- March 14, 2014
Invincible “Inviktus”: Innovativeness – a key to success
“Success in the field of business depends on innovativeness, hard and persistent works, and the support from your loved ones”- claim brothers Niewiadomscy Robert and Bernard, who lead together the Vilnius partnership “Inviktus” that has been dealing successfully with engineering solutions in Lithuania and abroad for 10 years.
The company provides services in the scope of hydraulic works in both civil and industrial construction. The company’s specialists have been engaged in designing and installing heating systems and heat pumps that are one of the most ecological ways for providing comfort and the functioning of a house.
-Heat pumps convert energy from natural, renewable sources of heat – the ground, water, air – into home heating and domestic water, or cooling the interiors.
Today In Lithuania there are plenty of companies dealing with such appliances. However, when we were starting with my brother our business it was an innovative idea. Our company was one of the first in Lithuania providing services connected with heat pumps – tells Robert Niewiadomski.
The way to success of the twin brothers from the Vilnius district began when they left for Poland after their graduation from the secondary school no. 5 in Vilnius Antokol (now the school the name of Joachim Lelewel). They started studying there in the Technical College of Wood Technology in Szczecin led by the Salesian order. After graduating from it in 2002 Robert stayed in Szczecin, starting his studies at the Szczecin University of Technology, while Bernard decided to go back to Lithuania, where he began studying at the Vilnius University of Technology the name of Giedymin (VGTU), and working in the construction industry.
-Those times were very busy when it comes to construction industry. In 2004 I joined my brother and we started our company – tells Robert.
At the beginning the brothers engaged themselves in small objects – renovation of houses, apartments. Over time, they started expanding the scope of their business.
-We decided to find the alternative sources of energy and thus we thought about heat pumps. At the beginning we installed the systems in our houses. We saw that that was very comfortable both when it came to economic terms and ecologic. Hence we started offering of design services to our clients. It turned out that the market needed it so badly and we were so “on top” that avalanche of orders collapsed on us. – says the co-owner of the company, Bernard Niewiadomski.
Now the company that employs 20 people is engaged in very complicated projects. Although the company does not use any marketing, each year it receives orders for about 1000 big projects, on which seven highly-qualified engineers work.
-One of the most interesting projects was the work on the construction of an autonomous and ecological house being completely independent from urban networks. The house is heated by biofuel, water is obtained from the ground, and electricity from the solar energy and wind. For that project our company was awarded the title “Engineer of the Year” – tell Robert Niewiadomski. –We had also an interesting task in Belarus. We were engaged there in designing and installing geothermal heating system for the church. Thus the building was going to take up heat from the ground.
One of the recent biggest objects in Vilnius is the house in Dzūkų street in Naujininki district. It is a very complicated project when it comes to engineering.
Robert Niewiadomski says that apart from innovativeness one of the keys to success of their company were the work and development without acquiring loans. He points out that, from the very beginning, he and his brother led the so-called policy without a loan.
-We are not guided by the vision of market tycoons and desire to dominate at the market at all costs. We are the supporters of evolution rather than revolution. The crisis from 2008 showed that the biggest companies owing, as it might have seemed, huge objects as well as turnover, employing more than 100 people, just could not have coped with the continuous costs, that is renting offices and equipment, repayment of loans, leasing for cars etc. – explains Robert Niewiadomski.
He emphasizes that they were trying to be self-reliant from the very beginning and they approach the business “from the craft side”.
-We buy only with the money we earn. Cars, offices, warehouses, tools – all of these are owned by the company. No leasing. We are aware that such a slow development is contrary to the laws of capitalism… – smiles Robert Niewiadomski. – But I believe that this is a much safer way of doing the business. And the result is: we are still here and we are doing great.
Reducing costs – according to our speaker – involves rational disposing of money, thus you should buy all, if possible, to be yours.
-It is also about writing down the exact duties of each employee. The people should know what you require from them and then there is no the so-called “idling running”, thus the company does not lose from downtimes. –explains Robert Niewiadomski. – You should also invest in production tools of good quality and trainings of the staff. Mistakes made in the construction company cost too much. It is much cheaper to train your staff.
The speakers says that it would not be possible to do your business effectively without the professional and hard work of the whole team – starting from the engineers, and finishing on the laborers, transforming their ideas, even those most complex ones, into reality.
-Probably such a policy is one of the main reasons for why the economic crisis, that led many companies into bankruptcy, almost did not affect the company “Inviktus” (that is, in some sense, a justification for the meaning of the company’s Latin name: “invictus” means “invincible”). The rotary year increase is about 30 percent each year. During the crisis, it was slightly reduces, but still it remained at a high level – about 15 percent.
-Those times were not easy. As for everyone, it was hard to find new clients for us, too. Yet we were working very intensively. We had to make some reorganization of work that allowed both reducing costs and not reducing the number of employees we value very much. – tells Bernard Niewiadomski.
There were also times when the company was dealing with projects in Poland and Austria. However, despite of the broad prospects abroad, none of the brothers had any plan to leave their home country forever.
-Emigration does not give you anything good because your home is the best place to be at. We were leaving it temporarily, but only to make particular projects and, after having completed them, we always came home longing to see our loved ones. We are a kind of local patriots. Patriots of the Vilnius region – say the brothers emphasizing the priority of the person should be their home and family.
Doing your own business is time-consuming and requires a lot of devotion. The speakers admit that without the support of their loved ones they would not be able to reconcile such opposites as work and family life. Therefore, a part of their success should be assigned to their spouses (with whom they got married ten years ago on the same day!).
-Now that the company has been expanded and the business gained momentum, it is much easier and we can spend more time with our families. At the beginning, however, we were spending a lot of time away from home. Luckily, we have very reasonable and patient wives who supported us and waited for us – tell the brothers. – And we could focus on our work we like very much.
The speaker claim that another key to success is just the passion and dedication to your work. Revenue cannot be the only motivation.
-Our grandma told us once a very important thing. She said: “You must like what you do”. Otherwise you will always be competing with those that like their work. That means they are going to be at the better position than you so you are going to lose. – explains Bernard Niewiadomski. – There are some hard times in life and there is also such time when you have enough of everything. If you like your work, you will have strength to go on.
The brothers emphasized also that when doing your own business you have to strive for self-improvement and meeting new people. That is why the company “Inviktus” became one of the first members of the Polish Entrepreneurship Forum “The Crown”, bringing together the companies in Lithuania being led by the entrepreneurs of Polish origin.
-„The Crown” give the entrepreneurs an opportunity to look at the business from a different point of view, to share their experience; it also increases contacts in the local business, helps to focus their activity towards charity, such as the support of the creative and entrepreneurial youth. Therefore, this is not only about business, but also about social interaction. – say Robert and Bernard Niewiadomski.
In their opinion, the lectures and training sessions on business organized by the Forum are of the greatest values as they aim to encourage young people to entrepreneurship.
-In Lithuania we haven’t got enough natural resources, such as petroleum. Hence, our country draws its revenue primarily from business. Therefore, this is the entrepreneur that feeds the country. So the mission of such country is for it to have as many entrepreneurs as possible. Whereas for “The Crown” it is all about being as many Poles as possible among the Lithuanian entrepreneurs – explains Bernard Niewiadomski. – This is why we work with youths and motivate them to act and use their potential creatively.
Tłumaczenie by Roksana Kasperek w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Roksana Kasperek within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.