Succesful Business talked to the founder of EnWhy Group, Natalia Bredneva-Konstantinidou about finding a career path, building a business in Cyprus, and the impact of online communication on the professional services sector.
Natalia, how did your life in Cyprus begin?
I came to the island in 2003 accompanying some friends who were on a business trip and required some assistance. By that time, I had finished a language school in Moscow and spoke English well, and they needed someone to help with interpreting. Everything went well. From my first day here, I made some Cypriot friends and got immediately involved with the Cypriot life. I realised that was a place where I could try to live and work in. Initially, however, there were no plans for me to stay for a long time.
Which skills have proved to be useful to you in Cyprus, and what have you had to learn?
Back then, I was very young and didn't have any special skills. Everything interested me. My friends had left, and I stayed here alone, so I had to learn everything from scratch. The most important skill in Cyprus, whether you run a business or just live here, has been knowing the Greek language. I finished language courses, learnt quickly enough and immediately started to engage in communication. To me this seems to be one of the most important indicators of how the locals perceive you: if a foreigner talks to them in their language, there is immediate respect.
How long did it take you to learn the language?
That was pretty fast, about 18 months, tops, because I tried to use the language right away. I got a job at a real estate company and literally forced myself to communicate in Greek with partners and clients.
Could you tell us about your professional experience?
I think that many of our compatriots who came to Cyprus in the late 1990s or early 2000s had a more or less similar professional path. The first experience was usually in tourism – many went through the tourism business. The next stage, as a rule, was real estate, this had been the case for me. Afterwards, I had chosen the direction I liked. The most important thing I have learned, and still adhere to, is that Cypriot service providers of any profile, first of all, sell Cyprus as a country. A potential buyer today has a big variety of choices. Therefore, no matter what services we offer, we must first sell Cyprus, then our city of Limassol, and only then any specific services.
How does the vision of your own business differ from practice? What adjustments to your plans did you have to make last year?
For our compatriots, the main problem in doing business in Cyprus is the language barrier as well as not being familiar with the Cypriot culture and mentality. Having lived on the island for many years, I have completely absorbed the Cypriot lifestyle. It is easy for me to accompany a client and ensure that their experience in Cyprus is smooth and positive. Therefore, I wanted to offer services that would help people quickly resolve all their issues in Cyprus – both personal and business-related. And this is what happened. This was the case in tourism and then in real estate. When a person comes to buy property in Cyprus, they don’t know all the details. They see a beautiful picture, a house on the beach, a dream. It is very easy to destroy a dream, and it is very difficult to stir it all in a professional direction, to do everything for this dream to come true. Naturally, afterwards the client would be recommending you to their network.
What is your specialisation in the company? In what areas are you the best?
I am economist by specialisation. I handle everything, that is, deal with most of the work tasks myself. I have a large team, but all the decisions are mine. At the moment, the main activity of my group of companies is corporate services, company registration, and anything related to this including business plannig, opening of accounts, company relocation, support, and consulting services.
How has Cyprus changed over the past year? What new services have appeared, which have become outdated?
The main change that we all went through was the transition to working remotely. We had already been going in this direction pre-pandemic, but Covid-19 accelerated the process. This format is needed today. We had been getting ready for this; we have always admired the digital world so no one in our company has been particularly shocked by this change. Of course, the general mood affects everyone, but there have been no major changes in our business processes. We even like to work this way, and I believe that we have become faster and more efficient. We look forward to meeting clients in person again, but we already understand that we don’t stop working online as we will now combine these two formats.
What qualities should a business woman have, in your opinion? What qualities did you personally have to develop?
You need to have a lot of patience. I think for women, working in Cyprus is more difficult. Patience, love, and understanding are the main qualities that help in general, both at work and at home.
Do you love what you do?
Of course! It took me a long time to get where I am now. I think I am an expert in my field. I like helping people, giving advice, assisting to avoid mistakes that can become serious problems in the future. The corporate world is quite brutal, but it is interesting and worthy.
Would you like to wish our readers anything?
I wish everyone to never be afraid of anything and follow their dreams, and their hearts. I am sure that if fears and complexes disappear, every person can bloom into a beautiful flower. We are all different, but we are all beautiful if we follow our heart and do what we like.
ENWHY Group specialises in registration, service and support of companies
+357 25 386 767