Looking back, COVID Times Weren’t So Bad Actually

Anastasia Zhuk Whidegroup

Anastasia Zhuk, Co-founder and the Business Development Director at Whidegroup, tells us about the impact of the war in Ukraine on its business as a Ukrainian company.

First of all, how are you and your family doing?

Anastasia Zhuk: My family and I are fine as much as possible. COVID was not such a horrible period, to be honest. War in Ukraine has changed everything we thought important, changed our understanding of good and bad, and completely changed the reasons for happiness. Knowing the fact that many people lost their homes, their lives, and relatives, being in a safe place in the Western part of Ukraine with my husband and son, having a job, and money for a living is everything I need now to be okay.

Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Whidegroup.

Anastasia Zhuk: The Whidegroup is a Ukrainian company located in the industrial city of Zaporizhzhia. My husband Anton and I founded the Whidegroup in 2014.

The year 2014 was challenging for Ukraine – in addition to the need for economic reforms, the Russian aggression deepened the crisis and led to the situation where educated and hardworking people lost their jobs.️ By that time, I had already had years of experience in sales and business development, and my husband – had in e-commerce development and project management. With a desire to make positive changes, we decided to establish a company where IT specialists and highly-educated engineers from related fields can get the job after advanced training.

How does Whidegroup market its services online?

Anastasia Zhuk: Now, we are mainly focused on high-class content creation for our corporate blog and its qualitative distribution to get leads from organic search. We also have profiles on the most popular business listings and take part in discussions on professional forums, boards, and groups online to share our experiences and be recognizable.

How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how did you get through it?

Anastasia Zhuk: The Coronavirus pandemic had little influence on our cooperation with clients who worked in the HoReCa industry at the very beginning. COVID slowed down their business, so they needed to understand how the situation would develop. But as we work in e-commerce, the industry faced the rise during COVID, and Whidegroup continued providing services to e-commerce merchants at the full scale.

As we are a boutique e-commerce development company and tightly integrated with e-commerce businesses, we have also faced huge support from our clients after the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine. We adjusted our operational processes a little, ensured our employees and their families were safe and continued our work remotely. This time for Ukrainians is like a COVID lockdown multiplied by 10.

What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to manage your online marketing?

Anastasia Zhuk: Logic, attention to detail, persistence, and creativity are the most important skills in online marketing from my point of view. There are a lot of tools we use from time to time and for different goals, but the HubSpot, OptinMonster, Ahrefs, and Google tools are the most useful and relevant for us.

Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?

Anastasia Zhuk: Whidegroup competitors are small to medium e-commerce development companies and digital agencies from the US, Australia, and developed European countries. There is always one way to stay in the game – do your job efficiently and qualitatively, keep up with trends, turn your clients into brand advocates, and spread the word about yourself on relevant resources. If we are talking about how Ukrainian companies can stay in the game – we need additionally to stay strong, focused, and optimistic.

Your final thoughts?

Anastasia Zhuk: The whole situation in the world and Ukraine, especially, shows that people and companies have to be easily adaptable. Probably, I can name this quality as the most important right now for any sphere and industry – health, politics, economics, and more. Adaptability determines whether your country, business, or you as a professional will continue flourishing no matter the external conditions you operate and live in.

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