It’s just over a year since Steve Koncar joined FishingBooker – a startup that, true to its name, books fishing trips all across the globe. Over that time, he has helped the company double the number of partner captains on the website. At the same time, he is constantly looking out for new areas of growth.
I manage to briefly tear Steve away from his phone and he tells me about the job that gets him doing business with passionate fishermen everywhere from Fiji to California.
Taking the leap from engineering to sales
Steve originally came from a background in engineering, and by his early 20s he was already employed by one of the top engineering firms in Serbia. Being surrounded by people from a technical background, most of his acquaintances were great at making products, but they have no idea how to make business. The art of business development became increasingly fascinating to Steve.
Entrepreneurship attracted him. He wanted to be involved in something that was at least partially dependent on him, where he had responsibility. That wasn’t easy to find in the large Serbian corporations that were his potential employers.
When Steve heard about FishingBooker he got very interested, very quickly. He admired its business model and the fact that it was entirely independent. He managed to land a job in the company’s sales department and took to it ‘like a fish to water’, despite – or maybe because of – his unrelated background.
When asked if he’d have liked to have worked in sales from the get go, Steve shakes his head. He believes that the skills needed to become an engineer are easily transferable to the world of sales. The ability to create processes, look at the numbers, and approach problems from different angles makes a background in engineering a huge asset to sales. Mark Roberge, the CRO of Hubspot, is a good example.
Starting up from scratch, with trial – and error
When Steve first joined the FishingBooker team back in 2015 there were just seven people in the company. Now it is expanding to 20 and beyond.
Possibly one of the things that allowed the company to grow quickly – something which continues to be a fundamental part of the way it works – is the space that is given to test new ideas and make mistakes. As Steve puts it, “sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.”
By winning (and learning, a lot) the number of fishing captains listed on the website doubled in a year. This can be directly attributed to the persistence and ingenuity of the sales team.
For Steve, the feeling that he has made a positive difference to the lives of thousands of people is even more important than the numbers. Reaching out to partners to work with FishingBooker, he has given hundreds of captains, skippers, and guides the chance to get more customers, increase their revenue, grow their brand online, get reviews, and ultimately obtain more returning customers.
This is why he enjoys the phone calls, text messages, emails, and facebook campaigns that make up his day-to-day working life. Not only does he get to connect with people in Mooloolaba, Mozambique, and Mauritius, he also helps them become more successful at what they do.
But that’s not all. The very fact that FishingBooker exists in Serbia is energising. As Steve comments: “one thing I really love is that 20 people from Serbia book tens of thousands of fishing trips all across the world. When someone says something is impossible, I just remind them of this. Working here makes you realise that you can pretty much achieve anything you want to.”
New directions: an expanding company
2016 sees FishingBooker tripling in size for the third year in a row, both in terms of supply and demand. In order to sustain this growth, Steve is looking for more people to join his team. They will help the company reach greater heights, cover more areas of the globe, and give more people the chance to expand their business and provide people with the adventure of a lifetime.
The right candidates will have the chance to make a real impact on the business. This is an opportunity that can be all too hard to find in Serbia, outside of the country’s fledgling startup scene at least.
According to Steve, anyone who is willing to put their all into becoming great at whatever they want to do should apply to become part of his team. Ambition, persistence, and drive are the most important requirements, he says, with great English also being very important.
Applying is simple: all prospective salespeople need to do is look at the job description for Account Manager on FishingBooker’s Careers page, and then submit their CV and a very brief cover letter.