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Get outside your comfort zone, learn, and make mistakes rather than try to prevent them.
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In this series called Member Showcase, we publish interviews with members of The Oracles. This interview is with Alon Rajic, founder and managing director of Finofin LTD, which manages personal finance websites. It was condensed by The Oracles.
Who are you?
Alon Rajic: I work in web development and personal finance. I joined Webpals LTD as head of SEO in 2008. Over seven years, I helped grow it from an early-stage startup into a publicly listed, highly profitable company (traded under LON:XLM).
In 2015 I formed my company Finofin, which builds and manages personal finance websites. We create review and comparison websites that help individuals and organizations make educated choices about their finances. Our most recognizable website is Money Transfer Comparison, which compares international money transfer options.
What are you more skilled at than most people in the world?
Alon Rajic: I am naturally curious and self-taught, so I have a strong willingness to work hard. While I wouldn’t say that makes me more skilled than others, it makes me more versatile — a jack of all trades. This is how I created my own company from scratch. In the initial stages, I taught myself to take care of everything from the technology to accounting.
To minimize your dependency on others, my best advice is to simply dare to do things outside of your normal scope or comfort zone. Most people think anything they don’t know how to do is frightening, but it doesn’t have to be.
What excites you the most about your business right now?
Alon Rajic: I strongly believe the industry of personal finance information will only grow bigger and bigger. The younger generation currently in their teens and early 20s will soon need to delve into their personal finances. Websites like ours empower them to compare their options and make smart decisions.
Without these resources, most would be dependent on their own research. Since the majority of us don’t have time or patience to research thoroughly, this can lead to rash decisions and simply choosing the providers who spend the most on advertising — even if they aren’t the best choice.
What did you learn from your favorite mentor?
Alon Rajic: My favorite mentor is Yaron Nahari, the former CEO at my old company. I learned a lot from him, but most importantly, I learned to lead by example and never be afraid of getting my hands dirty. If you want your employees to work hard, you have to work twice as hard. If you want something done the way you envision it, be actively involved in the production process.
What was your biggest challenge starting in business? How did you overcome it?
Alon Rajic: Managing operations was my biggest challenge. I was confident in my ability to build good websites and make them profitable, but the paperwork was taking the majority of my time. As I mentioned earlier, I expanded my accounting and legal knowledge and skills so I could manage this aspect of my business. While I took some courses, they were shallow and basic. I believe what helped me most was my desire to learn.
When I went to my accountant’s office, I asked about every little thing, looked carefully at his reporting, and ensured that I was aware of everything he was doing and had at least some understanding of it. The same goes for legal matters. If you make it a habit to read every single contract, it all boils down to common sense once you get over the legalese hurdle.
Now I have more employees who take on some of these responsibilities, but I still believe it’s important to be aware of and understand what’s going on in all aspects of my business. This helps avoid unnecessary costs, but more importantly, it maintains higher quality. This may change when the business grows to dozens or hundreds of employees, but I don’t need hyper-specialized professionals just yet.
How do you define great leadership?
Alon Rajic: Great leaders minimize conflicts and unite everyone around common goals that grow their people. They ensure every employee understands the big picture and how their work helps achieve those goals. They also connect employees’ compensation to their goals.
I believe every employee in a small business should be involved in creating the business strategy and tactics, and should know precisely what others are doing.
How do you evaluate a good business deal?
Alon Rajic: A good business deal has an incredible synergy with my capabilities and my company’s targets and goals. If I engage in a deal, it has to fit into the bigger picture. A favorable price tag or a strong pitch isn’t enough.
Which single habit gives you 80 percent of your results?
Alon Rajic: I think independently. Unlike many entrepreneurs, I don’t attend conventions and professional conferences often. I don’t take management classes or use external advisers and consultants. I just follow my path with confidence and acknowledge that I could make mistakes along the way. I’d rather learn from mistakes than waste time trying to prevent them.
What are three things you would like to be doing in three years?
Alon Rajic: I would like to publish a novel portraying an apocalyptic future. I believe some of our world leaders and the corruption in today’s politics could lead to this kind of dire situation.
On a more positive note, I would also like to create or join a volunteer organization to help young entrepreneurs. Finally, I would like to join advisory boards of technology companies that are making a positive change in the world.
What do you want to be known for, or what do you want your legacy to be?
Alon Rajic: I would like to be remembered as a successful businessman who always treated everyone fairly. To me, treating others well is more important than success.
Connect with Alon on LinkedIn.