A punk start-up or a well-established business? What went well, what lessons we have learned and what did not go well at all? This year, we are taking stock of our ups and downs as we are celebrating Enehano’s fifth birthday. We talked to its founder Jirka Mach about the company’s significant milestones and future plans.
Michal Peška, Milan Bodlák, Jirka Mach
Personally, I believe that Enehano has been changing significantly every year. Looking back at the past five years, it seems almost incredible. Our first "offices" were based in my apartment in Prague and at the end of 2016, we had three employees, including me, and a turnover of CZK 400,000. Today, our offices are located at Wenceslas Square in the very centre of Prague, we employ 70 people and last year, our turnover reached CZK 66.5 million.
Numbers aside, I would say Enehano has matured. I would definitely not call us a start-up anymore. In the last two years, we have been a stable business, which reflected on the first wave of the COVID-19 crisis when our projects dropped by 25% within a single month and around 12 people did not have anything to do. Despite that, we did not have to dismiss anyone and we were able to cover the loss from our own reserves.
Nevertheless, I did not build Enehano on my own. All this time, my two great partners helped me manage the business: Milan Bodlák (CTO) and Michal Peška (CSO). Guys, what do you think about the change?
Milan Bodlák: Jirka is right, Enehano is mature. Since the very beginning, it has been typical for us to take leaps forward every year (maybe even in shorter periods of time) in all areas. Managing a larger team, using more technologies, ensuring more stable project delivery and more precise forecasting. This meant increased demands on all of us in terms of adaptation. Looking back, I see that we have faced every challenge successfully. The question was what changed, but I resonate even more with the elements that did not change. But we will get to that later on.
Michal Peška: Sometime in year 2, we finally started to do the things that were the reason why we created Enehano and now we stick only to Salesforce implementation. Constant change is typical for us at the moment. The company has been expanding by dozens of per cent, so there is no other way. We are changing processes, the organisational structure, we are strengthening what we can. However, I am glad that our focus on quality relationships and on the Enehano team has not changed.
Values on which Enehano is built. Openness, human approach, growth and joy to work. We still keep a family business culture and this is our main goal for the years to come. We do not want to expand at all costs, we want to maintain our Enehano values.
Personally, I see two main milestones.
The first one was winning the selection process for marketing campaign automation for Equa Bank. At that time, Enehano had been on the market for less than a year and Jakub Pavel (Head of Retail Banking) and Ondřej Ševeček (Head of CRM) placed immense trust in me and my experience in this area. Gentlemen, thank you again. Thanks to this achievement and especially the project that was delivered successfully, we got a great testimonial from a financial institution that opened the door to many other projects.
The second important milestone was the ČSOB Insurance project in 2018. It was a major transformation project: improving customer service and sales network management (800 sales representatives and branches all over the Czech Republic) on Salesforce. We had already delivered several projects before, including Salesforce implementation, but ČSOB Insurance was definitely the biggest project for us at that time. We beat numerous large international companies in the tender. I would like to thank ČSOB Insurance for placing their trust in us, namely Mr Michal Brothánek (CSO), Dalibor Machoň (Head of Sales Support) and Martin Procházka (IT Project Manager). This project helped us jump start our transformation into a business fully focusing on Salesforce and we started to be seen as one of the TOP Salesforce partners.
The beginnings were definitely hard – convincing first consultants to join us when we had no history and winning first clients without any reviews was not easy. However, the hardest year was 2018. We had several clients in the Czech Republic and abroad. Seemingly, we were successful and for several months, we thought that we were generating profit and acted accordingly. Unfortunately, our decisions were based on incorrect data, so we generated a loss in mid-2018. Luckily, we managed to stabilize the situation and by the end of the year, we returned to zero.
You are right, it is definitely not easy to steer such growth. In most cases, when implementing new processes, we know that they will have to be changed again in less than a year. It is very important to communicate all changes in a sensitive way to the entire team and prepare everyone’s mindset to the fact that the world and processes around them are changing and will keep changing. At the same time, we try to implement processes that are meaningful.
Currently, I would not mind a slightly slower pace 😊. For me, it is much more important to maintain Enehano atmosphere and values than growth as such. Of course, that does not mean that we will stop growing. Our plan is to reach half a billion in turnover in the next five years. However, it is a secondary goal in our priority list.
I would say that Enehano has just entered adulthood, maybe its college years. It is firmly standing on its feet, knowing what it wants and with some experience in the bag, ready to take over the world.
Three years ago, we launched an expansion in the US. Today, we focus primarily on Europe, but if I should pick just one country, it would have to be the Czech Republic. I am a patriot and it will make me very happy if we keep contributing to digitalization and automation of businesses in the Czech Republic. I hope that the state administration will follow soon.
I liked the corporate culture at Bluewolf. They were specialists, focusing on quality, professionalism and corporate values. They had more than 40 offices all over the world and used to be the biggest Salesforce implementation partner. It is a pity that they eventually sold the entire business.
To celebrate our fifth birthday, my colleagues decorated meeting rooms with old photos. You can nicely see the transformation of the company and my personal transformation as well. In 2016, when I founded Enehano, I was 30 and running on adrenaline. I would say that the same way Enehano has transformed from a punk start-up to a stable and dynamic company, I have matured as a person as well. I still have a lot of adrenaline in my blood, but I feel responsible for the entire company, respect towards clients and the trust they place in us in large projects. I am grateful for everything we have managed to build in 5 years.
Before Enehano, I worked on various IT positions, including programmer, consultant, project manager and salesman, but I had never built a company or managed a team of dozens of people. Therefore, my biggest professional challenge was to learn how to lead and motivate such a big team and maintain our values at the same time.
I don’t know if readers will believe me, but I had no regrets even for a day. It is true that the sky is not always clear and sunny. You need to solve many problems related to projects; things do not always work out as you thought they would. Nevertheless, Enehano is my passion project and in a way, it is my baby. You cannot be angry at a baby or regret having it.
I will give you a funny example. One day, I opened our internet banking and saw a message: "the payment of 12 million could not be transferred due to insufficient funds." I called a colleague responsible for payments and he said: "Oh, I have probably mixed up the variable symbol and the amount." It was a payment of CZK 4,000 to the Philippines for a text revision. Well, stuff happens 😊.
We celebrated Enehano’s fifth anniversary in Žluté lázně. The euphoria culminated even before the event itself. With Michal Peška (CSO) and Milan Bodlák (CTO), we decided to thank every Enehano team member individually through a video message. Each message was personalized, so we had the opportunity to think back at what we went through together. The celebration culminated on the day of the event. Enehano team members composed songs and poems about Enehano. And the cherry on top was a song remake composed and sung by Michal Peška and Petr Kampů as a surprise (Petr is the first consultant who joined Enehano).
And what I am looking forward to? May 2022, when the entire Enehano team will travel to a teambuilding to the US and Hawaii, where Salesforce was created.
Although I love my job, my favourite day is Friday. It is very important to maintain the right work-life balance. I do not separate the two areas strictly, but I try to work as little as possible during weekends.
A colleague once told me that Enehano reminds him of a tiger. I completely agree, the dynamics and growth are simply a part of our corporate culture.
As for me, I will be 65, so I hope I will still be healthy.
Nevertheless, I am glad that I can somehow picture Enehano’s future for the next 5 years. Our current plan is to grow to a team of 250 members, half a billion in turnover and open several offices in Europe. Given our dynamic growth, I really cannot say what happens in 30 years. I hope that I will still love going to work and meeting all the amazing people who are part of Enehano.
Thank you for interview.