About gratitude, fun at work and a great team. Three years ago today, guideIT celebrated its premiere. Managing directors Bastian Bludau and Niko Hagenkamp talk about the beginnings of their young company and how it coped in pandemic times.
Let’s start with the beginning of the story: How did it all begin exactly three years ago today?
Bastian: Three years ago today, guideIT GmbH was entered in the commercial register. So we can proudly say that 2019-01-28 is the official founding date of guideIT.
However, the actual work already took place in the previous year. Niko and I spent countless evenings planning, building the portfolio and creating the website. To put the full focus on the foundation, we even flew together on a short vacation. Looking back, it helped us a lot to prepare for our partnership and launch in the best possible way.
Niko: First of all, I have to mention that Bastian was already self-employed long before guideIT. I myself joined the ranks of freelancers just before we started our business. In our heads, we had long since worked out a ready-made path: Over the next 6-12 months, we would take a look at whether a joint foundation made any sense at all. What can I say – after a good three months we were sitting at the notary’s office. So it went faster than originally thought. But for us it was just the right time!
Are there any original experiences that you like to remember? In this regard, describe your most memorable moments in your self-employment to date.
Bastian: I like to think back to the beginnings. We have already invested a lot of time and energy in the foundation at the end of 2018. The first steps into the new office, the first employees and the first customer visits were all the more enjoyable and exciting. It was nice to see the intensive planning come to fruition.
Niko: A start-up is a bit like learning to walk. First you look forward to standing, then to the first step and finally to the first run. In the end, you run and that’s how it was for us in the end. True, sometimes the steps were a bit too fast and we stumbled – but never fell! In this respect, it was always very nice to observe the further development of Bastian and our employees as well as ourselves.
What particular challenges have there been in the last three years – especially with regard to the pandemic?
Bastian: Of course there have been some challenges in the last three years. But by far the biggest one was certainly that we had to deal with an exceptional situation for two of the three years. Operating under pandemic conditions after just the first year on the market was and is not easy for a young company. However, we have used this time to continuously improve our processes and reflect on both ourselves and our work. This helped us a great deal to act quickly and correctly and ultimately steer us well through the pandemic.
Niko: Just imagine: Barely a year on the market, a pandemic suddenly hits and from one day to the next, 80% of the employees were completely without a job. From then on, finding a common path again with new as well as old contacts, customers and partners was the biggest challenge for me.
With regard to the pandemic, you look back on the last three years in an extremely positive light. In such crazy times, is there anything you are most thankful for in your business?
Bastian: For many things, of course, but especially for the commitment of all employees! Without the great ideas, the many implementations and also many demands, we would not be the company we are today. But it’s more than that: Niko and I have also grown as people and personalities at guideIT. Every day we have great conversations, tasks and also challenges to face. We grow from this every day – and we are not yet at the end of the road.
Niko: I think the way we work together is particularly worth mentioning. There are many different characters here with different interests. In the end, despite the many differences, everyone works towards one goal and realizes that we can all achieve much more together. And that both professionally and privately.
What do you want to achieve together professionally? Why don’t you tell us about the goals you have set for your company in the future?
Bastian: On the one hand, we would like to develop further. We would like to become more efficient in some areas and pursue our strategy for the next few years. On the other hand, this in turn is associated with growth, both on the employee and customer side. This means that we must continue to work on these goals every day. We are aware of this, but also ready to put it into practice every day! We are happy about everyone who accompanies us on this journey.
Niko: Following on from what Bastian said, I would like to emphasize that we don’t just want to develop economically. Rather, at guideIT we also want to preserve and develop culturally. I think we have a very good workforce together and the way we work, live, break and laugh is something we need to keep.