Filip Daineka, CEO at Flatlogic tells us about web and mobile applications.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Filip Daineka: Thanks for the question! Everything is fine, luckily, no one from my family was affected seriously by COVID – only light symptoms without serious complications.
In general, I am a bit tired of not being able to travel and visit friends and clients in other countries and do the usual lifestyle we were so used to in the pre-COVID times. COVID-19 times give a good opportunity to understand how valuable simple things like physical handshakes are.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Flatlogic.
In 2012 I had quite a romantic life view and wanted to create some app that will generate a passive income for me. I even wrote a blog post on why I leave my programmer job.
I learned about ThemeForest and the templates market in general and decided to create my own admin dashboard template – it seemed to me it was not that hard to create a bootstrap one and have it generate $1,000-$3,000 per month as revenue. I spent around 4 months building and designing the template and in June 2013 it was eventually published. The template was called Light Blue and I was maintaining and improving it for two years. By the way, it is still available and is generating revenue. I also was constantly contacted by some companies and individuals to develop software for them. For some time it was a freelance and I worked as a self-employed, but then I decided to expand. This is how Flatlogic was born.
In 2015 Flatlogic was officially registered as a legal entity and we started to hire people in Minsk and Vilnius. Since then we grew to 30 people generating $1M total annual revenue including both product sales and services.
How does Flatlogic innovate?
Filip Daineka: It seems that we were naturally following all the modern practices like remote work, agile, etc even in the pre-Covid times, so it was quite easy for us to adjust. Most of our team members are working remotely, moreover, we hire not only from Belarus but also from the Czech Republic, Poland, Ukraine, and Lithuania.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Filip Daineka: I do not have quite enough data to state that there is a correlation between COVID and our finances, but our revenue grew almost 2 times in 2020. I believe this is not because of COVID, but because of our team’s efforts.
However, I think COVID moved everything to online, so many online businesses were prospering generating record-high revenues.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources and what are the lessons learned?
Filip Daineka: Fortunately no. I was happy enough to be able to keep all our employees and even improve our relations. In general, my rule is to be always transparent in any relationship, including a professional one, to avoid misunderstanding and unmet expectations. I never criticize people in general and consider this a bad management style. The feedback can only be given to the person’s action, not to the person themselves.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Filip Daineka: We have not met physically with any of our clients since February 2020 😉 So we are using zoom and google meet to have daily calls with our customers and clients. It is not unusual for us, since from the beginning our company was international and globally oriented.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Filip Daineka: Nope, quite the opposite actually. We are based in Belarus and there was no financial government support at all – taxes for employees of IT companies were even raised by our government. It is connected to the recent political crisis in our country.
Your final thoughts?
Filip Daineka: I think there are two ingredients to success: consciously build relations with people and play long by iteratively doing boring things.