The successful founder of tech companies joined forces with Rockaway thanks to his on-line camper van sharing platform. When he’s talking about his business, one thing is immediately clear: Campiri CEO Lukáš Janoušek…
People. Jan Galgonek mentions them often, because for him they’re not only the alpha and omega of good business, but also the best investment. And they motivate him outside work too – the founder and CEO of the recently created Mind2FLO agency group, which concentrates on expertise in media, content, technologies, and e-commerce, has a lot of drive and is capable of focusing 100 % on everyday obligations while making sure that he has the same focus on his personal life too.
One learns from one’s mistakes. What mistake taught you the most, and what, specifically?
A critical take-away from business for me is the right choice of partners and associates. In one project it didn’t quite come off, which was a huge lesson for me going forward, in other projects and companies. When I do decide to go into business with someone, I need for us to fit very well both in terms of mindset as well as personality and work, and to have the same approach to work with people and to problem-solving. It’s important to me that misunderstandings are avoided at the highest levels, which then have a negative impact on the entire company.
Now, when we’re integrating companies somewhere that have a certain shareholder structure, we always “vet” them, because it’s important to have a cultural fit with them too. Getting into something that wasn’t completely ideal was a big mistake for me. It ended up exactly as I’d expected – joint management of the company didn’t work. I now simply know that exactly to watch out for before one jumps into a similar business marriage.
How do you motivate your team when the going gets tough?
I don’t like it very much when someone panics and jumps to conclusions. When we have a project or contract deadline or a big change is occurring in the company, I try to function like a true leader and calm my people down, give them certainty, show them the way. I don’t want to be the one causing the panic. When things are on the edge and getting tense or the team needs to calm down, I try to come up with a solution and to be a stable link in the management chain.
How do you come to terms with your own success, and what keeps your feet on the ground?
I’m proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish along with my team during existing or prior projects. On the other hand, I think that I’ve got natural safety valves in my personality that don’t allow these bigger or smaller successes to go to my head and turn me into an absolute idiot (laughs). It’s probably more of a feeling of constant self-improvement, one’s imperfections, and I often struggle with my own self-confidence… And all this helps keep my feet on the ground and reminds me that it’s just one part of success and there is a lot of work and opportunity still ahead of me.
What is your most important piece of advice for new entrepreneurs and start-uppers?
Humility. Toward business as such and toward those around you, toward the competition, toward investors. Sometimes I also find that start-uppers and beginner entrepreneurs lack common sense. They’ve read lots of manuals and books about how to build a start-up, how and in what phases one invests in them, how shares should be allocated, and yet interest in and focus on the business itself takes a back seat. Perhaps I often find that beginner entrepreneurs and start-uppers lack the maturity and experience of leaders. I’ve got very good experience with people who first tried out the corporate world before jumping into their own business. I myself drew upon this experience enormously when I started my own business. It teaches you great perspective, how to arrange and organize your ideas, time management, and context within the scope of the financial management of a company or the basics of business law for doing business.
What was your best investment in life?
One makes a great change the moment one decides to start a business. So for me my first big investment was definitely that I gave up all the luxury and convenience the corporation offered me back then – a stable salary, personal development, a career path… For me, giving up all these benefits and savings also meant cutting back in my personal life too – which I don’t regret, when I started my business it was the right investment.
And also investment into people – I like investing in those who’ve been around me in business for a long time. Because of their extensive experience they’re of course enormously expensive, but they bring enormous value and experience to the company. I like to invest a large part of companies’ profits into these people, it’s a form of investment that will bring the company much greater value in the future.
What inspirational book influenced you most, and should we read it?
I don’t know if I’ll be an inspirational reader for you (laughs) because when I do have time to read, it’s a certain form of relaxation for me, and I try my hardest to avoid books that have anything to do with work. In my spare time, what I like most of all is to delve into some “psycho book” from deranged Scandinavian author. Nevertheless, recently I’ve been reading to my daughter most of all, right now it’s The Day the Crayons Quit or The Whale, the Sea and the Stars. After a hard day at work, it’s the best way to relax (laughs).
What life hack helps you most in your work?
A balance between work and personal life. I arrange every day so that I have a schedule that’s split between 100 % focus on work and time spent devoted 100 % to my family and children. I do everything I can to keep these two worlds separate and ensure nothing interferes with them.
Sport is definitely a life hack. Even when I’m completely exhausted from work or even my personal life, hockey, floorball, going to the gym, or riding my bike recharge me.
And people too. Be it in my personal or professional life, I want to surround myself with people who don’t drain me, but rather charge me, motivate me, inspire me, bring a smile to my face, who are funny and positive – both people at work and in my private life.
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