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I wouldn’t regret failure, but I would regret not trying.
Aida Nika, founder and managing director of A.I.D.A
WEgate: What can you tell us about your company?
Aida Nika: A.I.D.A Marketing and Business Development offers a wide range of value-added services that meet the customers’ current and future needs. Through our expertise and approach to creativity and innovation – combining traditional and online communication and development tools – we help our customers with branding, maximising market share and opening up new markets. A.I.D.A also provides B2C and B2B development support, and evaluates and improves the operational performance for companies, institutions and professionals.
The company has about 15 employees and a large number of external collaborators. It has offices in Greece, Bulgaria and Albania and our goal is to grow in the southeast region.
What or who inspired you to set up your own company?
My inspiration was an article by Professor Gail J McGovern, published by the Harvard University in 2005, which pointed out how a company could benefit from outsourcing marketing activities. That way, she argued, the marketing department can lead the company to better quality and lower costs.
It is also a fact that ideas for start-ups often begin with a problem that needs to be solved. Seeing a huge gap in the market and in the field of entrepreneurship, I decided to turn my ideas into reality and founded my own company. A.I.D.A. Marketing & Business Development is a marketing and professional services company that aims to help entrepreneurs to grow their companies into great leading businesses.
What were the challenges that you faced when you decided to launch your company? Did you have any support from organisations?
The fact that I launched my company during the crisis period in Greece was a challenge for me but I have to admit that situations like that spur us to become better, stronger and smarter. When there are difficulties, the human mind goes into ‘creation mode’; not just problem-solving or overly optimistic thinking, but ‘total creation’ based on the need for radical improvement and development. Strategy and creative excellence mainly in the field of advertising and growth are what the business world needs these days. Unfortunately, for my first steps into entrepreneurship I didn’t get the support I would have liked from other organisations or companies. Perhaps this is why I now try to help other women entrepreneurs through activities that we organise with Business Mentality, an NGO in Greece.
Entrepreneurship is still often considered a man's territory; what advice would you give young women who want to become an entrepreneur?
Historically, men have been at the helm in the business world, providing visible examples of what it means to be a leader. But in the past few years, women entrepreneurs have been making powerful strides in business. Female entrepreneurship is on the rise and women entrepreneurs lead start-ups around the globe. I have also noticed entrepreneurship becoming increasingly more difficult to sustain with some of the new government regulations that have come up over the past few years. At the same time, I see it becoming a lot more appealing to women and, therefore, competitive.
My advice to young women who want to become an entrepreneur is to take the risk. We never know the outcome of our efforts unless we actually do it. For me, I wouldn’t regret failure, but I would regret not trying. The world is full of great ideas, but success only comes through action. They should be prepared to face few challenges on the road to success. I would also state the fact that being a successful entrepreneur is mainly about being creative and trusting yourself.
What is your favourite part of your job?
That’s a difficult question, because there is a lot I like about my job. It is my favourite part of the day because it is the place for me to be creative. I love all aspects of my job. But if I had to choose only one, I would say giving direct support to women in a way that really makes a difference. The contribution I make is vital to their ability to make key financial decisions which ultimately influence the overall success of their business. I enjoy the challenge and the responsibility.
The people I work with are also important to me. It’s great to work with people that care about the company and about doing a good job. It’s hard to find that environment today because so many people just do not care about honesty, hard work and integrity.
As far as Business Mentality is concerned, it is about as rewarding and frustrating as one can imagine. I love being able to be proud of the work I do, asking people to support missions and events that I believe are important.
I believe in entrepreneurship, because it’s a beautiful journey. Everyone has their destination; for me that is mine.
“Sometimes you win sometimes you learn’’ is my favourite quote. It comes from the title of a book by John Maxwell. It is true that the greatest lessons we learn in life are from our losses. Everyone experiences failure, but not everyone learns from it. It takes discipline to do the right thing when everything is wrong. In addition to this, it implies that experience isn’t the best teacher; evaluated experience is.