Faith in your own ability can take you far

Linnan Sähkö ja Tarvike is a Savonlinna-based company providing electrical works and related services and selling electrical accessories. While the customer base has expanded enormously, finding competent staff has proved challenging.

Hiring the first employee for Linnan Sähkö ja Tarvike was a fine moment for CEO Petri Korhonen.

“It felt like taking the first major step. Even though I was also a bit worried what would happen if we never got any orders for installation work,” he reminisces.

Petri always had strong faith in his own plans, so he was never struck by panic. He is very happy with his success in finding his niche in the market and getting work orders. He also says the company’s performance has driven a continuous increase in both recognition and customer trust.

Linnan Sähkö ja Tarvike offers a wide variety of services, from industrial electrical work to inspections, and from air source heat pumps to electrical safety training, so recruitment has been a hurdle to growth. Competent professionals, especially those with multiple skills, are in short supply.

You need to know how to share the load

Petri reminds all entrepreneurs considering recruitment that employees are a company’s most visible business card. The employee’s background, actions, and behaviour therefore play a huge role. The CEO believes it is best to start by hiring people one knows, to ensure that they are trustworthy and possess the necessary social skills.

Employees are also needed to take some of the load off the entrepreneur. Petri remembers how everything was new and exciting when he was starting out, and he felt full of energy 24/7. For the first two or three years, he nearly worked around the clock.

“There’s not a person alive who could carry on like that. You have to start thinking more about coping and continuity. For example, I like to take my mind off work by spending time with my kids, or on hobbies like music and building a car.”

Having a realistic business plan and sharing responsibility among a management team of three people have also helped to take some stress off the CEO.

Learning new things every day

The local Enterprise Agency for the Savonlinna region helped Linnan Sähkö ja Tarvike get started. From the outset, business advisor Juhani Rouvinen found Petri proactive and motivated to succeed. When the original idea to purchase the operations of an existing company did not prove viable, starting a new business emerged as the best option.

“The company’s clearest strengths were the entrepreneur’s expertise in the field, and his determined approach to starting and developing the business”, Juhani says.

Now in its third year, the company employs ten people, and new development ideas are still constantly popping up. Juhani describes Petri’s style as determined and eager to grow.

Petri finds it amusing to look back on his original business plan now. Everything has worked out great, but there have also been surprises along the way. For example, he was stunned by the increase in administrative tasks as the company grew.

“It feels like I learn something new about running my company and being an entrepreneur almost every day.”