Interview with Elena Petrunina from BSL Group, Italy

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When she was 12, she wanted to be a doctor and she hated sell. Now she is the head of BSL Group, the company has sold more than 500 units in last 7 years. Her life story and how she began a businesswoman in crane sector.

Cranesy.com: Your Background, your story, how did you join the company?
My “background” is nice but my “front ground” is even better (just joking)!
I came to Italy when I was 19 to study and I didn’t leave it anymore. It’s in my heart and in my blood with its sun, hot red pepper and great red wine. I got my double degree at both Italian and Russian Universities in Economics and management. I have always been dreaming to run a company and lead my own team.
Before founding BSL Group (www.bsl-machinery.com) with my ex partner, I had some years of experience in the Security and Protection sector. I suppose that working in a sector with high density of men is my hobby.
In 2005 the BSL Trading has been founded and then in 2007 it has been rebranded as BSL Group International (www.bsl-machinery.com) . This was due to my passion for “steel machines” like JCB and Terex. In the last years we sold more than 500 units of cranes, mixers, telehandlers, etc around the world.
Today the great staff of BSL is 99% female. I love “my top girls” and I’m very proud of the job they do.
Hi, Girls! Thank you all!

Cranesy.com: Vantage points of female entrepreneurs? What do you think about team work?
The advantage to work with women is that you are continually updated on the last style and fashion trends.
Team Work is the power of our company! We achieve our great results thanks to it. Everyone is important in the the BSL Team. I love my company and I’m really happy to work with them.
All “BSL Girls” speak foreign languages from 2 to 5: English, Italian, French, German, Spanish, Russian, Ukrainian. We get requests from all over the world and we professionally manage 40-60 inquiries per day. We have good customers in Kenya and Kazakhistan, Seychelles and Canada, Russia and New Zealand, Australia and Burkina Faso, Belgium and Tanzania, etc. and we basically supply mobile AT and RT cranes, tower and self-erecting cranes, telehandlers and self-loading concrete mixers.
The motto of “BSL Team” is: Work with Us! Work with Trust! Trust is one of the biggest values that our company has. Here there are some nice things that our customers think about us: http://www.bsl-machinery.com/our-clients/
Many thanks to all our clients for the trust they give us! We do and will do all the best to assist you in full and take care about your satisfaction.

Cranesy.com: Do you remember your first earning?
The first time I earned some money I was 12 and I was selling lighters. After that I hated to sell I thought I would never do that anymore. But when I’ve seen the Terex cranes ! … My mind made a shift It was a destiny! So far we are selling them everywhere, even in Djibouti!

Cranesy.com: Should employer keep a distance or in reverse make friends with his staff?
I think that the best thing is to create a very friendly atmosphere in the office. It’s extremely positive for the whole company, for the owner and for its staff. However, that doesn’t mean to be friends with everybody.
I think you need to be virtuoso to lead a team and you can improve it only thanks to experience and desire to succeed.

Cranesy.com: To manage the business what does count more – university graduation or the character?
In my opinion the character is much more important than a university graduation. At University you study for 5 years and take your grades, that’s it, finished. The character is forged every day. This is a never ending process. Your character is your “life degree”.

Cranesy.com: Women are good at multitasking, how do you reconcile work and family?
Nice question! One day I’ll write a book: “How to find time for everything? Some tricks for Super Busy Business Moms”.
My life with 4 kids and a company to run is wonderful. It’s like a circus. A lot of fun every day, but I have to practice a lot. How can I manage? It’s Top Secret! But you can learn it if you buy my book.
I adore my little angels and I’m just doing my best to let them grow up happy. Some time they help me to organize my meetings with a company team. They have a lot of great ideas and I really have a lot of things to learn from them. In my opinion the management of a “business team” is not so different from the “family team”.
Yes, sometimes it’s not so simple to “maneuver” from here to there. It’s like to learn to guide a plane: at the beginning you are not an expert, but if you don’t have your parachute, you just do your best to fly. If you train every day, you become an expert. That’s exactly what I do.

Cranesy.com: How much time do you spend in your office?
5-6 hours per day, no more.

Cranesy.com: What motivates you? Any favourite motto?
I’m deeply motivated to lead a “Girls Team” in a “Men Sector”
My favorite mottoes are: “Everything is Possible. Never give up. If you want something, just do it. Be thankful for all you have. Love life! Do your best and Smile, Smile, Smile.”

Cranesy.com: What are your goals for the next five years/ ten years?
I want more beautiful girls into BSL Team !
To be a source of inspiration to my people for an happier life
We have 2 big projects for the next 5 years. But I will speak about them in my next interview.

Cranesy.com: Short questions.
Classic or casual style to wear in the office? Both.
Individual or team work? Team work!
Tea or coffee? Red wine.
Do you like travel? Any favourite place? I like it, sure! Any new place to see is great! I’d love to visit all our customers in the world one day! (Note: Dear customers, your invitation is welcome!)

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