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Telekom Business – How we became entrepreneurs

In 2020, we’ve introduced more of those companies, which have managed to outshine their competitive partners in their very own field, by simply just building the brand itself with outstanding awareness, meanwhile not forgetting who themselves are, and what they really want. We were curious, what guided them in the early times, and with the years passing by, what are the enriching conclusions.

Timi Vas, Don’t Panic: We are not willing to decrease the advertising and marketing budget

The story of the English Language School, “Don’t Panic”, was brought to the readers last February on our page, Hello Business, which had many useful tips and tricks for other business owners as well. The company started off as an online language school, afterwards combining their operations with the traditional methods of offline language schooling systems, and today, working in a franchise-system, their operations have extended to another 10 locations in Hungary. The company is on the verge of growth, as most recently they’ve partnered up with an investor.The company was established by Tímea Vas and her husband Balázs Szedmák in 2014, and Timi is kindly sharing how all their journey started.

Where and how did you come up with the idea of a language school?

Timi Vas: I was only 25 and living in Oxford when I met Balázs. In 2013, Straight after meeting him, we decided to move to Auckland, NZ, with a Working Holiday Visa. I remember, it was January, we were sitting in Albert Park downtown, eating the 5$ Pizza, having only 69 cents on our bank account. We liked that period of our life, but we wanted something more, and planned more further: “Let’s set up a company, where we don’t have to give up our travel passion, whilst staying the bosses ourselves. By that time, I had a lot of language teaching experience. I was teaching expat students at the University in Auckland and also developing my own teaching methods, by knowing all the trends abroad. “Ok, then let’s do an online business” – we have come to the decision.

We arrived back home in the summertime, and by the end of the year, the foundations of the company were established; and by January 2015, we went live. Neither we had a business consultant, nor an investor. I just basically knew what defects characterized language teaching in our country and also, in the native English countries. I put together more than 100 hours of educational material, and by today, dozens of teachers’ work are included in our very own teaching methods and syllabus.

What was the most desperate moment in the life of the company?

We’ve reached absolute stability by January 2019, but until then, we have dealt with many unstable ones. For instance, just in the beginning of 2015, it wasn’t easy spending our last $450 on Google Ads courses and Facebook Adverts. But it was all worth it. Our philosophy is still to invest our income in development and marketing. Marketing budgets must never be cut.

What would you do differently?

Nothing. If I’d known ahead, what phases were coming up, meaning physically and mentally tough times in the life of Don’ Panic English, I’d still do it.

Judging by your own experience, do you have any advice for newly formed companies?

  1. It’s crucial to build your own brand. Build one, that either you, or a known person is going to be the face of. The goal is to associate it with a person, otherwise the public can not build a connection with your company.
  2. Invest wisely in marketing, as much as you can, and get to know the many different types of advertising tools.
  3. It took us 4-5 years to find the perfect team that we can work effectively with today, no matter how tiring the process was. Therefore, if you have a team, it is inevitable to obtain some HR skills. In the same way, don’t be afraid to fire people, it won’t matter how much you believe in a person, or hope for one to change and get better, if the work is not efficient, you need to let them go.

Our team translated the interview into English. The original interview can be found here: hellobiznisz.hu

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