Today, we are doing an interview with one of GoCloud.group founders and CEO, Damir Berilo.
Damir, thank you for taking time to do an interview with us, as your PR team, we know how busy you are, and we appreciate your time.
Damir: Thank you for the opportunity. I support every activity of our PR team, and I am happy that everyone can learn more about our work.
It is a pleasure to have you with us. The purpose of this interview is for your team, clients, and the public in general to get to know you, learn more about your professional path, and the strategy that helped you build a leading virtual BPO company in Southeast Europe.
Damir: Thanks for the opportunity to talk about it.
Can you tell us more about yourself?
Damir: I’m 35 years old. I am married and a father of two children. Unlike my colleagues, I do not come from the economic sector, but I have a degree in political science. That’s where I made my first professional steps. It was only through a combination of circumstances that I ended up in the BPO sector, for which I am now grateful and happy.
How did you get the idea of starting a virtual BPO company?
Damir: Like I said, it’s a mix of circumstances. After graduating in 2011, I started working for an NGO. Like any young man, I was looking for extra income. Thanks to my knowledge of the German language, I came across a virtual call center from Germany. I started working there and eventually became a team leader. During a visit to Berlin, the idea to create a similar story in BiH was born. Thus, in 2015, GoCloud.group was founded in Sarajevo. We have been building the company together for years and we currently have over 120 virtual workers in BiH and Serbia. Our main field of activity was and remains to be customer support service. However, since 2019 we have increased the portfolio of our services to digital marketing, market research, IT-Staff leasing, Web Development and Design, B2B Appointment Booking, etc.
What were the main challenges within the company that you experienced?
Damir: Each phase of growth had its obstacles. We are not bothered by the same problems now as we were in the beginning. At the beginning, the biggest challenge was finances, of course. In the next phase, when we started to grow, the challenge was organizational culture. Identifying and working in other fields of the BPO sector was the next challenge. Each challenge is special and needs to be approached individually.
There were many more personal challenges as I had to quickly grow into a new position. Within a few months, I had to leave my comfortable position as a political researcher and part time call agent and take responsibility for my employees, obligations to the state and my partners. It was very challenging.
What were the best solutions you applied to any of these challenges?
Damir: Since I have no economic education and therefore could not be guided by personal practice, I talked to people educated in that sector and they helped me. I think that may be the best answer. Don’t be stubborn and arrogant, be open to the environment and gather knowledge from wherever it comes from. Acknowledge your mistakes and try to correct them. I think this is the best solution I have practiced in solving the challenge.
What do you think of the BPO industry in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Serbia?
Damir: This is a very good question and one that is difficult to answer in only a few sentences. The BPO industry has experienced great expansion in these countries. The very fact that all major BPO companies in BiH and Serbia have experienced growth during the pandemic shows this industry’s potential. For example, the government of the Sarajevo Canton recognized the expansion, and recently opened its doors to our industry thanks to the excellent work of the Association of Business Service Leaders in BiH (absl.ba).
I believe that, especially in BiH, the BPO industry will soon overtake some traditional sectors and become one of the pillars of our economy. It is important that this change is noticed and that the government recognizes it.
What excites you the most about the company and future projects, if there are any new projects coming soon?
Damir: I am really excited with each new working day and I work on long-term projects with the same enthusiasm as I work on some new ideas. Our work environment is perfect and there is no reason not to be excited about my job.
However, one project is very dear to me and I try to free up as much time as possible for that. We have entered into a strategic partnership with the company “SDR.sg” from Singapore, which offers state-of-the-art B2B appointment booking solutions. Their portfolio of clients and partners is amazing and I am really glad that we have found a common language and that we will work together on this project in the future.
What motivates you daily?
Damir: It is very difficult to answer this question because the combination of many factors affects my daily motivation. One of the biggest factors is the responsibility I feel towards each individual in our team – I have to give the best I have and act the best way I know every day and in every moment, because a lot of things depend on my professionalism.
The fact that I am officially and unofficially responsible gives me a positive dose of pressure to get out of bed and go to work motivated.
It is very exciting to work in such an environment because my creative side can also be manifested, especially when it comes to solving challenges.
Can you tell us more about the company structure, do you have various management levels of communication, and what is your management style?
Damir: As I mentioned before, one of our greatest challenges was the organizational structure and culture. An increase in the volume of work and the number of virtual employees led us to an unpleasant position, and we had to act quickly to establish internal structures to a level that meets the company’s requirements, without losing the already established hierarchy for which we were praised by virtual employees. Thanks to the support of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, we hired a consultant who turned our vision into a functional working structure.
An additional challenge was that we all work remotely. Based on our experience of remote work, and by choosing great middle management, we managed to make our organization work perfectly even though we are distant from each other.
If we were able to ask them, what would your staff say are your strengths as a leader? Please, tell us your first thoughts.
Damir: I think it would be best to ask them that. 🙂
My opinion is that I have a lot of imperfections, but I think that one of my advantages is that I chose a team of associates who compensate for those imperfections. And that may be the secret of our successful work.
And lastly, can you tell us what is the best and the worst part of being a CEO?
Damir: I think the worst and best part of this job is the same one, and it is the responsibility towards my associates at every level of the hierarchy.
Damir, thank you for your time! There are many other questions that we are interested in, and we will soon organize another interview with you. Have a successful business day!
Damir: Thank you for the opportunity and I look forward to talking to you again.