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Protecta Horvat

When one of Bjelovar's security companies went bankrupt in 2012, a gap suddenly appeared in the market. Protecta Horvat was founded in the summer of the same year. Today it has 22 employees and does business throughout Bjelovar-Bilogora county and north Croatia. The company specializes in providing security solutions for manufacturing companies, hotels, night clubs, fairs, festivals and concerts.

Plans for "Protecta" were boiling for some time as those of us who were familiar with the security market in Bjelovar realised that one company won't last for long. I was talking with a friend and we came to the next conclusion: either someone else will take over their business or we could try to negotiate with current clients and employees and try to find a suitable solution for everyone. And so, we did. The clients were interested in keeping daily (and nightly) activities undisrupted, as well as keeping the security staff that they were satisfied with. Employees were concerned because they have not been getting the salary for months now and were afraid of losing their jobs. In the end, we kept most of the staff that met clients' criteria and was willing to continue to work in a new company that we founded.

In my 3 years at "Protecta", we had a lot of challenges. Security market is a shark tank in Croatia and everyone's trying to get their hands on even the smallest percentage of the market which means that you have to deal daily with competitors trying to lower the prices as well as clients trying to lower the prices. Employees are drawn by competitors that offer them a bit higher salary. After a while, some of them want to come back when they experience first-hand that it's not sustainable to have a higher pay/hour then the one that the company is getting for the same worker.

Parallel with balancing between the clients and the employees, I have been cooperating with regulatory bodies and maintaining employee records, medical check-ups, gun permits and daily logs. Keeping an eye on public tenders, actively looking for new opportunities and periodical employee assessments were also a part of my duties. All in all, those were 3 very educational years on how small private businesses operate.