And I realize more and more that, despite all the awards,the increase in revenue, and the expansion of our operations to the world, I almost proud of the whole Enehano team. It is a bunch of really great people that I can totally rely on, which was more than confirmed when I was in the USA for 3 months this year to work with Zuzka Maderova to start running the US branch.
At the same time, I also missed everyone very much. Just across the ocean, I realized that this great bunch is the best for me personally and I look forward to enjoying the weekend teambuilding together in the Giant Mountains in September.
What do customers think?
It's not only enough that you feel good and like going to work. Customers also feel the atmosphere and corporate culture. I always wonder why clients choose us and I often talk to them about their process. To sum it up, they most often mention the following four points:
• Flexibility and trust - first and fore most is our customers satisfaction, which may sound like a cliché, but it is certainly not easy. Because this is extremely important to us, we sometimes turn the rudder and really stop selling so our delivery team can deliver projects to our existing customers first.
• Straight forward Communication - we talk to potential customers openly from the first contact. For example, if the scope of the project is not clear, we try to explain why we cannot give a fixed time/fixed price offer. Likewise, we do the same when we cannot openly revealour estimates of labor and instead walk through the process with customers and explain where we perceive the greatest risks of the project from our experience.
• Problem solving - our goal is not just to deliver a CRM project, but to ensure that the entire solution delivers what is expected from the customer, whether the goal is to optimize customer service costs, increase effectviness of the cross-sell/up-sell business team, or implement efficient and real-time business management. Accordingly, we prepare the properset-up project together.
I firmly believe that all of this feedback would not have been possible without the people who made Enehano what it is.
While these values have been part of our foudnation practically from the beginning and have not changed, many other things have changed during the third year of our existence. Comparing a few numbers speaks for itself:
• We were just 17 people.
• Revenue for 2017 was about $500,000 USD.
• We had many customers not only from the Czech Republic, but also our first foreign clients.
• However, for several months in a row, we thought we were generating a profit and acted accordingly. Unfortunately, our decisions were based on bad data in Excel and the accounting system, so we took a loss in the middle of 2018.
For comparison, here are a few numbers from July 2019
• We are now over 40 (235% increase).
• The revenue for 2018 was over $1.2 million USD (anincrease of 248%).
• We currently have customers in the Czech Republic,Slovakia, Germany, Israel and the USA.
• We managed to stabilize the whole company financially, which I consider to be the greatest success of all.
Evenon just the numbers themselves, it is clear to me that,in our third year, we reall experienceda lot. So what did we actually do?
• We won CRM implementation in ČSOB pojišťovna - currently the largest ongoing implementation of Salesforce in the Czech Republic. At the same time, these companies chose us as a marketing, service and business automation partner: Zonky (P2P loandisruptor), Kiwi.com (worldwide ticketseller), Carvago.com (European used carbuying platform) and a number of smaller-but-upcoming startups/disruptors.
• We worked on educating our own team and sent colleagues for the first time to Dreamforce, the largest Salesforce conference in the world.
• We have become a Salesforce Gold Partner. For our clients, this primarily means verifying that we have a large and certified team, that we have positive reviews of our work from customers, and that we have delivered a large number of projects. This was the only way to get this title. Last year, we were also awarded as Salesforce Rising Star FY19.
• We pulled out our corporate benefits and added, for example, the Tesla Model X. One of our consultants also relocated to the US for part of the year for the very first time.
• We joined in on market education and became a Platinum partner of the Salesforce Basecamp 2018 conference in Prague. Most recently is participation in the organization of the Salesforce Women in Tech user group, where we want to help women in particular to excel in this area.
• We have strengthened our management team and welcomed Zuzana Maderova to the position of Expansion and Business Development Director, who immediately started working in our US expansion. Martin Kačeňák joined HO Business Consulting.
• We developed our own Leads-to-Cash solutions to automate marketing and sales for SaaS startups.
Well, for just 365 days, I’d say it's a pretty decent achievement.
Then there is one thing that I am not proud of, but it had to have happened. For me personally, the worst moment of last year was the first testimony I had to give.
It is not easy, but if you want to maintain the company culture and quality of supply, it is simply inevitable over time. If you don't do it, it's not fair to the rest of the team, who then has to make it for the others.
Enehano behind a large puddle
I intentionally did not focus on one absolutely fundamental change. This woudl be our expansion overseas, specifically to the US. In March this year, we managed to get a grant from CzechInvest and participate in the acceleration program in San Francisco by the end of June, and it was a real life experience.
We have gained a whole host of inspiration and news from Silicon Valley, attended the two largest startup events in North America, and gained a new perspective on global business and expansion. All while, again, trying to build a business from scratch.
You have been building a company in the Czech Republic for two and a half years and you are doing well. But then you come to the US and have to start again from the beginning. References and projects from Europe in the US are of no use to you, you have no friends from your university or your career history who could help and recommend you. This is the harsh reality that you will meet here.
I do believe we will succeed in the end, but it will take longer than we would like and require a lot of energy. But it is certainly avaluable experience and it has reminded me, among other things, of approaching things with more humility.
Security and automation will become increasingly important
Between 2018 and 2019, not only did Enehano change, but there were also changes in the market and among customers. Technically, we see a greater shift in IT into the cloud over the past year, whether at the HW or service level. The main reason for this is that today's PaaS or SaaS providers have grown to proportions to ensure data security and uptime much better in the cloud than through internal IT.
E.g. if Salesforce experienced some downtime, a team of dozens of experts would work on it instantly across all time zones. How many experts and how fast can you get at the weekend at 4 am in a large Czech institution? Despite all SLAs, you can't afford the same team as global players.
The role of IT is increasingly becoming a gradual transition from on-premise to the cloud and the right setup of the architecture.
The second major trend I see is, of course, the need for automation with regard to the unavailability of qualified people, both in IT and business. This is even more noticeable in so-called disruptors, who rapidly scale and people's capacities are very often the bottleneck of their growth.
From this perspective, we couldn't choose a better platform than Salesforce three years ago.
Hawaii and what's next?
At the beginning of Enehano Solutions, our goal was to help customers with the digital transformation and automation of marketing, sales and customer service while gradually building the largest Salesforce consulting firm in the Czech Republic.
But we had one more goal - 5 years after the company was founded, we would do corporate teambuilding in Hawaii, if we succeed. It is still a very ambitious goal, but I believe that with our team and customers in Enehano today, we can do it. We are moving closer to Hawaii - only two years from now!
But what then? What after the first five years?
We definitely want to be a flexible partner for our customers and help them with digital transformation, but our goal is to be agreat employer and bring our work to interesting projects. We strive for the opportunity to work not only in the Czech Republic, but also abroad and thus gain more interesting experience.
We are slowly moving our goal towards a new ambition: in the long term we would like to build a global Salesforce implementation partner from the Czech basin.
I want to thank all of ouremployees, customers and Salesforce for their trust. I appreciate it very much, and without you there would be none of us today.