Back To Top

Lessons for 2022 – Ioana Mucenic (Minio Studio): “The Romanian business environment is wagging its elbows. There is a lot of resilience and a lot of will to succeed”

We invited some of the most important managers, entrepreneurs and bankers to talk about the lessons learned in the year that is ending and the challenges of 2022. Resilience and adaptation are the imperatives that link the two years fraught with both pandemics and unpredictable situations.

Forbes: What is the word that best characterizes 2021? Tell us more about it.

Ioana Mucenic: Hop-on, Hop-off. It’s been a hectic year, with a lot of turbulence. There was the excitement of the beginning of the year, then through March-April a brake. Summer came again with lots of energy and projects, but in autumn came wave 4 superimposed with inflation, rising energy prices and political crisis, and overall a flurry and lots of fatigue.

Forbes: What were your concerns for the business you run in 2021? How did the company/group’s business perform compared to estimates at the beginning of the year?

Ioana Mucenic: Minio Studio is a strategic communication agency and has 2 types of clients – multinational companies and local entrepreneurs, in both cases quite large businesses (over 10 mil euro CA).

Multinational businesses were more settled, followed their plans and projects went according to plan – here there was pressure on innovation and speed. We were asked to do a lot in a short time, with a focus on new solutions, adapted to the context, we saw a greater openness to experimentation.

Local businesses, however, were much more chaotic – many projects started, paused, then resumed, modified, sometimes stopped again. There was a greater tension here on budgets and outcomes, but also a search for the best solution – a search that often led to paralysis in decision-making. This tension was often caused by rapid changes in the business environment that our customers encountered from one month to the next – raw material price increases, transport delays, out-of-stock situations, but above all, human resource issues.

As a result, this customer instability was also felt in the agency. We worked hard and not necessarily profitably. We were very disappointed by the unfulfilled potential of some projects, which were either cancelled or greatly reduced in investment.

At the same time, there is a need to keep up with innovation in the digital environment, because development is accelerating here. So we are talking about the need to continuously learn new skills, especially adapted to the digital environment.

We have planned 2021 as a rebound year after the shock of 2020. We focused on consolidation and protecting people, not as a growth year. That’s why we’ve created a hybrid and work-from-anywhere system, giving people a lot of freedom of movement, but also a sense of belonging. We were careful not to take the pressure from the customer internally, because we were afraid of burnouts and people who would snap.

And we did well – we close the year slightly below target, but with a well-trained team, no burnouts, no resignations, and lots of plans for the year ahead. At the end of the year, we brought in new colleagues and so enter 2022 with all sails up.

Forbes: What were the reasons for satisfaction or optimism in 2021?

Ioana Mucenic: This year, three colleagues who had left for other companies returned to the agency. For us, it was a confirmation that we are doing things as well as we can, and it really feels like we care about people and are trying to create the best possible working and living environment for them.

We had 10 nominations at industry festivals, resulting in 3 trophies. That’s less than last year, but we were happy, because these were hard-working projects.

We’ve won a few new clients, who have turned to us for exactly what we do best – communication strategy.

We start 2022 with a lot of optimism, we aim to grow at an accelerated pace, by developing new services and serving new segments of entrepreneurs. We expect a tough 2022, with inflation and rising prices, with all kinds of turbulence in both the business and political environment. But the fact that we have allowed people to recharge their batteries this year, after a gruelling 2020, puts us in pole position for a successful 2022. Tough, but successful.

Forbes: How would you characterize Romania’s private business environment in 2021 in terms of resilience and dynamism? Argument.

Ioana Mucenic: Romania’s business environment is kicking and screaming. There is a lot of resilience and a lot of desire to succeed.

Because we have such a troubled context, we have seen a lot of ambition and determination and I think that will help us overcome this obstacle. Experienced entrepreneurs are looking to reinvent themselves, to be more digital, to automate, to expand into niches with growth potential. We also saw start-ups with a lot of energy. Contrary to the all too common thinking of the Romanian (to be given/to be made/to be helped by the state), local businesses have taken their fate into their own hands and are striving to survive and break the deadlock.

Forbes: What good decisions has the government made to encourage and support the Romanian business environment in 2021? What are the things it should have done but didn’t?

Ioana Mucenic: There were no tax and VAT increases – I was expecting those, because we had a galloping deficit. But I didn’t see other supportive measures – although they would have been necessary. There are still large market segments that are deeply affected: HoReCa, artists, events, tourism.

Forbes: What do you see as the biggest global challenges in 2022?

Ioana Mucenic: 2022 is shaping up to be a hot year. Inflation will continue to rise, so the price increases will continue.

At the HR level, we will see more anxiety and chronic fatigue – that’s why WFH/WFA and Hybrid work systems will normalize. There are already local businesses that are even going to 4 day weeks to maintain their team.

Forecasts show that developing markets such as Romania will progress more slowly and the situation in Asia is still uncertain.

There is an acceleration of innovation in the area of green technologies and digitised financial systems (crypto, digital currency, neobanks, digital retail payments platforms…).

More and more young people are interested in more freedom through passive income and this will increasingly change their relationship with their stable income sources (their basic job) and the way they spend their money.


Source: Forbes