Sergey Opanasenko, co-founder of Greenice tells us how they help entrepreneurs bring their ideas to life with their deep technical knowledge.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Sergey Opanasenko: Thankfully, the pandemic didn’t have such a dramatic effect on my family, as many others have experienced. We had to make some adjustments to working from home and taking care of our young son, but we got the hang of it rather fast.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Greenice.
Sergey Opanasenko: Both my business partner and I started as freelance developers back in 2007. During the first year of our work, we managed to get a big client that required more work than the two of us could handle. That is when we started building a team. Now we are a team of 35 employees and continue to grow.
How does Greenice innovate?
Sergey Opanasenko: It is important for us to grow not only in the size of our team but, most importantly, in the level of our professionalism. Innovation is a big part of our progress both as individuals and as a team, and here are the main ways we innovate:
- Using the latest technologies
- Developing tools that improve our work
- Optimizing work processes
We are always monitoring the latest trends and technologies in web development and see how we can apply them to the benefit of our clients. We also know that there is room for improvement in everything we do, so we are constantly inventing tools that help us with daily work. A good example of this is an internal app for sales that parses other sites for job opportunities and notifies the sales department as soon as the relevant opportunity emerges.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Sergey Opanasenko: When the pandemic crisis first started in spring 2020, our business got hit pretty hard. We lost a number of important clients. Some of them put their development projects on hold, and others had to completely discontinue. It was also very difficult to get new clients since, at that time, hardly anyone wanted to start undertaking new software development projects. Although the situation was tough, we did our best to keep the team. Many teammates showed great loyalty, and even some of our clients were willing to help out in these rough times.
We had to pause our marketing plans and concentrate on getting new clients as fast as we could. It took us around six months to overcome this crisis and establish the new normal. We became stronger, smarter, and more resilient thanks to it. Now we are growing again and at a faster pace than before.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Sergey Opanasenko: I’d say that the biggest lesson of 2020 is to be patient. Although the crises hit our business and we had to put our growth plans on hold, we still managed to get to the other side with minimal losses. I do realize that we are among the lucky ones because we are in the technology sector, which wasn’t affected that much.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Sergey Opanasenko: We use a lot of tools to facilitate our remote work and make it as secure as possible both for our clients and us. When it comes to protecting sensitive data, we use a VPN for the entire team and a password manager (Passbolt). The password manager can be accessed only under the company’s VPN to keep things extra secure.
As for the team collaboration, the number one tool for us is a team messenger, and at the moment, we use Fleep. We have all sorts of chat-groups there, divided by projects, work responsibilities, and even personal interests (like reading or cats) to maintain real human relationships with each other. In addition to this, we manage our projects in Trello and Asana, which helps us to collaborate with each other and ensure the participation of our clients.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Sergey Opanasenko: Our direct competitors are all web development companies that specialize in off-shore and near-shore outsourcing. Since we work with clients from all over the world, our competitors are also scattered around the globe. The market is saturated, and there is competition for both clients and talents, but we are determined to continue fighting and growing our market share. The way to achieve this for us is by adding more value to our services and finding better and more effective ways to market them.
Your final thoughts?
Sergey Opanasenko: Although COVID-19 is a terrible thing to happen to humanity, in hindsight, it still possible to see something good about it. The good that I see in this situation is that it forced us to find ways to solve complex problems, be resourceful and creative, thus making us grow both personally and professionally.