From Security Guard to Successful Entrepreneur: Dmitry Potapenko’s Business Story

Dmitry Potapenko

Dmitry Potapenko is a talented businessman, strategist and real business shark. It is able to survive in any conditions – the current crisis only contributes to its development. Perhaps the point is in his extraordinary approach to problems.

The statements of Dmitry Potapenko are sorted out by quotes – each of them is accurate, concise and correct. Out-of-the-box thinking, interesting appearance (height under ninety meters and weight per centner), wardrobe atypical for a millionaire (hardly distinguishable from a simple citizen). And the manner of doing business is also non-standard – the retail chains he manages remain afloat during the crisis and sanctions. What is the secret of this man?

From security guard to general: resume of Dmitry Potapenko

Dmitry Potapenko’s biography is worthy of a separate book. Businessman says:

“I am a native Muscovite in the fourth generation. There are no more…”

It is known about his championship title in karate. On his personal life: Married and two children. He likes to gain knowledge: “I studied a lot and still study.” In addition to the diploma of the Moscow Institute of Radio Engineering and Automation, there are specialized economic “crusts” MBA (economics), BABT at the Ministry of Economic Development, MBA (Business & EconomicOption) California State University (HayWard). Such a powerful base allows our hero to build the right business strategies and stick to his own opinion.

Photo 1. Potapenko knows how to

Photo 1. Potapenko knows how to “embed” competitors.

In the late eighties and early nineties of the last century, the hero’s career was far from economic: a nurse in the morgue, a security guard from a casino, a bodyguard for the president of the Russian Credit Bank. Working at three jobs, in 1989 Dmitry registered his first company “Cherny Bars”, which was engaged in industrial mountaineering. In 1992, he opened the Tusar electronics retail chain, a project supported by Natashkyang Korotia Systems.

The track record of Dmitry Potapenko is impressive:

  • From 1995 to 2000 – Vice President for Sales and Marketing at GrundicGmbH in the Baltic States;
  • From 1998 to 2001 – General Director of JSC “MEZ DSP”, Vice President of PBK “CreditImpexBank” (connection with investment development);
  • From 2001 to 2003 – Deputy of Logos companies, General Director of LLC Wholesale Centers;
  • From 2003 to 2005 worked as a manager for the Pyaterochka sales network (Moscow and the region);
  • From 2005 to the present day – the founder and co-partner (managing director) of Management Development Group Inc. (trademarks “Gastronomchik”, “Prodeko”, “Mark”).

Not all enterprises are the property of the hero. But the businessman made an obligatory personal contribution to the work of each of the entrusted “offices”.

Pride in what you’ve done

“I have always worked and very hard,” Dmitry admits. “And I will work, because life is work … and every time on a different one.”

For example, at GrundigGmbH he created marketing and positioning strategies for the organization. Looking for ways to reduce tax payments. Organized wholesale and retail trade operations with a turnover of $ 120 million / year. At GrundigGmbH, Potapenko conducted many internal trainings for employees, developed new services and products, and did work related to cooperation with South Korean, Chinese, American and German partners.

In a large European plant for the production of furniture parts and chipboard “MEZ DSP”, Dmitry had a lot of work – from restructuring the organization to drawing up an algorithm for anti-crisis management. Prescribed a business development project with CreditImpexBank. Optimization required different areas of activity – from working with customs and credit relations to adapting the company to fiscal audits. Managed a lot of management affairs – from a team of 2,500 people to structuring a team of directors (according to the Myers Brix typology). Engineering knowledge also came in handy.

In “Logos” and “Wholesale Center” he created a group with seven different directions – each was a channel for wholesale and retail sales of printed materials in Moscow and the Commonwealth. Here, too, we had to start with the process of restructuring. Everything is already on track – from the design and analysis of investments, products, services, training programs and seminars to the control of procurement, logistics and implementation. New activities also had to be planned.

In Pyaterochka and Karusel, Dmitry Potapenko’s network business included more than 150 objects. I had to interact with the “power-holding” bodies of Moscow and the Moscow District. This affected work with the Leningrad region and the Northern capital. Solved many issues related to the acquisition of plots or ready-made buildings. Dmitry controlled and coordinated many architectural projects in the required instances (all shopping malls were created in one concept). Studied merchandising, planned and supervised the activities of specialists. He took control of investments and financial flows, organized the pricing and marketing policies of the company.

In the same place, he prepared the company’s shares for entering the stock exchange as securities, and for the stock exchange as a new issuer. There were already 10,000 people in submission.

The modern ManagementDevelopmentGroupInc includes at least one and a half dozen retail chains, restaurants and industries. The total turnover of all “wealth” is more than 140,000,000 dollars a year.

Dmitry about the crisis

The indefatigable Potapenko believes that before the crisis, entrepreneurs did not work, but “ruled”. The pace of the economy’s decline makes us panic, but not Potapenko.

He believes that there is no crisis in Russia, since there is no … its own stock market. Western partners are simply curtailing their projects, and we ourselves are to blame for the fact that for 20 years we have been engaged only in administration.

Photo 2. Dmitry is perplexed about the conduct of many businesses.

Photo 2. Dmitry is perplexed about the conduct of many businesses.

Potapenko says: everyone started working only with the advent of the crisis. And until that time, everyone worked “just sucks” (quoting a businessman):

“It is now that they have begun to set some goals and reduce the costs associated with business processes. And before that, many had a business in order to show off in front of the women, ”Potapenko states categorically.

subway millionaire

Dmitry himself does not “squeeze out”: he calmly rides the subway (there is a ticket), the train and any other public transport. Not because he does not have his own cars – there are five of them in the garage (Mitsubishi Pajero, Lexus and KiaRio brands). The question is how exactly it is convenient for him to move around, when there are always 5-6 flights or transfers per week.

He believes that the fetish in the form of a super-expensive car is a real schizophrenia. And the person who thinks it’s cool has serious problems with an inferiority complex.

The impact of the crisis on the work of Potapenko’s enterprises

The crisis affected the work of organizations headed by Dmitry. It is recognized that the level of demand fell, sales fell by 16%.

Among the measures taken by the businessman to keep afloat are:

  • staff reduction (40%);
  • reduction in assortment (from 15 to 60%);
  • minimization of the area of ​​retail outlets (from 5 to 40%);
  • deprivation of top managers of bonuses (0.5% of the total turnover of networks).

Measures allow you not to go at a loss and increase profits. Rigidity in decisions is familiar to Potapenko: in 1998, he fired almost 1,500 people from the Skhodnya-Mebel factory in a week.

The emotional component of business is not about Potapenko. Even for their own products. In interviews, he often shocks with statements: he does not eat in his own establishments and does not buy groceries in his stores. “So you can stop seeing the main nuances,” the businessman explains the position.

Economist blogger

The originality of thinking is supported by the relevant theoretical knowledge and the huge practical base of Mr. Potapenko. Dmitry has his own website where he expresses his opinion. In 2016, The Honest Book on How to Do Business in Russia was published. What is said is worth listening to.

For example, being a co-owner of a food chain, Dmitry strongly doubts the need to label products for their usefulness. First of all, it will affect the price. Any such measure contributes to the growth of corruption: every entrepreneur will try in any way to get the coveted green badge for his product.

As for the issue of import substitution that arose after the imposition of sanctions, Potapenko responds as follows:

“We can talk about this only when everything is completely produced domestically – from potatoes that are planted in the ground to a tractor that will process them (and even by the hands with which they will be harvested). And for this to be so, it is necessary to revive our own scientific school and invest in technological development. But this process will take at least 10-15 years.”

Investments, according to Potapenko, are very necessary. Moreover, in those areas where technological processing takes place or intellectual labor is involved. Dmitry emphasizes:

Money has no nationality. And we don’t have the money itself because we are tied to raw materials. This means that we must first attract investments for the extraction of raw materials, then attract money from the sale of the extracted in order to invest them in something useful, for example, the processing of the same hydrocarbons.”

When asked what awaits his particular industry (and the Russian economy) in the near future, he gives the answer: those players who bring their prices closer to the level of economy segment supermarkets will make a profit in terms of products. For food production, a decrease in the weight part and composition of products should be expected. As for public catering, the “seer” predicts the flourishing of cheap canteens. We should also expect an increase in the use of barter schemes.

Photo 5. Potapenko's statements are always shocking, but they are true.

Photo 5. Potapenko’s statements are always shocking, but they are true.

Time will tell how right our hero is. So far, he manages to successfully combine not only the management of large enterprises, but also many other parallel responsibilities. And he is only happy: it expands his knowledge and potential, helping him to be head and shoulders ahead of his competitors.

Youtube star

Dmitry has a very popular channel on YouTube (link), at the moment there are about 100,000 subscribers (For comparison, Oleg Tinkov’s business secrets are 193,000). Quite a lot, given the theme. Check out one of the exciting videos.

Social networks of Dmitry Potapenko