ARGYRIS ARGYROU: Junior Achievement is a Hotbed for Future Entrepreneurs
Team work is the most important ingredient to entrepreneurial success. Having a great team with a mediocre idea is preferable to having a mediocre team with a great idea…
Argyris Argyrou, founder of the start-up company AtYourService (http://atyourservice.com.cy), INBusiness Award winner 2015 and jury member at the JA Cyprus 2014 Company of the Year Competition, shares his personal story and provides our student-entrepreneurs with useful guidance.
JA Cyprus: How did you come up with the idea for your start-up?
Argyris Argyrou: I moved into a new apartment three years ago and needed many services, such as cleaners, repairers, etc. To locate the required service providers, I needed to ask relatives and friends for recommendations (and feedback is usually contradictory!). I also had to make calls, and wait to be called back, since providers were usually not available at that moment, to arrange meetings which often needed to be cancelled, and to get offers. I was never sure whether offers were reasonable, since views on this matter were also contradictory. This process is rather time-consuming and stressful. At the same time, some friends were organizing their wedding and were coping with exactly the same issues. As an individual, I prefer facing problems practically and finding solutions. So, the idea of creating an online service market was generated.
JA Cyprus: What is your main tip for a successful start-up?
Argyris Argyrou: In general, I don’t think that there are secrets to success. Success requires devotion combined with hard and consistent work. A start-up is a company or a project that does not simply pursue constant profitability, but aims at achieving fast and intense growth, often at an international level. Success requires constant development and growth.
JA Cyprus: What are the common characteristics of successful entrepreneurs?
Argyris Argyrou: Hard and consistent work, persistence and patience.
JA Cyprus: How critical is team work when it comes to creating and running a company?
Argyris Argyrou: Team work is the most important ingredient to entrepreneurial success. Having a great team with a mediocre idea is better than having an average team with a great idea. This can be attributed to the fact that nowadays, current conditions and trends are always changing, and an effective team is one that is able to adapt to change but also take advantage of these shifts in order to constantly create value.
JA Cyprus: What is the most critical barrier to the development of successful entrepreneurial activity?
Argyris Argyrou: I think that the most critical barrier in our country is the fear of failure. In case your idea is innovative or you apply novel practices and methods, then failure is inevitable. However, failure proves really useful, since it offers you knowledge and experience, and can assist you in generating a new idea that you will successfully materialize based on the acquired knowledge and experience.
JA Cyprus: Could Junior Achievement constitute a hotbed for future entrepreneurs?
Argyris Argyrou: I deeply believe that Junior Achievement is a hotbed for future entrepreneurs. While interacting with many teams, we met 15-16 year old students who gained valuable experience after their idea passed through various stages. By using this experience in their future careers, I am sure that they will become much better than us.
JA Cyprus: What advice would you give to our student-entrepreneurs?
Argyris Argyrou: I would recommend that they experiment more, to be wholly devoted to new experiences and enjoy every single day. Experience gained through their involvement in various projects will be very useful later on in life.
JA Cyprus: Finally, are entrepreneurs born or made?
Argyris Argyrou: I think that the right answer to this question is 50/50. There are definitely some individuals who display greater inclination and preference towards entrepreneurship; however, without hard work and deep devotion, they cannot achieve their goals. On the other hand, in a favourable environment, everyone could become a successful entrepreneur.