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Interview in Y-Studio with Grabbarna Flytt CEO

Development requires patience and a helicopter perspective – the founders of a moving company gained new momentum through employment with others 

After an operational break of about a year, the young founders of Grabbarna Flytt got an outside look at their company. This year, the company has a new structure and new processes. When you grow fast, the business does not always keep up. This is what the moving company Grabbarna Flytt’s CEO Rudolf Ekström says. 

It all started in 2015 as a side job alongside the studies, but already during the first financial year 2016, the company had sales of 100,000 euros. Next year, sales were half a million. The estimate for 2020 is 2 million euros if you include the operations in Stockholm that started in 2018.

– It’s great fun to grow, but when you grow you have to keep in mind that you do not lose your pillars. For us, it is customer service and delivering project 10/10, says Ekström.

Since the company was founded while the owners were still studying, they had not had time to accumulate so much other work experience. In 2019, all three chose to be away from the operational management to gain new perspectives. Ekström worked as a management consultant in Stockholm for Oliver Wyman, Oscar Radeborn with Investment Banking for the major bank BNP Paribas and Mikael Sarpaneva with Business controlling at H&M.

– We handed over the operational baton to the operational top managers in both Helsinki and Stockholm and noticed that we have not built up a good enough structure for the company to grow further, says Ekström. 

Grabbarna Flytt wants to grow in a controlled and healthy way 

After jumping away from operational activities, it was easier to detect inefficient structures and processes.

– 2019 was a maturation process. When we returned, we had a different mindset, which meant that we might have observed things that we had not previously noticed or understood that needed to be changed, says Ekström.

COMPANY: Grabbarna Flytt Group

According to him, during the consulting job he got to see how everything works out in the “big world”.

– I worked with several projects where companies had problems and learned a different perspective. Now I try to look at my own company as we looked at the other companies.

In addition to a better structure, Grabbarna Flytt also lacked clear processes. For example, employees must have easy access to certain information without having to call anyone and thus waste unnecessary time on it.

– In the past, we have used our own brains to solve problems, but if you are going to build a company that others can take over, you have to have a better structure, Ekström explains.

With the restructuring, they want to enable the company to grow in a controlled manner.

– It is easier to change the structure in a relatively small company than in one with a turnover of +10 million, says Ekström.

Clear direction 

Now Grabbarna Flytt in the starting pits to develop an internal system to automate all processes such as administration and reporting. The goal is to expand operations to new cities in both Finland and Sweden.

– Having a system to lean back on feels safer than using the systems we use today, says Ekström.

The development and the new plans are continuously monitored. The members of the company’s board are good friends and are spoken to almost every day. Now you have a clear direction and everyone knows what to do – and not to do.

– Last night I declined a major collaboration. We felt that it was a bit optimistic to take it on. The growth would have been extremely high, which is damn cool, but you have to be realistic. Two years ago, we would probably have joined the collaboration without sufficiently deep analyzes of the project, says Ekström.

Expands the service palette  

The most important insight during the interim year was about being able to crystallize the company’s vision and mission.

– We do not just want to be a moving company, but we want to offer other services that belong to the same value chain that moves, says Ekström.

Grabbarna Flytt now also offers storage services and will soon offer removal cleaning to both private individuals and companies.

– We want to build a platform and a service company so that those who are moving can turn to one and the same player. If a customer trusts us and is satisfied, it creates a good platform for continued trust in other areas, Ekström reasons.

Like many other companies, the relocation company has also been affected by the corona pandemic – but mainly through the fact that the number of company relocations has decreased, the private market has rolled on quite commonly.

– Without corona, it would have been exciting to see how much more aggressive the growth could have been, but the direction we have chosen has turned out to be very good and I am curious to see how 2021 will be.  

The founders took a step back  

The idea that the founders of Grabbarna Flytt would take a break from the operational work was not born at a meeting, but had hung a little in the air. All three finished their studies at Hanken and realized that it could be good to have other work experience than their own company.

– We are young guys and wanted to try and see different parts of life. It was a good maturation process for all of us, says CEO Rudolf Ekström.

During employment elsewhere, all three gained an insight into other markets and were able to learn new things that could be applied to their own company. When they returned to Grabbarna Flytt, they mainly thought about what they want to do, what they do not want to do and what works or does not work in the company. In 2019, the business still spun on as usual and there was even growth – albeit modest compared to previous years. – I think it was good to take the step back and to build the ship more stable so that it can now cope with future storms even better. Despite positive experiences, 2019 was still a challenging year for the company.

– New people must take responsibility, but now we know what we need to fix and where the shoe is squeezing so it is easier to fix.  

24.9.2020 | Text: Michaela von Kügelgen | Photos: Elias Boberg 



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