hungry to make your mark, hungry to be seen and to be heard and to have an effect. And as you move up and become successful, make sure also to be hungry for helping others. If you don’t find the time, if you don’t do the work, you don’t get the results.”
Sometimes I wonder: what were the biggest mistakes I made in the past? What should have been done differently? When we got started, I thought we had big plans. And now I am sure that they were too “local”, and I had to make really GREAT ones!
Dream bigger, do more, leave your trace in history, that you could be proud of. Keep score of your achievements. Remember, the more your dream, the farther you get. As the proverb runs, “You are as unhappy as you want to be”. Everything depends on our choice and attitude. Our happiness and emotions we experience are only partially related to external circumstances. Our choice is the only thing that matters.