Working and learning together always make great results. Here are top 6 lessons what we’ve learned in 2013.
1. The investment in the company is an excellent thing – as we were developing the company, we were pretty sure that the VC capital will not be necessary. We have been growing fast enough (about 100% per year), which is really satisfactorily. But after all we’ve realized that without VC acceleration, we’ll be a regional company for years, and that we didn’t want. With the help of VC, we have the ability to grow and develop into a truly European or even global company. Taking the investment is one of the best decisions we’ve taken so far. Day by day we are getting older and smarter. Now we know that every decision isn’t always 100% right. I’m sure that today we have the right people in the right place and together we can develop the kind of speed our growth we could never imagine.
2. Central team is the most important team – before, we had a central team developed only in a case of emergency but now we realize that central team is the essence of company. Their job is helping others achieve better performance, whether we’re talking about carrier or personal growth. Everyone says that you must think in the long term. But who does it, really? A year ago, only me and Tomislav were in the central team and today there’s seven of us. And now we wouldn’t know how to go further without these amazing people. Without a doubt, they are our left and right hand and together we are defining the entire company. Today, a fast-growing company like this is not possible without such a team.
3. Investment in people always pays off – this year, we have invested in the satisfaction and education of our people more than ever. And we’re always surprised how much the investment is worth and how it returns in every possible way.
4. Have patience when you are opening an office abroad – our experience with the Belgrade office taught us that branching out takes time. We prefer to negotiate with the companies that are already doing business in the market we’re interested in. Now we’re aware of the fact that when it comes to large firms, negotiations lasts from 3 to 6 months.
5. Firms from the region can compete in the global market – somehow we were always afraid of big markets and big competitors, this year we learned that the fear was excessive. We can take the UK market as an example. We were convinced that in this sea we are still small and negligible fish. It’s true that there are a dozen agencies in London, which are much larger, but it’s also a very small number for market such as the UK. There are thousands of digital agencies in London but most of them don’t have more than 20 employees. It’s simple, agency costs are so high in London that you rarely can afford 50 employees. Mostly, these are the agencies that are building sales teams and outsourcing services in countries of Eastern Europe. It’s not easy to penetrate these kind of markets, but we mustn’t be afraid. We have the will and knowledge, which are the first precondition for development of the company, and the courage and perseverance which are the triggers of this development.
6. Startupin24h is an excellent initiative – after our first Startupin24h we’ve learned that this is right direction of creating something new. A huge part of the company (80%) were part of this amazing project, and we’ve all worked 24 hours constantly on the same goal, launching a new product from scratch. The atmosphere was great and most of us said we would do it again! This is a great way to connect teams, to give people the opportunity to do things that usually wouldn’t work and to make a difference. But at the same time, we learned a lot. For example, in some segments like front – end and back – end development, we were not organized so well and we couldn’t finish everything we’ve planned. I still believe in this idea and think it’s possible to launch a prototype in 24 hours. I’m sure another 24hours – adventure is waiting for us, first time was just a rehearsal. :) 24 hours is enough, but you really must be organized in all areas to accomplish a given goal. Our main goal is that StartupIn24h becomes a platform not only for iSTUDIO, but also for other companies which want to invest in innovation and development, and to see that making a great thing in 24 hours is quite possible with good process organisation.