Anton Buyanovskiy is the CEO of TableSkip. Anton is a thought leader, influencer, visionary, and successful entrepreneur. Anton provides the leadership and energy that has inspired the creation of TableSkip. Anton Buyanovskiy joins other leading CEOs and Founders taking part in our Leader Roundtable Interview Series. The DotCom Magazine editorial team has recently awarded TableSkip with our Impact Company of 2019 award. We are delighted to have Anton join us for our Leader Roundtable Interview, and our popular “speed round” as well.
Anton, thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy day for this interview about your company, leadership, and entrepreneurship.
1. What is the “elevator pitch” for TableSkip?
TableSkip’s online ordering platform lets restaurants take more online orders for less.
2. What is the key to your company’s success?
We’re really restaurant-centric. Other apps strong-arm restaurants and charge them high fees and commissions. TableSkip has seen great success by charging the lowest fees in the industry and attracting organic growth. Organic growth saves us marketing expense which lets us continue offering the lowest fee structure.
3. Many of our readers are just starting to build a company. What advice can you give entrepreneurs just starting out with a new venture?
Do think through the essentials like problem, solution, distribution, and business model and then de-risk each one. Try to validate as early as possible and resist the urge to overbuild something until you have data supporting the effort.
4. For other entrepreneurs seeking to build a business as successful as yours, what advice can you give them when times get a little challenging?
I think it’s helpful to occasionally take a step back. If you have no customers yet, think of why you started this venture. Ideally, it’s something that you’re really interested and passionate about, which should survive expected challenges. If you do have customers, just taking a look at how customers are engaging with your platform can remind you that what you’re doing is useful. I think this external validation can help you persevere when things get challenging, and they always do. Which is the other part to remember – no venture has it easy. So don’t give up.
5. How important is the commitment to client satisfaction at TableSkip , and how do you make sure your customers will become raving fans of your company?
As a B2B2C model, if we don’t delight restaurants and their customers, we’re toast. It’s simply essential because as a player in a highly-competitive and well-capitalized industry, there’s no room for us to disappoint our customers. We lean heavily on what I think is our biggest strength, our technology expertise. This lets us sustainably offer fees that are 10X lower than some of our competitors – in addition to providing a really solid customer experience. For low-margin restaurants, this can be the difference between staying in business or facing bankruptcy, and we’ve seen organic referrals and word of mouth advertising as a result.
6. In today’s fast changing business environment, how do you stay abreast of things?
I’m a voracious reader to start. I’ve switched almost entirely from listening to music to enjoying audiobooks, which helps me cover more ground when I’m on the move. At the same time, there’s tremendous noise out there, and a key secret to staying abreast is to selectively filter our most things. Thinking critically about information you may encounter helps quite a bit (what, why, how), rather than absorbing it at face value.
7. What is your “Why”? Why do you get up in the morning, and how do you keep yourself at peak performance to lead TableSkip?
Fundamentally, I want to create products that delight users. This is a process that never stops, and there’s always more to do better or cheaper. I’m glad you brought up keeping yourself in good performance. I think this is actually one of the harder things both physically and emotionally that’s not mentioned often. For myself, besides reading regularly, I also make it a habit of exercising daily. For me, this works really well in reducing stress and ensuring productivity month after month. I think more generally, it’s important to be able to self-reflect and look at your activities through a lens of a longer time period. Mental exercises like “ten years from now when I look back on today, would I have done things differently?” and the like can be helpful.
8. Can you recommend a book that has had an influence in your career? How did it influence you?
Some time ago I read Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Taleb, and I think it makes a number of good points. One such point is the difficulty we have in dealing with nonlinear thought process. It’s entirely possible that a few pebbles can build a mountain if the underlying process scales. In practice, this means identifying something you’re interested in and pursuing it with persistence, in spite of low initial returns, because the returns over time can be nonlinear and cumulative. The added nuance is measuring success of this as early as possible. The impact it’s had on my career is more broad, but relates more to how I evaluate career and product opportunities.
9. When communicating with your staff, can you tell us the most important thing you do so that they are able to carry out the objectives that you set forth at TableSkip?
I try to share the why behind the objectives. If there’s compelling reasoning, which closely relates with strategy and vision, it’s that much more motivating for everyone to carry out their objectives. In general, the culture we have at TableSkip is fairly decentralized with each group having strong ownership over their responsibilities. We’re united because we share a common understanding of why we’re doing certain things the way we are.
10. Can you explain what leadership means to you?
Leadership to me means the ability to align others into a common purpose. Good leaders as I see it are able to do this by making others want to get into alignment. It’s a bottom-up approach to getting things done – make others want to do it in such a way that the whole group wins.
We would like to have some fun and do a “speed round” with you! We will ask you ten more questions that we want you to answer in just one to three words only. Here you go!
1. In three words or less, what makes a successful CEO?
Setting right culture
2. Describe your business in one word?
3. Describe your customers in one word?
4. What one attribute do you look for when hiring an employee?
5. What is the one word you want your customers to say about your company?
6. In three words or less, describe your passion?
7. In three words or less, describe what it takes to be successful?
Curiosity, tenacity, communication
8. In three words or less, describe your first year in business at TableSkip?
9. In three words or less, describe how running a successful company has changed you?
Better at delegating
10. What is the one word that you believe has the most power in the English language?
Anton Buyanovskiy, thank you so much for sitting down with us for our DotCom Magazine Leader Roundtable Interview Series. We very much appreciate the time you spent helping our readers learn more about what it takes to be a leader. We wish you, your family, and of course TableSkip, nothing but the best.