Business from a scratch: own experience

March 16, 2020 8:31 pm

Olena Kobylyanska, founder of the Unicorn Solutions & Consulting consulting agency, MBA alumnus of  Edinburgh Business School.

A year ago, I founded my company. It was a logical step, because I always liked to develop and guide teams and achieve striking results together.

I had been confident about my own abilities, and besides, I met a foreign team of developers, with whom I began to create the site. In fact, uniting a team was easy, because in my environment there are a lot of professional and interesting people. When I shared my ideas of starting own business, I received support and people eager to work with me.

I recently participated in Accelerator SELab as an expert. There I met people who intended to launch their own projects. Of course, they all understood the risks. It is interesting that some are very self-confident and believe in success, others doubt it. However, no one quits his or her idea. Over time, while they gain certain knowledge, get methodologies and advice, their faith only grows.

A year has passed and now I know what entrepreneurs should do:

Belief in own idea

It is not necessary to have years of practice in corporate business, university diplomas and certificates, but you can’t do without faith in your idea! It is better when one has motivation to work not because of money, but it is always more effective to be passionate about own idea. 

Find like-minded people

Even if a person starts a business and plans to expand later, at the start he or she cannot do without minimal support. Therefore, it is important to immediately gather your dream team.

Be literate

When you start from scratch, excitement and doubt can break. The signs of uncertainty are usually intersected with insufficient knowledge. Therefore, it is important to take part in training programs, seek the advice of experts, and find a mentor. Knowledge helps predict and mitigate risks, and certain tools help control bottlenecks. Thus, it will be easier to solve problematic issues, because literacy is the key to conscious business management.

Be patient

My company is still very young, and now it is difficult to determine the future levels of its success. I am a lot of perfectionist, very demanding of myself and, of course, I want to get the highest results possible. But all beginners should realize that there can be no quick victory. The recipe is to work, work and work again. The services of our consulting agency (I mean the solutions that we develop and implement) are effective assistance to business. But the client must be confident in me and in the quality of work in order to contact us.

I’ve never been worried about brand development before, but now I have to. We understand that success will not come quickly. My activity with seminars and workshops on various platforms; sharing the experience, cases, knowledge and  methodologies in the regions, mentoring are only the first steps in the development of trust.

Develop

We live in a time when information is becoming outdated very quickly. To stay in place, you must run twice as fast. I wish everyone to have or develop a habit of acquiring new knowledge. The decision to get an MBA education at Edinburgh Business School came when I worked at a bank, when I managed the legal department, and had not yet planned to create my own business. I wanted to break the stereotype of a glass ceiling for a lawyer. MBA-education helped to gain leadership skills, a deeper understanding of finance, marketing, strategic planning and more. There was no doubt about the use of new knowledge in practice. Experience gained from business school materials gave me the motivation and the necessary knowledge to decide to accept new challenges.

MBA education is a good base to move on. While studying at Edinburgh Business School, I received an interesting offer to take a high position in an international IT company. When the project was completed, I easily decided to go further by myself. Of course, I now have more self-confidence.

Be prepared for new challenges

Building your own business is challenging. You constantly require to get new skills. For example, now I’m learning to work with marketing, because I have to actively develop our brand. I believe that the goal should be ambitious. I believe in our success – only prosperity is ahead.

Get personal experience

My first higher education is a biologist. I started working while studying at the Department of Genetics. Over the course of my life, my spheres of activity have changed dramatically several times, I received new education. The last 15 years I spent in large corporations. These were mainly banks, as well as an international IT company. I was on the high positions: Head of Legal Department, Deputy Financial Director, Vice President for International Operations. That was a big responsibility and big goals.

More than two years ago, I quit my job at an IT company and took a time out. By that time I was skilled professional without the skill to relax. At that time I received many interesting offers and, although it was scary, but I did not accept them.

After a year of traveling and enjoying my hobbies, I regained my life balance. I had everything to create my own business: enough knowledge, good expertise in certain areas, wonderful people who are professionals in their field. Since I have led teams for many years, I knew how to motivate and inspire. In addition, I had my own idea of ​​the values ​​and culture of the future company. And the last argument was digitalization. While traveling a lot, I realized that I needed freedom. I like to be dependent on interesting projects and tasks, but I do not want to stick to one place.

So I launched my own company. Our three key offers: 1) creation of business models and audit of business processes (mapping, KPI, value chain, inputs and outputs) 2) financial modeling and dashboards; 3) staff development.

Of course, a lot of analytical work has been done during this year. We develop and implement solutions that help companies lead their business to prosperity. Getting positive feedback from customers is both pleasant and valuable. In the future, we want to have many large customers who do not even know about us yet. Our projects prove our high expertise, and the team consists of excellent specialists. Customer satisfaction comes first.

The aim of our business is also to change the attitude to consulting in Ukraine. I hope that in the near future Ukrainian companies will realize how much they depend on quality counseling. So far, in Ukraine there is a distrust of business consulting. When our company becomes larger, I would like to have impact and to change the perception.