“Dear Jan

Well, Ukraine and Russia. I think Ukraine badly needs Russia. I think the economy in Ukraine without the Russian companies and investments would be in total chaos and probably be even more corrupt than it is now (please do not have the EU transfer € 11 billion to Ukraine because this money will go directly into the pockets of the individual government officials, as is common in almost the whole of Eastern Europe). Besides, we have an office in Donetsk and because of all this political wheeling and dealing, we face big challenges. The Ukrainian Hrivna dropped from 7 to 18 (for 1 euro).

A remark about your vision of Russians being greedy, ill-mannered and a little respectful. By generalizing you do a lot of people wrong. And I think you cannot see and hear the difference between Russians, Bulgarians, Belarusians, Lithuanians, Uzbeks, Kazakhstanis, Georgians, Uzbeks, Poles, Moldovans, Czechs, Slovaks, and so on. And they ruin the real estate market in Monaco and London? So for Western speculators, hedge funds and Arabs, this is all right but for presumed Russians, it’s not? Isn’t this the law of supply and demand, the free market economy? And what is the problem with the beautiful young ladies on their side? Jealousy, Calvinism?

Enough about our East European neighbors and time for something completely different. We are growing. We grow suddenly very, very hard. We currently have the potential to grow from a turnover of 40 million to 60 million. Which by the way is not possible I think. What I see is that crisis management, downsizing a company and adjusting to decreasing demand, is actually much easier than managing a huge growth.

When downsizing we mainly had to focus on the divestment of assets and releasing the redundant staff. It mainly came down to good math and making (emotionally difficult) decisions. The only real challenge at that time was to maintain sales. This was obviously a huge challenge.

However, we now have a lot more challenges. Financing our growth is one of them. When we grow with 1,000 temporary workers we need about two million in additional funding. Our bankers in Eastern Europe (ING and Raiffeisen – Tatra Banka) are otherwise very constructive partners for us and nothing but praise for their active attitude.

Solving the funding is still the easiest. Keeping pace with the growth in respect of all administrative processes, increasing the output, reducing of errors, correcting all the mistakes and making improvements: I find this extremely difficult. Especially since we are structurally understaffed due to the expansion. The current team is faced with learning new skills, having to work very hard and training new colleagues. At this time, we solve this by working very reactive, intense mutual communication and as I call it ‘management by client’. Based on feedback from customers and our temporary staff, we adjust our services. In addition, anyone who has direct contact with our customers and temporary staff is authorized to make decisions about almost everything on the spot. That makes for satisfied customers and temporary employees. To be continued!



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