We get to know one of Swedish Scaleup’s newest coaches during a walk-and-talk interview. This near-hour long power walk becomes synonymous with Anders’ strength from building numerous businesses and his solid industry experience, but above all his energy and drive forward at high speed.
– I enjoy working independently, far from the larger company’s bureaucracy and cumbersome decision-making processes, says Anders. I’m all about speedy decisions, quick passing, and fast acting.
In addition to a brief stint within the NCC Group, Anders has run his own companies or worked as a consultant during his 30-year professional life. Since the early 90s he has developed business systems for the construction, contracting and service industries.
– When you mention the construction industry, people tend to associate that with enormous projects like the Karolinska Hospital, but most construction projects are both small-scale and with short lead times. After working 15 years with big businesses, I have turned to the small to medium-sized companies with the goal to help entrepreneurs to streamline and digitize their operations.
Ander’s latest business idea was made possible thanks to the requirement specification he had developed during his 20 years in the industry. In his hand he held a tool for how the future construction industry should operate.
– There are so many talented professionals in this industry. However, many people are uncomfortable with sedentary work, leading to order processing, time reports, supplier invoices and invoice documents stacking up. With my solution, I was able to offer an automatic solution to a manual problem – from the initial customer appointment to the completed invoice.
Resolutely grounded in his experience of the industry, its opportunities, and challenges, he stood firm in his belief that the solution would work. And it did.
This led to the creation of Next, a cloud-based tool for project- and business management tailored for the construction sector. At the start-up in 2014, the turnover was 5 million, a figure that has increased to 160 million in 2022. And with this, Anders chose to pass the torch.
– I am driven to make things happen, by innovative solutions and imaginative creation, says Anders. When companies grow, they are transformed into an industry and the distance between the drawing board and the final function will inevitably increase. One insight I’ve gained over the years is that I thrive in the start-up businesses, that’s where the small entrepreneur-driven team is making magic.
So, at the age of 58, Anders asked himself; “What am I going to do with the rest of my life?” He began searching for an opportunity to share his experiences, both the lucky twists and turns and the pitfalls that together formed his long professional path. At the same time, his name was repeatedly recommended to Swedish Scaleups. The fact that they approached each other so unanimously, made it quite natural that he got his first coaching inquiry already at the first lunch meeting.
– As a coach, I find humility is paramount, says Anders. I’m here to bounce ideas off of, and I will support in driving the process, but it is the other party’s responsibility to formulate their challenges and turn them into concrete answers. Personal chemistry and experience must be a match to build trust, and my focus is therefore on IT companies within my business area.
When Anders is asked which factor is the most critical for growth potential, he swiftly underlines this.
– In all companies, your staff is your most valuable asset, and in a small to medium workplace it is absolutely crucial. It goes without saying that the staff should be kept happy and find their daily work fulfilling, but it is just as important to create opportunities for building knowledge and ability and even allow part-ownership.
Participating in a Scaleup program means a real boost for the business but requires both persistence and motivation. On top of all regular tasks and responsibilities, as a leader in a growth company, you must prioritize the long-term visions and the strategic positions that go with it.
– To join a Scaleup program, you must set aside time and participate wholeheartedly. A company leader who truly wants to grow, must have the courage to bring in external managers even in leading positions, says Anders. Lastly, I would like to emphasize the mental journey for leaders through fast-paced company growth. You will experience first-hand the transformation from a close-knit and familiar workplace to a formal and industrial agency. In this process, you will greatly benefit from having an entrepreneur as a coach. The Swedish Scaleups coaches have themselves seen both good and bad times and have a rather pragmatic view of business transformation. The location in Linköping also offers extra security, as a progressive city and a business-friendly environment with an incredible amount of experience and innovative power to rely on.