Jitka Dvořákoá, with the consent of CZC.cz
The growing area of e-commerce is also enjoying success in the Czech Republic. CZC.cz, which has become a leading seller of electronics, is also doing well. Jitka Dvořáková has been at its head for many years as CEO. As a successful business woman, she regularly ranks among Forbes magazine’s list of the most influential women. You will find out what he says about the business world, the impact of the pandemic and the next generation in today’s interview.
In connection with CZC, I will recall not only products, but also large marketing campaigns and fierce competition. How important do you think these attributes are in business in general?
So I imagine a “bitter competitive struggle” a little differently, harder and sometimes across the line, and this happens very rarely in our field. The cards are clearly dealt between us and Alza, and in addition, both brands are currently heading elsewhere. Last year, Datart significantly strengthened its online shopping, so we are also monitoring it. And let me correct the term “big marketing campaigns” a bit, we are fundamentally different there. In the case of Alza or Datart, they are large in terms of financial resources, we try to think of ours creatively according to the old motto “a lot of music for little money”. Unlike the two named competitors, we do not have highly profitable segments in our portfolio with which we could compensate for low margins in IT and consumer electronics, so we do not even have a “big” campaign. While we try to increase brand awareness in over-the-line campaigns, especially among modern users of technology, because the Geek community finds us mostly on its own, both competitors aim directly at increasing sales with their advertising. Competition is also important, because it is the only source of growth today. This is due to the fact that the pre-pandemic market in our field has not grown much, last year customers “pre-stocked” electronics and we have the highest ratio of online sales compared to traditional retail in Europe.
What is your opinion on the current generation of young economists and entrepreneurs? What are their strengths / weaknesses?
It is a question of what and with whom I will compare. If I go back thirty years on my own, then my generation definitely lacked confidence, but also opportunities. By this I do not only mean travel and the possibility of studying abroad, but also the availability of information in which the Internet has revolutionized. However, there are also cases where this can be counterproductive, because the information lies on a silver platter, regardless of whether the young person develops in parallel mentally, so that he can comprehend and process the information correctly. And it is also worth mentioning the courage to start a business, and the fact that young people today, from the very beginning of their careers, can come up with great ideas and look for gaps in the market, and then learn to achieve a goal along the way. More than ninety percent of our employees could be my children, and I love working with them, and I think we’re still learning from each other.
How do you see as a woman the competitive advantage of women over men in terms of business? Do we have any special talent?
Just as in a family or a partnership, men and women differ in opinions, expectations, priorities or attitudes, so it is exactly the same in business. Although, of course, there are exceptions, in general men are more creative, easier to take risks, but tend to have less consistency and patience in executing their own ideas. It follows that the need is for both sexes and the best results arise in tandem. However, not every man is interested in such cooperation, and not every woman can take on the role of bringing to life the idea of others. Men set their strategy and then move forward and across it. If it is good, they will certainly reach 80% of the potential. For the remaining 20%, it is necessary to have a “tailor made” approach to each team member. I’m not lazy about that and I consider it my competitive advantage.
Jitka Dvořákoá, with the consent of CZC.cz
How do you manage to harmonize work and family life in such a demanding managerial position?
I have already completed this chapter and I hope it is successful. Both sons are already living their own lives and the space for the grandchildren still remains unfilled. My effort to harmonize was that for a long time, the content of my life was only family and work. No hobbies, girlfriends, trips, cosmetics or aerobics. But I didn’t have a problem with that at all. Furthermore, in the perfect organization of the program, when basically until the last minute of the day and also in the involvement of the extended family. I was often thrown away by a “selfish mother,” but in fact, as I looked around, the mothers in the household expected the children to entertain themselves, their grandfather to take them for a walk, and their grandmother for the weekend to go to a cafe, movie theater, or shopping in Vienna for the weekend, I did not see such a fundamental difference. My family had every minute I didn’t work, and I never heard a single reproach from my children.
What does fashion and style mean to you? Do you have a favorite fashion brand?
I am a woman, I like fashion, and because I am “spatially more significant” for most of my life, I also think that I need to pay even more attention to the exterior than a young and slim woman has to. I have been trying for style all my life and if I have it, others have to judge it. I have ten years in the Japanese company Panasonic, where only dark blue or black costumes and white blouses hung in my closet, another ten years with the European brand Philips, which took place in a more relaxed but still “business like” style and since 2010 I move in the world of e-commerce, where with few exceptions jeans and a t-shirt are ok. So I changed the wardrobe three times completely, and within the individual styles I usually kept two or three sizes, depending on how much time my work gave me sports and proper eating habits. Anyway, I’m a sports type, I like simple things, one-color or possibly with geometric shapes. I spent sixty years without ruffles, lace, balloon sleeves, floral patterns and miniskirts. I like the brand Marc O´Polo, Gant, s.Oliver and lately I like to buy COS. But I spend more on clothes and handbags, where the quality is obvious at first glance.
How has CZC changed the Covid-19 pandemic?
Absolutely. At the beginning, we went through a procedural crisis, the transition to work from home, the need to change leadership, when captains became helmsmen, we felt more about the need to take care of mental health of colleagues, we changed the view of speed, ability to act and responsibility. We have discovered how extremely important it is to invest in corporate culture, which we seem to have found in the last year. And we were given the opportunity for modeling, which cannot normally be simulated. It is possible to increase or decrease investment in marketing or research and development, it is possible to change fixed costs, but the company itself can not jump to increase demand to 2020, when companies and individuals needed to equip themselves with technology to work from home or buy a home entertainment and a stone network of shops was closed. That gave us a lot. E-commerce is a transactional business and we have learned to change and manage the economy. The pandemic has greatly accelerated the development of digitalisation, which has brought us a new challenge, which is to maintain the lead that we, as a technology company, had before the rest of the economy before 2020.
Jitka Dvořáková, with the consent of CZC.cz
Can you compare e-commerce in the Czech Republic and abroad? How, for example, does practice differ?
E-commerce is above average in the Czech Republic, I would not be afraid to say that as a country we set trends in many ways. In the field of electronics and IT, we have held the number one position in Europe for many years. In many categories, online sales account for seventy percent of the total market. At the same time, the standards are set high and we have pampered our customers. For example, speed of delivery, free shipping and other attributes.
How can we learn from the crisis? What do you think the Covid-19 pandemic taught us?
Every crisis is an opportunity and it must not be forgotten. After the economic downturn, there is a boom, after the war, recovery, after the partner quarrel of reconciliation, after the disease, strengthened immunity. Or we can give in to it in all cases and then we lose. At the same time, it is enough to carefully consider and adjust the attitude or angle of view. I just like to say “don’t pull your pants off unnecessarily soon” and instead of waiting or worrying, you need to start looking for possibilities and opportunities.
What would you say to the young generation of start-ups?
So that they are not afraid of mistakes, so that they do not rush unnecessarily “learning periods”, because they can accept challenges and positions up to a certain age and at the same time say out loud “I want to move somewhere, I want to learn something”. Because then comes the time and age when no one will be interested anymore and only performance and seniority will be expected.
Source: MODA.CZ – Pánská móda, dámská móda a vše ze světa módy by www.moda.cz.
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