Elena Kyriacou is an award winning headhunter, international speaker, and professional branding coach. Born to a working class family of Greek Cypriot parents, Elena’s humble beginnings created in her that internal burning fire that characterizes an entrepreneur. With nothing more than hard work, determination, and a desire to BE something more, Elena built her first successful business before the age of 30.
Today she is the Founder of Elemed, a niche executive search company in the Medical Device world. She helps companies grow exponentially by hiring exceptional talent.
Below are the highlights of the interview between Elena and Insights Success, where she sheds light on her journey:
1. Give a brief overview of your background as an entrepreneur.
Ever since I was young I had what my family would call an entrepreneurial spirit. I have always been unafraid to try new things, make existing things better and do it in a way that benefits others. Ever since I was young, I always created little businesses – it’s how I paid my way through University. My first job in recruitment was also very entrepreneurial. I had to set up a life science brand completely from scratch; almost like building my own company within the confines of a bigger more established one. The brand was successful and I wanted to take that to the next level, so I left and created Elemed.
2. How do you diversify your organization’s offerings to appeal to the target audience?
Recruitment is not as easy as everyone thinks because there are always a lot of moving parts. There are two variables, the candidate and the company and we have to tailor our services to bring together a company’s needs with a candidate’s aspirations. You have to understand each person’s motivators and adapt as a business to help them achieve that. We try to consistently add value and build brand awareness through the creation and sharing of meaningful content for our target audience.
3. Describe some of the vital attributes that every entrepreneur should possess.
I think the desire to succeed and resilience are common attributes you find in an entrepreneur but also I think you need to have certain fearlessness and not worry too much about getting it wrong. An eye for continuous improvement and the ability to keep checking yourself to see how you can improve as a business and person is important. Above all working hard is the key. There are no elevators to success; you always have to take the stairs.
4. How do you strategize your game plans to tackle competition in the market?
Although it’s important to be aware of what your competition is doing I don’t let it define me. For me it’s all about being the best I can be. My biggest competition is myself. The key is to know what you’re talking about, follow up and follow through and provide a high quality service that makes people want to come back. We highlight the importance of candidate relationship and candidate experience which means approaching our candidates like customers; not just applicants.
5. What are the frequent challenges faced by women entrepreneurs in the workplaces and what are the ways to tackle them?
According to a study I saw on Linkedin, women have a tendency to undersell themselves whilst men tended to oversell in business. I feel that as a women entrepreneur, there is a certain pressure to be better than men and a lot of women I know are inherently perfectionists. Being an entrepreneur is all about execution and getting things out the door but if you let being a perfectionist hold you back then that can mean in the long run you could lose. It’s important to know; something is better than nothing and things are never going to be perfect. Better to get your product out the door and continuously improve it, than never get it out the door at all.
6. What were the primal challenges and roadblocks you faced during the initial phase of your career as an entrepreneur?
The biggest challenge I faced is the variety of hats you have to wear when starting a business, not only are you CEO but you are operations manager, marketing and HR, the recruiter and the business developer. Whilst wearing all these hats you have to balance and manage your time effectively to ensure you are still able to do business. There are a lot of tasks that don’t necessarily generate revenue but take up a lot of time and that is a challenge in itself.
7. Where do you see yourself in the near future and what are your future goals?
As a business my goal is to make Elemed the best niche medical device recruitment company in the world. At the moment we are really strong in Europe and I want to keep expanding and have offerings in the US and further afield. In the future I want to be in a position where we can deliver and support our candidates and companies as they grow worldwide. It’s an exciting time for Elemed, we are about to launch a rebrand, a new website and 3 new business offerings.
8. What is your advice for budding and emerging Shepreneurs?
Focus 100% of your energy on the 10% that matters. In other words make a list of activities that need to be done, highlight the ones you’re really good at and focus 100% of your time on becoming excellent at them. Hire someone and let them handle the activities you’re not so good at because you can’t be amazing at everything. I learnt this a couple of years into starting my company and perhaps if I had learnt it sooner I could have saved myself a lot of time.
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