Yura Lazebnikov, the Managing Partner at TECHIIA holding, told "Buduj Svoje" about diversification, development of new directions, the export of goods, and services to other countries.
Note: TECHIIA International Technology Holding creates software and IT products, manufactures premium plush souvenirs, organizes esports tournaments, and builds infrastructure.
Ukraine has all the conditions for the production of goods and services. And it's not just about IT. From food production to tailoring or footwear, online marketing services, and business process outsourcing consulting services (legal, translation, etc.). This is facilitated by the high-professional specialists, and the availability of quality raw materials, as well as the latest technologies.
But despite all the conditions, the consumer market in Ukraine is quite small. Simple math - the average Pole with a monthly income of 1,100 euros can buy more than a Ukrainian with an average salary of 450 euros. That is why Ukrainian businessmen often look for customers interested in their goods and services abroad. This is a chance to create quality products and provide professional services at a competitive price on the world market. That is why many Ukrainian companies have managed to develop and become recognizable around the world. My partner Oleg Krot and I also followed this path and expanded our markets to more than 45 countries in 14 years.
At first, it may seem that there is nothing complicated in business expansion. In the course of the development of the main business, more and more new directions are opening up that can work. But in fact, everything is like in startups, when one out of ten works out. Although, without the development of new products, goods or services, access to new markets, everything that includes the concept of "diversification", the business now can not survive.
Things You Need to Know About Diversification
Any business is created at the request of customers, and business does not exist without customers. Therefore, entrepreneurs need to play by the consumers’ rules:
1. Understand the demand
For example, we started with a network of computer centers, and immediately the team noticed customers' requests: they wanted big screens, powerful computers, and the latest software, and less contact with the administrator, ordering computer rental time to play and pay online. That's how we created Enestech, which developed solutions for automated management of computer centers and esports arenas.
Another example of when our passion for computer games and business with gaming centers expanded, we created the WePlay! Esports, an esports company. For one of the WePlay! tournaments we wanted to buy a themed merch, action figures of game characters. But no company in Ukraine, the EU or Asia could offer really good quality products. So we decided to develop our own sketches and order tailoring but even for that, there was no contractor to provide us with proper-quality goods. So we created our own production, the first batch of merch was positively received by the esports community. Now WP Merchandise! offers a licensed merch produced in Ukraine, based on the famous computer games and comics Dota2, Assassins Creed, World of Tanks, Mortal Kombat for customers from around the world. And to sell more, we have established a distribution company with warehouses in different parts of the world and sell merch not only produced by ourselves but also by other manufacturers.
2. Be as helpful as possible.
When purchasing an automated management solution from Enestech, each customer gets 24/7 support in seven languages. The customer understands that after subscribing to the product, it can call at any time and get help on setting up the product or using it, in their native language.
As for WePlay! Esports, we once decided that we want to give players from different countries the opportunity to follow the tournaments. That's why they started inviting English-speaking commentators and analysts to Ukraine to broadcast esports tournaments. As a result, tournament ratings and views have increased, and WePlay! gained access to English-speaking markets, began selling content there, and looking for advertisers.
3. If you work as a contractor, treat the customer's projects like your own
For example, if it is software development, then J:Mind Systems, which is also part of the TECHIIA holding, is not only about coding, but also about the analysis of the target audience and its needs, about how people will use this solution, and it also develop a marketing strategy, and so on. In our experience, clients appreciate this approach and even offer to become investors in their projects. And it's also a way to diversify your business.
What you need to know about exports as part of the diversification
During the 2014 crisis, two types of entrepreneurs won: either those who worked exclusively with Ukrainian raw materials or with foreign clients. The export was the thing that helped the owners of such enterprises to save jobs, hire the best specialists, and buy new equipment.
Therefore, entrepreneurs need to know several export rules:
一 Comply with the rules and laws of each country.
The product must comply with the law, labeling, certification standards, etc. If you do not do this right away, you can spend a lot of time fixing things, wasting time, and customers. For example, food can expire, clothes can go out of fashion.
一 Be flexible.
The market in each country dictates its own rules and your business must be flexible enough to take this diversity into account. Remember, customers from other countries have one thing in common, they want higher quality for less money.
一 Be faster.
Large companies are not flexible, and small ones do not have the capacity to implement projects. Therefore it is necessary to find balance. For example, our J:Mind Systems has grown from 20 to 70 employees in six months thanks to flexibility and speed.
一 Offer the best price.
For example, in the IT sector, foreign customers have a large selection of companies from Ukraine, Belarus, India, and China. All of them are ready to start working immediately but offer different prices. Ukrainians are preferred exactly because of the favorable price offer, which is also supported by hard work.
Original article on