Simon Schwall joined BIMA in May 2014 from a career in consulting. He now resides in Port Moresby and his achievements in BIMA include being the fastest market to launch and the first to sing at every company karaoke night
Q. What does your typical day look like?
A. I always start my day by visiting some of the locations where my field sales agents operate. Next I check in with the call centre teams, then I head to the office to meet with my managers. Together, we review the previous day’s performance and discuss any issues that need to be addressed. Once the sales team is in full swing, I move on to more strategic activities.
It’s my job to develop our product offering, which means designing new services and managing every aspect of their launch. I’m also responsible for generating and maintaining new commercial partnerships in my market. A large part of my role is operational; I drive the marketing programme, the sales strategy, a big part of the HR management and the accounting; so there are never two days that look the same.
Q. What do you most enjoy about your current role, and what aspects do you find most challenging?
A. This role has given me the chance to build a business from scratch, which has been an incredibly valuable and rewarding experience. I also love the freedom of being a Country Manager – I get to test out new ideas and concepts, as well as gain experience in areas like marketing and sales. The nice thing is that along with the freedom, I always get support from the global team when I need it, so it’s never too overwhelming.
The main challenge is to create a structure that allows you to delegate operational tasks as the company grows. It’s important to keep some bandwidth to work on the longer-term strategy and new projects.
Q. How would you describe the company culture at BIMA?
A. BIMA feels more like a club of entrepreneurs than like a normal company. All of us are creative and curious. We are all from different backgrounds, but we share the same taste for adventure and action. I am often impressed by how smart my colleagues are, which is a great atmosphere to work in!
Q. If you could give a new Country Manager one piece of advice, what would it be?
A. Believe in yourself. You won’t be guided step-by-step and you will face important decisions. It is vital to make confident choices, even though you can never be 100% sure. If things go wrong (and they will), you have to believe in yourself even more to make them right again.