CEOs UFuture, Biopharma, Nova Poshta and Rozetka talk about how to do business in turbulent times

On June 17, 2021, a meeting of representatives of the manufacturing sector of Ukraine — the second Forum of Innovative Industries — took place in the Bila Tserkva Industrial Park, the majority shareholder of which is the holding company UFuture. The event was organized by the Kyiv International Economic Forum. In the panel “New business strategies in the new economy” top Ukrainian entrepreneurs discussed how the business environment in the world is changing, what has changed with the coming to power of the new government in Ukraine, and why it is too early to part with traditional business tools — planning and strategy.

The speakers of the thematic discussion were:

  • The founder of the holding company UFuture Vasyl Khmelnytsky.
  • President of the pharmaceutical company Biopharma Kostiantyn Yefymenko.
  • Founder and co-owner of Rozetka Vladyslav Chechotkin.
  • Co-owner of Nova Poshta Vyacheslav Klimov.

About entrepreneurial talent

“I am clearly convinced that entrepreneurs are not born. They learn this. If a person also has talent, he will rise to success faster, but nothing will happen without training. Entrepreneurship is a science,” said Vasyl Khmelnytsky, founder of the UFuture holding company.

Small entrepreneurs, he explains, often do not want to learn. They ask for money but have no desire to study. In fact, there is enough money in the world, you just need to know how to get it, the speaker continues. Small business is more likely to become medium if it learns. The “learn and implement” threshold is very important.

About strategy

The moderator of the discussion, Andriy Dligach, CEO of the Advanter Group, asked the top entrepreneurs if they continue to develop strategies for their business, given the rapidly changing world.

“Today, the world is going through the most turbulent times, and in such conditions, a clearly defined strategy is more important than ever. Every day we receive disturbing news, every day something changes. The formulated strategy brought to the maximum number of employees — is a beacon. The more turbulent the environment becomes, the better we treat the strategy process,” said Nova Poshta co-owner Vyacheslav Klimov.

Panelists confirmed that they have strategies for 1-3-5 years, and are also trying to plan for 7-10 years ahead. The main drivers of strategy development should be the owners of the company, not the involvement of external experts, they added.

“The strategy answers the question: what to do and what not to do. And the last question is no less important than the first. In your youth, it seems to you that there are a lot of opportunities around: you grabbed one, the other, threw, started again. Or grabbed everything at once. Once upon a time, when we were beginners, we had a new strategy every day. And this is a completely losing option: you are constantly putting out fires,” added Vladyslav Chechotkin, the founder and co-owner of Rozetka.

About the government

After the Revolution of Dignity, entrepreneurs acknowledged, the business became easier to operate.

“We calmly receive VAT, we are not stifled by inspections. At the same time, there are two completely private sub-sectors in Ukrainian medicine, where the state is completely absent, and which today are estimated at billions and have world recognition — dentistry and IVF clinics. I assure you that Kyiv dental clinics are better than in America. They have better equipment, they do better operations, they are more affordable and cheaper,” said Kostiantyn Yefymenko, President of Biopharma.

In his opinion, the winning strategy for the state would be to leave several sectors of the economy, such as research institutes, and transfer them to universities. By focusing on several priority areas, the country could achieve significant success.

About the new reality

“One of the signs of the new reality is that business competition is not so much about products or technologies as new business models. Until recently, could restaurants have imagined that they would be threatened by the emergence of IT platforms?” said the co-owner of "Nova Poshta" Vyacheslav Klimov.

At the same time, the speakers agreed that the changes are not being implemented as quickly as expected, and most of the futuristic predictions have been exaggerated.

When I read Yuval Noah Harari's book "21 lessons for the 21st century", I was scared: unmanned cars, factories, and restaurants without people. It was constantly said: "soon", "soon", "it's coming soon". And I ask: "soon" — when? I read this a few years ago. Have you seen drones here somewhere? Apparently, "soon" is in 20-30 years. The danger, of course, is there and we must prepare for it. But it is not as fast as everyone thought,” Vasyl Khmelnytskyi emphasized.

New challenges create new opportunities. Thus, today the world produces three types of vaccines against coronavirus: based on template RNA, adenoviral vector, and nanotubes. All these technologies have been known to the world for about 30 years. But no company has sold a single vaccine using these technologies until 2020-2021, said Konstantin Efimenko of Biopharma. All this suggests that great challenges create great opportunities. The same template RNA technology is the future of vaccination against malignant neoplasms, one of the ways to overcome cancer.

Farewell word

Paranoid cravings and the desire to move forward can do a lot, said the founder and co-owner of Rozetka Vladyslav Chechotkin. You relax very quickly if you decide that you are the best in the segment or “the richest on the floor”. But which of those presents is satisfactory?

You need to get up, not be lazy, go to your customer and find out why he does not buy your product. You don’t need to listen to anyone, you don’t need to hire a hundred advisers — you just need to take and do, added Kostiantyn Yefymenko.

The main thing is not to set a goal to be 17th in your market, says Vyacheslav Klimov from Nova Poshta. It is necessary to set a goal to be the first, the maximum — the second. When you are a leader, you get everything.

“Confidence is 90% of success. There is no one in the world who thinks about how to make you successful and rich. Only you can do that. Everything is in your hands. And our task is to share your experience and your mistakes so that you do not make them. And they succeeded themselves. And, believe me, we will all be happy about it,” Vasyl Khmelnytskyi concluded.