Manager Report: a challenging year

Manager Report: a challenging year

Beata Drzazga, an award-winning successful woman, mentor, owner of many companies in Poland and abroad, and founder of BetaMed S.A. – the largest long-term care company in Poland, sums up the first half of 2023 in terms of business, and identify the biggest needs of the medical industry.

As someone who has achieved tremendous professional success, founded several companies in different business areas, such as BetaMed S.A., Drzazga Clinic, fashion house Dono da Scheggia, and owns several companies abroad, do you think you already know everything about business?

In the constant process of learning, acquiring new skills and experiences, we realize that we never have complete knowledge. The world is dynamic, and the business market is constantly changing. If someone claims to know everything about business, it can be seen as an expression of waywardness and vanity. Personally, I often emphasize that “if you want to be big, start with something small.” The basis of our activities should be humility and respect for other people. Then you have to put in a lot of strength, work, energy and commitment. There are thousands of books on business and I regret that I don’t have enough time to read them all. However, I believe that continuous learning, including from other entrepreneurs, and having an open mind and the ability to listen are extremely important.

Do women in business still face difficulties?

Women in business face different situations. On the one hand, it’s easier for us because we’ve already proven our worth many times. Over the past 23 years, I have observed how much we have achieved. The number of women in high positions, starting their own companies, is increasing. Increasingly, gender no longer matters. Fortunately, there is no longer the mindset that existed under communism, when a woman was valued only for her domestic skills. Today, a woman can develop professionally without giving up her femininity, still being a great wife, mother and resourceful at home. From my observations, women often turn out to be better entrepreneurs than men. Many men admit that they are not suitable business leaders and do not want to bear such responsibility. This is completely understandable. I often hear from men that I am brave because they themselves would not take on such a challenge. Nevertheless, in order to fully answer your question, I must add that there are still institutions and companies where only men dominate the top positions. Sometimes they do not have as much competence, education or talent as women, but they are preferred by other men. Therefore, I would like to congratulate all the women who continue to fight, do not give up and strive to succeed at the highest levels, despite the obstacles they face.

How do you assess the situation in the healthcare services industry in Poland, given your track record in running the largest long-term care company in the country, BetaMed S.A.?

From the perspective of my achievements in running BetaMed S.A., the largest long-term care company in Poland, I observe the existing challenges in the healthcare services industry. While I am proud of BetaMed S.A.’s achievements, I realize that current contracts are still insufficient. People are still waiting in long lines for a place in nursing and care facilities for years, and waiting one to two years for long-term care. There is also an apparent shortage of medical personnel, particularly nurses and doctors who take care of patients under ventilators. I believe that the Ministry of Health should increase the allocation of resources to the Health Fund to support ventilator-dependent people and children requiring similar care, both in nursing and care facilities and in home care. Thus, patients would not have to wait for adequate medical care. It sometimes happens that elderly patients occupy unnecessary beds in neurology or internal medicine wards simply because they are lonely and can’t go home. Elderly people after hip fractures, which are common among the elderly, are discharged home from the wards a few days after surgery. In fact, such patients should spend the first few weeks after surgery in properly equipped facilities where they can receive care and begin rehabilitation. I see huge shortages in the market for such services, which are crucial for the fitness and health of patients. In addition, I believe that there are too few contracts for rehabilitation services. People with serious back problems, after surgery or a procedure, cannot wait a year for rehabilitation – they need help right away. Although rehabilitation is not the main service offered by BetaMed S.A., I still see a huge demand for it. We had a small contract that was filled from January to March, and then we no longer have available places with the National Health Fund (NHF). This is a great pity, because BetaMeda S.A. has excellent equipment and qualified staff, and with a larger contract could have accommodated many more patients.

How do you assess the past year in terms of business, given the series of successes, including the Lifetime Achievement Award for the Polish economy, which you received from the President of Poland?

The previous year was definitely successful. I have been receiving many decorations and awards for several years, of which I am extremely proud. In 2021, BetaMed S.A., of which I am the founder, was honored with an award for its business activities, and the award was presented personally by the President. Another great moment was in 2022, when I received the Individual Award for my lifetime achievement. This was a huge surprise to me, as I was not expecting it at all.

How do you assess the year 2023? What should business be afraid of? What should average citizens fear?

Nowadays, I am often asked a question about the prospects for the second half of 2023. According to my analysis, I believe that this is not an easy year, and the outlook for entrepreneurs, especially small businesses, is difficult not only for this year, but also for the next three years. I am even concerned about the possibility that some of these companies may not survive the difficulties. Such a situation is always challenging and stressful for both owners and employees. Of course, as long as entrepreneurs have the financial resources to support their companies, there is a chance to survive.Last year, war broke out in Ukraine, which came at a time when the world, the economy and the market were already weakened by the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the current inflation only makes the situation worse. Although I am an optimistic person, I don’t foresee any improvement this year or in the years to come. Entrepreneurs will have to focus on significantly reducing expenses. This also applies to my companies, where I will have to do my best to survive this difficult period. In such difficult times, it is important to keep in touch with employees. Managers and supervisors should be aware of the company’s situation. It is important that employees understand and are not afraid of the current situation. Entrepreneurs need to be able to understand the needs of their employees, as each of us has our own domestic responsibilities and costs to cover. However, employees also need to understand how difficult the market situation is and how much can be helped, and from which point everyone must take strict austerity measures to survive. Communication, mutual understanding and clear presentation of the situation are key at such a time.

Is there any industry that piques your curiosity and that you might consider as a new challenge?

I am very interested in new technologies, especially artificial intelligence. As an entrepreneur, I realize that it’s worth keeping abreast of innovations in the industry. I am happy to co-organize conferences related to new technologies in renowned places such as Silicon Valley in the US. Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a technology conference in Singapore and support events in Washington. In addition, as a member of the Council of the Polonia Business Center, I actively participate in economic missions around the world, where I help Polish entrepreneurs develop their businesses. These are areas of great interest to me at the moment.

What qualities, skills and education are necessary to start a business as an entrepreneur?

Being an entrepreneur first and foremost requires a set of different character traits. Responsibility, willingness to take on challenges, inner strength, courage, intuition, sense of the situation, common sense and consistency are key. In my opinion, some people have an innate predisposition to be a leader, and these qualities can be seen early in education. However, the most important factor that shapes entrepreneurs is the experience they have gained.

Source: Manager Report