The European commission profiled our CEO Neb on their official “Promoting Enterprise” blog and in a printed brochure titled “Secret of Success.” He shares company with a number of European entrepreneurs, which were selected as representatives of their countries.
The Secret of Success brochure is printed every year as part of SME week, an initiative to promote entrepreneurship in Europe.
The profile is short and concise, intended to present MikroElektronika to a first-time audience. However when we were asked to participate a few months ago, Neb answered a dozen other questions. Here we present some of the answers, which you might find interesting if you’re working on building your own business.
On to Neb.
Why did you set up your company?
I couldn’t find a company I would love working in. If today’s MikroElektronika existed then, I would’ve never considered starting my own.
How long did it take you to set up your business?
About a month just to get the papers right to officially start the company (these days it takes just a few hours), but it took about 5 years to really start thriving.
With hindsight, which would have been the most valuable knowledge base or skill set to have had before setting up your business?
You have to have the necessary skills relevant to the domain of your business. But more importantly, you have to possess sheer strength. A company depends on strength more than on skills. You have to endure a lot in order to start, grow and maintain a business. I ate and slept if and when I found the time.
Would you have started a business had the internet and digital technology not existed?
Electronics companies existed before the Internet. For my specific field, it could be done but it would’ve have been extremely difficult. It’s way simpler today. I would say that nowadays, starting and growing a business takes just 5 percent of the effort required before the web and digital technologies were available.
Where did you get funding to set up your business (family/bank/venture capital/crowd funding)?
There wasn’t any funding. I managed to save up 180 Deutsche marks (it was before the euro) and came to Belgrade. Then I started an electronics magazine by making a deal with the printers and advertisers. Printers agreed to charge their services after I get paid by the advertisers, because advertisers agreed to pay for their ads only after I showed them the printed issue.
What are the three main barriers to its growth (if any?))
One is bad organization. If you’re not organized you won’t accomplish anything. Second, people who lack ambition, people who don’t want to earn more, or apply themselves towards realizing their dreams. Just these two, there’s no third barrier.
If you could go back in time to when you were just about to start your company and tell yourself something useful, what would it be?
It’ll be much harder than you imagine, but at the same time much more beautiful.