Ms. Popova, you are the Vice President of Sales and Marketing of one of the most successful Bulgarian companies worldwide, as well as in the gaming industry in general: EGT. Is it easy to communicate in a company with offices in 28 countries?
EGT is a big corporation with offices all over the world which fall into different time zones. In addition, in our company are working people from different countries and cultures. At first glance, that makes the communication not very easy, but actually being part of such an international team is very dynamic and interesting, and if we add the fact that we are all striving to achieve the same goal, I would say that it is not that difficult.
Please tell us how your career started.
I started my first serious job in a real estate agency when I was 18 years old. After that I became a live game dealer in a casino of the world’s largest cruise line. I originally planned for this to be just a temporary occupation, but it ended up lasting several years.
I joined EGT’s team in 2011. Naturally, my first tasks at the company involved selling our products on cruise ships as well as in Australia. Then I and small team of a few colleagues got the opportunity to develop EGT’s business in Latin America. Now, 10 years later, I dare say we are one of the leaders in the market there.
What does your typical working day involve?
The largest part of my working day is spent on Zoom. There is nothing surprising, given that during the last two years remote meetings have taken up increasingly important place in our daily lives. This gives us the opportunity to keep in touch with colleagues and partners from all over the world within the same day, which is very valuable.
I’m also traveling a lot, as EGT currently operates in over 100 countries globally.
What is the reason for the success of EGT? What sets you apart from the competition?
What sets us apart from our competitors is our flexibility, attention to detail, the high quality of our products, and the fact that they are customized for the different markets where we offer them. Of course, the qualities of our employees are also of crucial significance. EGT’s sales department is a team of highly qualified consultants focused on the long-term relationships with our clients. This also comes from the nature of our business, which generally implies the establishment of such relations. We are proud to say that to this day we have clients that we have been working with since the first day of the company.
What are the steps you take to enter a new market?
Every entry into a new market starts with a series of market researches, product researches usually being the most in-depth. We try to understand the local operators, customers, players and competitors to assess whether it is appropriate to enter this market and which of our products is best suited for it. If we think that the market has potential, but we do not currently have a development that meets local tastes, we start thinking in the direction of what product and for how long we need to develop it in order to have a chance to be competitive and occupy good market positions.
Of course, tax and any other aspects are also extremely important, as it is the choice of the right manager for these markets. The person’s character is of great significance to fit the local culture and therefore it is very important that the manager to be carefully selected, as he/she is the bridge between the offices and EGT.
What are the company’s long-term plans not only for Bulgaria, but also globally?
Our long-term plans are to be the company that all young talents would like to join and develop professionally. To me, that would mean we are a leader at all levels.
Of course, opening a few more new offices is a natural part of our company’s evolution, as well as the development of new business verticals. We certainly want not only to maintain our current positions, but also to establish ourselves as a leader in new markets.
Flowers: Million Luxury Roses
How do you stimulate and motivate your employees?
I believe that people have different incentives and the most important task of any manager is to feel what is the motivation of each person, what inspires them in their work and what keeps them here.
What are the most important qualities for a business leader?
To be able to listen, analyze and convey his knowledge. To delegate part of his/her power and responsibilities without fear of being displaced. To admit his/her mistakes and learn from them. In general, for me, the key to success as a business leader is to have more „We“ and less „I“.
Among the most important leader qualities is also the ability to judge when you can help and when you need to withdraw in order not to hinder. The true leader let people think independently. Nowadays we can often hear about leadership, about how you are either a leader or a manager, but I think a person can be both, and the bond between them is the high emotional intelligence.
Do you have a golden rule for decision making and what is the most difficult decision you had to make so far in your career?
I think there are people who make decisions easily by nature and never hesitate when they need to make a choice. I can define myself as such a person. I don’t think I’ve yet faced the most difficult decision of my career.
You are a beautiful and sophisticated business lady. Does beauty help or hinder in business?
Thanks for the compliment! I work in a so-called male industry and can say that there is a fair amount of underestimation of women in it. I try not to focus on that, and I think that the more professional you are, the less gender and looks matter. Knowing what you’re doing and demonstrating your professional qualities and abilities certainly help a lot more than just being attractive.
How do you measure success?
Success can mean different things to different people and always depends on their view of life and their personal experience. For me, it is not only related to the material things. Success has many aspects in a person’s life, but if we are talking about business success, it is the pleasure of the job well done and of creating something that is sustainable over time.
Success on a personal level for me is feeling in harmony with myself.
You travel a lot. But mainly for work. Do you have time left to combine these trips with a holiday?
Yes, it is always and absolutely mandatory for everyone to know when it is their time to rest, the period they can recharge and come back to themselves. This balance is very important for every person and when their work is busy, it is difficult to achieve. That is why it must be sought purposefully.