“Choose goals that are difficult to achieve, but not impossible. ” With Jason Hartman & Robert Strzelecki

Choose goals that are difficult to achieve, but not impossible. It’s important to stretch yourself, but to also be realistic about your limits. I had the chance to interview Robert Strzelecki, CEO of TenderHut. TenderHut is a technological services company that includes verticals like SoftwareHut for IT outsourcing and LegalHut, legal consulting for tech companies. They […]

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Choose goals that are difficult to achieve, but not impossible. It’s important to stretch yourself, but to also be realistic about your limits.

I had the chance to interview Robert Strzelecki, CEO of TenderHut. TenderHut is a technological services company that includes verticals like SoftwareHut for IT outsourcing and LegalHut, legal consulting for tech companies. They also feature Zonifero, a comprehensive PropTech management solution, specializing in commercial real estate. Strzelecki had been COO of the company for several years before taking his current position.

Thank you for joining us! What brought you to this specific career path? What happened, exactly?

“I always had an entrepreneurial streak, but didn’t take advantage of it immediately. But after a while in the workforce, I came to one simple conclusion: I was tired of working for others. With my own work and commitment, I had developed two companies that were sold by the owners for high profit. Now, it was time to build something of my own.

Together, with a friend, we decided to develop our own business. With nothing but experience and contacts in the industry, within half a year, we started a business that began to generate real revenue. That’s precisely how TenderHut was born.”

Can you share a story in which you needed to rely upon grit to see success? Tell us a story about a time when things were hard when you first started out on your entrepreneurial journey.

“It was not always easy for my friend Waldemar and I. We had been thinking for a long time about what we really wanted to do. At first we positioned ourselves as advisers, but it turned out that we were much better at implementing good business practices than we were at convincing our clients to implement them. The time we spent in consulting was rough, and we quickly realized that we needed to pivot.

We changed the strategy and went into the programming. Although the company quickly began to generate revenue, we sometimes had to wait for our salaries — because we wanted to grow fast and maintain sound fundamentals, we invested heavily in development and allocated all free funds to new employees and the primary acquisitions.

Wanting to maintain the pace of development, we made further acquisitions of smaller IT companies. This solution allowed us to quickly acquire qualified staff, but it was an organizational nightmare …

We had to find a solution to this problem — and fast.

There’s an old adage that claims that says that necessity is the mother of invention, and it certainly was for us. This is how our flagship product, Zonifero, was born. That laid the foundation for TenderHut as it exists today.”

Where did you find the courage to keep going? Especially when things were hardest …

“My partner and friend, Waldemar Birk, was the first CEO of TenderHut, and when times were hard, I learned from him the value of facing adversity as a united front. Playing as a team makes it much easier to face whatever comes along.

Waldemar had 30 more years of experience than me — he understood this deeply. In the most difficult times, I could always count on him and the team we were building together. Today, Waldemar is no longer with us — he passed away last year — but his optimism and faith in people are always with me.”

How are things going today? How did your grit lead you to eventual success?

“The company is growing rapidly. We have an increase in revenues of 50 to 80 percent year over year. Waldemar and I went from waiting for our salaries early on to being comfortably in the driver’s seat after the first few years. Today, TenderHut is really doing well.

We still have many challenges to face, though …

Chief among them is raising capital for the development of the capital group and startups that are ready with products for the market. But given the history of overcoming we’ve gone through I feel confident TenderHut can weather the challenge.”

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting out with things? What kind of lesson did you learn from this experience?

“The chief IT specialist is the worst advisor when it comes to developing your own product, and it’s even worse when there are two of them. No IT specialist, even with the best presentations, can replace a good salesperson — we found that out quickly.

This advice is free for our industry colleagues — we already paid the price for it through our own experience! You can only miss so many chances at a goal before you go to the bench, and in this case, I simply had to bench myself.

Our flagship product, Zonifero, has come a long way, from the application that was supposed to help us with booking conference rooms to a comprehensive solution for the commercial real estate market. Along the way, we went through six iterations of the solution.

Today, we finally know what was most important in it. The history of the creation of Zonifero is a story about how not to build your own products, really.”

What do you think makes your company stand out? Could you share a story about that?

“I’ve always been lucky with the people around me. Our employees are our greatest advantage — gifted, brave and able to inspire others to act.

Employees are the most valuable resource you have, and we’ve been very fortunate to be able to recruit and keep some of the best. In this way, in just four years we have built one of the fastest growing IT companies in Europe. And we’ve done it together as a team.”

Which tips would you recommend to colleagues in your industry to help them not only see similar levels of success but avoid “burnout,” as well?

“Well, I already passed on one free piece of advice. I’m not sure how much more I want to give away [laughing].

What I can say is to recruit only those who do not spoil the atmosphere in the office. You’re going to see these people every day. You’re down in the trenches with them. You want to find people who you like to work with; people who get on well with others.

Along with that, when you are trying to build a company, think about what you can do with satisfaction, because the profits alone are not the most important element. In and of itself, money can’t buy you happiness no matter how much you make.”

None of us is able to achieve success without some kind of help along the way. Is there a specific person who helped you get to where you’re at today — somebody for whom you’re extremely grateful?

“First, I’d have to thank my dad. He’s always been a role model for me. He taught me how to run a business, beginning with small entrepreneurship ventures as a young man.

Another important character that influenced me was the aforementioned partner and friend, Waldemar Birk. Today, together with his sons, I continue the work and commitment that he put into the development of our company. I consider it his legacy. It’s an honor to be able to carry it forward. The lessons he taught me play a huge role in the success we’ve built.”

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

Simply put, we often stand at the frontline of bringing world-changing ideas into reality.

Many of our clients have an incredible vision of how to improve our world. That said, many face a shortage of technical expertise to develop their complete potential. Our success has been in providing them with extended teams of world-class developers. With dedicated support, our customers become empowered to each make their own constructive impact.

Our role in this has been a source of great pride and strength. It’s all part of building a brighter future — something we all want. Truthfully, that should be the only motivation for success.”

What are the five things you wish someone had told you before you started doing what you do today? The more detailed you can be, the more our leaders can learn from you.

“Think positive. Life is too short to be grim.

Build trust and long-lasting relationships. People matter more than money or success, and if you treat them well, you might find that both come to you anyway.

Choose goals that are difficult to achieve, but not impossible. It’s important to stretch yourself, but to also be realistic about your limits.

Try to employ people better than yourself. If I’m not learning something new from the people around me, I have the wrong people around me.

And lastly, have fun with what you do. Your job might have moments you don’t like, but if you can’t find the joy in each day, you’ll quickly burn out.”

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

“I am truly impressed with what the Gates Foundation does.

Bill and Melinda Gates have put a great deal of effort into solving the world’s major problems. They’ve set a great example for other would-be philanthropists. I would like to join them someday and change the world as mush as humanly possible for the better.”

Lastly, how can our readers best connect with you?

“I’m not incredibly active across all social media platforms, but I am a very active LinkedIn user. That is the best way to contact me, should you want to reach out.”

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