#AMweekly – Effective team building – Michał Pawlik, SMEOOn August 11, 2019 by Raul Dinwiddie
Hello everyone! Welcome to the next episode of Avenew Media Weekly. Today we’re here with Michał Pawlik -Hello.
-Hello The founder of SMEO. This is the project you have been working on and you’re known for. Could you tell us what are you currently working on, What’s been going on around your businesses and what road did you take to get to where you are now SMEO is an online factoring services. We deliver those factoring services to micro enterprises. This service is 100% online, which means that the whole process of getting the financing for the company and the entire communication with us is online. This is very important to us. In 30 seconds for those, who don’t know what factoring is. If you could just explain shortly what’s factoring for those who havenít heard about it yet. Let me give an example of a small entrepreneur. Usually, micro enterprises work for bigger companies. How does this business relationship look like? A company has to invest in the production of something and than sending the product to this large companies and than issues an invoice. But this invoice has a huge disadvantage, which is a date of due payment. On average, it’s up to 30, 45, 60 days. So it’s very inconvenient for micro entrepreneurs. They have to wait for the payment, even though the job is long done. And factoring is exactly about financing this gap in time, those 60 days. So it’s financing an invoice you already issued but you’re still waiting for the payment. So it helps the cashflow of such a micro enterprise. What brought you to this place where you are now? In 2011, I started with building a company called Idea Money. Today it’s the biggest factoring company on the small and medium enterprises market and I’m really proud of it. It’s a product of standard factoring and this company expanded its services by debt collection services and many, many more. It’s now part of Idea Bank. My second project was efactoring.pl. It was very interesting challenge it was the first online factoring service in Poland. First in Poland, pioneer project, it’s been only growing since and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the team. However, I decided I want to walk my own way because SMEO is the first project where I am the founder. Not only am I an author and co-creator but also a founder. And so is my entire team. It’s really important that now with our crew, we are all shareholders and I think it’s one of keys to success. We want to build our success as the success of the founders. What, in your opinion, does make people work well with each other and helps them achieve the desired outcome? or work efficient on reaching the goal. My experience in building the third factoring company in Poland proves that motivation and the team’s success are different things. First, is about intrinsic motivation in themselves to make this business happen.
Obviously, in most cases itís the financial motivation but now I’m not talking about money. Rather than money, they must feel like they’re owners of the project. So they have to get involved because it’s their business. So they’re founders or shareholders of the company. Obviously, directly or not, they could be part of a manager program, but it brings positive results and me and my case actually proves it.
And today, we use it at SMEO. All of our managers are also shareholders of this business. And the second factor is selection of a team. For example, we are a team of 6-7 people and we all know each other. We’ve known each other for years, we’ve worked together and we created some factoring companies together. That’s why we work with each other so well. But we had to add a CMO from outside to our team. It was so hard for us to find someone who will fit that hiring this person took us about 6 months. We spent a lot of time, lots of energy, lots of money, too, to pick the person who will fit our team perfectly. It is claimed that one hour spent on planning saves four hours on implementation. So it’s the same rule with team building, right? Let’s say this whole process of searching is profitable, right? We, during the recruitment, though I’m not a fan of this word, we spent a lot of time not only on questions and answers, small talks and so on, but also on meeting this person. We went for a lunch, we went for a dinner, we spent some time together. To be honest, we made a little research among acquaintances, what this person like. Not as a worker, but as a human, because it’s more important. Ok, so if you could tell us, besides creating a great team, not only at work but also after work as well, cause it’s great to have a good time together, right? What else, except a team, makes talking about building well organized organization doable? First of all, the organization has to have their own goals. Team, money, but most of all, there must be an idea. I noticed that lots of startups don’t really know what their idea is and what they would like to do. So the idea must be very clear. and the path to achieve goals has to be clear as well. What would we like to do with this company? So write it all down on a piece of paper, even if we are a startup that was started yesterday in a garage, it’s worth to have a timetable, what is our goal, when we want to do that. Talking about numbers can happen in the next phrase. Instead, focus on business, substantive goals – what do we want to achieve. What did we invent and what would we like to do with it? There are plenty of ideas. There are plenty of excellent ideas but you have to know how to sell it. What do I really want to hit the market with? Tell us please, you worked at Idea Money, which is a big organization, part of big holding, now you work at SMEO, which is much smaller. Whatís the difference in setting goals in a big organization and much smaller startup? Because, as I guess,
the structure is so much different of both of them. I got this experience because I used to manage over 200 employees. However, at SMEO we made the decision that we donít want to become a large company in terms of
the amount of people in our team. We want to be a small organization, hard working with other outsourcing companies, and we want to outsource what we can and whatís substantiated. Today, at my company, I’d like to focus on managing the core business. So I want to focus on people, who make business decisions, not necessarily about decisions not connected directly with business. And these are ,,problems of hundreds of people who do not have an impact on the business. And managers must think only about core management. Aren’t you afraid you’ll run out of resources? You’ve got a core management that makes key decisions and you look for resources everywhere. But suddenly you’ll have so many projects where you’re getting out of outsourcing. Yes, and we’ve already thought about this. I think we’ll grow as groups, that are beyond the main crew. But they will be as seeds of this idea. New projects will have new management. Thinking of other startups, companies, that would like to follow your way, your way, as a founder or of the organization you build could you tell two most important things founders should know and remember I think it’s really important, when you’re getting out of a seed phase, and you’re looking for an investor, it’s important to find one. But this must be an investor, who understands your business. I’m completely against investing money through people who have no idea
about a business they invest money in. So it’s not about the money, but about who’s behind it? If an investor doesn’t understand what he’s investing in, than he’s unable to control this business
essentially. He’ll be just looking for numbers, which, in startups, are never right. Early stage business plan will be changed multiple times. As an example, we spoke with one of funds who wanted to invest in us, told us, management, that if within first year of our activity, our 18 financial indicators, which were made for us, will raise up to 15%, on a scale of one month, than that’s really serious risk for the company. At a startup, that has its first clients, a 15% change can happen every second. So all of those corporate aims by looking only at numbers, don’t work at all. An investor has to understand the business, the idea and trust the team heíll work with. And by meeting with the team, working together, heís able to predict if itís going to work out or not. Letís imagine we have a startup and it finds an investor, who doesnít even know what this business is, but he gives the money. Should this startup go away from this money? You know what? If he gives money and that’s all he does, I call this investor an ATM. Let’s find out what is this investor’s goal. If he will give this money and won’t even care about anything else and neither will check the numbers and make statements, then it seems that it all makes sense, but it’s not true. Because he won’t give you any other resources or add value. He doesn’t have any know-how, and it’s really important to help the company growing. Sometimes it’s really hard to manage that from the inside. Sometimes a large company or an investor is able to be very helpful, more helpful than any money can buy. Good investor, great team and great concept. Concept, idea must be innovative, cool and most importantly clear and easy to understand. As in the test of the elevator, you have to tell about your business within 30 seconds
and people should understand it. If they don’t, then the idea is so innovative that it’s from the future, or you just don’t understand your own concept. Ok, super, I think now I know everything I wanted to learn. Thank you very much! I hope people will learn exactly what they need. Thank you once again and go watch our next episode next week. Thank you!