In January 2013, Stretch Danmark joined the ranks as the newest member of the Stretch family – opening its doors with a cozy little office in the center of Copenhagen.
Now down the street in an office four times the space, Stretch Danmark is proving to be every bit the ‘large small’ consultant that the Stretch group represents. With a quirky-fun culture, industry-leading technology, and a committed focus on customers and colleagues, Stretch Danmark has been on an interesting – and fun – journey upwards. An instrumental part of this voyage has been CEO, Martin Sahlin.
Martin, with a background in consultancy and Business Intelligence, had the right combination of experience and entrepreneurial spirit to take on the task of developing Stretch DK.
Where do you get your entrepreneurial spirit?
During my career, I have surrounded myself with successful entrepreneurs. I use them as inspiration and as mentors. I’m motivated by building up successful teams that do things differently and better than others, that challenge the competition and the way things are usually done.
This motivation has launched Stretch DK forward with energy and enthusiasm over the last two years – landing a number of exciting customers and projects. What’s more, the Stretch DK team isn’t afraid to take risks – whether it is working on new global initiatives with Qlik or partnering with Dell Boomi to developing cutting edge technology, Stretch DK colleagues haven’t hesitated to hop on planes to work in new cities, work late nights, and jump head first into new opportunities. This entrepreneurial spirit, love for the work, and fearlessness seem to be the cornerstones of the Stretch DK success thus far;
What can you remember as your first sense of success with Stretch DK?
That we in a short timeframe found our identity with the office and the team. The tight, a bit crazy but family-oriented feeling we have at Stretch Denmark. The greatest accomplishment thus far is the team.
How do you find these people to bring into your organization that truly care about the organization the way you do?
I have a network of people I have learned to really trust and like to work together with. I also trust the network of these people so together we will make sure we bring in people that are both amazingly skilled, have a drive for success and that fits in with the sometimes little weird culture.
Although it has taken longer than expected to develop and grow, Stretch DK has been committed to the Stretch culture of finding the right people who embody the values of the company – including curiosity and consideration for each other and Stretch customers. Patience is key here, and as Martin explains,
The challenge is to find these right people with the right timing so that we have attractive projects for them at the right time.
Without a doubt, the colleagues at Stretch DK are what is driving business forward, and they’re having fun while doing it. The culture of Stretch DK is unique and as Martin describes it, is “a tight close crazy family with lots of love and best in the world within our focus areas.”
Despite still being small, Stretch DK’s journey thus far can be considered entrepreneurial success. Right now, the goal for the company is to continue being profitable and growing within the Danish market. To do this, Martin is driving a strategy that includes investing in the Stretch DK team and making sure the company continues to be an attractive place for future colleagues – inevitably bringing in new talent that will help Stretch DK continue its path upwards.
And what about the longer run? Where do you see Stretch Denmark in 10 years?
In 10 years, we will be the same but bigger. Same culture, very successful and top of mind within our focus areas at the customers and competitors.
Stretch DK can certainly be looked to as a source of inspiration when it comes to hard work and developing a culturally exceptional small business in niche markets. Aside from patience and perseverance, Martin has some advice from his own experience;
What three pieces of advice would you give to someone else starting a new business?
Focus, Focus, Focus. Focus on doing few things but do them very well. Don’t be tempted to try a little bit of everything and hope for success. Focus on the team, the right people that are motivated, that are better than you, and that like to spend time with their colleagues. Focus on your goals. Make them possible but hard to reach and never forget the goals you put up. Plus put up some extra goals that you never tell anyone else.
Also, remember to have fun while doing it!