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Sanja Stanimirović, CEO & Chairwoman, Testeral

Entrepreneurs Are Multi-Taskers

Testeral is one of the largest manufacturers and exporters of aluminum constructions, facades and windows. It belongs to a group that has been operating in the construction industry for more than 20 years. They are currently focused on building and equipping a new production facility and carrying out a process of digital transformation

A company is like a child: the younger it is, the more it needs its mother. The company is like another child for you, and over time, when you lay good foundations, it’s the same in the company as in the family ~ says our guest and insists that everything boils down to good organisation and delegating responsibilities.

Your grandmother was an entrepreneur, your father inherited her business… Was it taken for granted that you would also join the family company? Did you see yourself in her?

As a high school student, I went to study abroad with the idea of staying there, and in the meantime, my father’s company grew and prospered.

As an exceptional visionary, he made an effort for me to get an appropriate education, to gain breadth, get to know the world and make new acquaintances, but on the other hand, he wanted me to build my future in this country and in his company. And like any other young person, I was not aware of my affinities. I saw myself in a stock exchange or international financial institution, not in a family business.

As someone who worked in a corporation and now runs a family business, do you think women have to work twice as hard as men to achieve the same goals?

The path of every entrepreneur is different, and it is particularly specific and challenging to decide to continue a family business and lead the company. I can’t say that it was really my choice, it was more the set of circumstances. Then my younger sister Tanja and I left our secure jobs and took over the family business.

There are challenges in business every day, and when it comes to a family business, a special challenge is harmonizing the needs of family members with the interests of the company

The beginning was difficult, but not because I am a woman, but because the company was in a bad financial situation. I worked twice as hard as ever before, because I believed that our business was good and profitable and that with proper leadership and work we could make Testeral a world brand. Mutual support and dedication in our work have brought us to the position we are in today, among the leaders on the Serbian market in this industry.

You often point out that family businesses are the “backbone of capitalism” everywhere in the world, because they are characterised by consensus and harmony. Does that apply to Testeral?

There are challenges in business every day, and when it comes to a family business, a special challenge is harmonising the needs of family members, their knowledge, character and affinity, with the needs of the company. Besides all this, you should maintain harmonious family relationships and not transfer problems from work into the home. It’s an art and that’s what I’m most proud of, because besides me the business is run by my sister and brother, and besides them, my and my sister’s husbands are also involved.

When we speak of how much of a challenge it is to run a company, especially for women who unlike men are also burdened with family obligations, I stick to the slogan that everything is possible and that there is a solution for everything. I often jokingly say that I am a multi-tasker, because I think that is true for all women in business. Otherwise, I advise all women who start a business to start carefully, but at the same time wisely and courageously. It is also important to separate the establishment of a family and that of a company. I admire women who have done both at the same time. It’s a huge sacrifice.

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