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Business Rakes Club: a new house and a fruit basket


The 12th meeting of "Business Rakes Club" took place on April 19, 2018. It should be reminded that only the owners and top managers of the Companies, who are ready to share their experience, are traditionally invited to the business meetings. The idea of the event is the following: the speaker tells about his business, then experienced colleagues and STEP consultants give feedback on the project, answering the question "if the business were mine, what would I do in such situation?".


Two very different businesses and very different persons were invited to the meeting: the vigorous owner of the construction company "Slav-Com" - Maxim Gnezdilov, and charming Natalia Batyr, the founder of the "Juicy Fruit" project - the business of selling exotic fruits from Thailand and Vietnam.


The experts of the meeting were Alexander Gusakov, the founder of the Heliopark Company, Jerome A. Bonhomme, the director of the Aereco company in Russia, Sergei Norvaysha, the first vice-president of the DVI Group, Evgeny Emelianov, the president of the STEP Group.


Maxim Gnezdilov was the first to perform in the meeting. His company "Slav-Com" on the start made only small construction works, but after a while they took part in a big “Da Vinci” project in Odintsovo. That work became the starting point for the company development. They started to participate in public and commercial tenders and won a lot of them. Today "Slav-Com» is acting as a general contractor for other Moscow companies. The lack of a future strategy is the main obstacle on the business growth, Maxim believes. Should they remain universal or concentrate on one niche, or probably start to work in the neighboring regions?


The experts’ advice for Maxim was to begin building a personal strategy. What is expected to be in his personal future, in 20 years, for example? Does he see himself as a head of a construction company? Is it a one-person business or some kind of joint ownership? Can the construction become one of many other businesses? Will there be investments in other projects? Does Maxim see his company as local or transnational? Depending on the chosen personal path of the entrepreneur, the company's development strategy will get clear. Among the other given advices there were: working with promotion on the Internet, attracting human and financial resources in the regions, using external resources as renting equipment and targeting different client groups, so as not to depend on market fluctuations and changing conditions.


The second presentation was about a less fundamental but more exotic business - the selling the fruit through the Internet. Natalia Batyr, the founder of the "Juicy Fruit" project, started her business being despaired.  She could not find a job in Moscow, and the money she had was coming to an end. It was vital to find the source of income. As it usually happens, the survival skills, the human connections and the need have put together. One of the friends was engaged in the delivery of tropical fruits. He was chosen as the supplier for Natalia. City delivery is also carried out by outsourcing companies. Company business processes are packaging, advertising and selling. The company staff is a promoter and a manager, they are engaged in promotion in social networks and internet. Natalia is responsible for communication with clients and buying fruit. A data base of 200 clients has been established in 10 months, and it continues to grow. Natalia dreams about business automation and delegating some of her authorities - "I can’t even leave for vacation"- she says. There were some attempts to transfer the authorities to the manager, but the quality of the products, service and sales dropped down immediately. So Natalia had to go back and take it on again. The inability to leave business for a short time, seasonality, instability of sales are the main problems of the speaker.


Experts noted that Natalia is now at the very beginning of her journey and the main point is to develop business and increase sales channels. For example, one of the experts proposed to find a network of gas stations and sell small fruit sets "for children" there. Probably Natalia can become a partner of food delivery services or move forward with a franchise. Some of the experts noted the low potential for this business development and suggested to look for success in another business with a more capacious market niche.


As usual, the allotted time was not enough for discussing the emerged ideas. The main thing is that each of the speakers noted that participation in the “Business Rakes Club” meeting was extremely useful. A lot of thoughts and ideas are needed to be absorbed and accumulated.


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