“Meet as Many People as Possible,” Says Turkish Entrepreneur

Ozum Ilter Demirci, Turkish entrepreneur. Photo by: Ozum Ilter Demirci.

ANKARA, Turkey (ViaNews) – Established on March 4, 1994, the Bayteks company handles the processing and packaging of capers.

Bayteks’ production capacity is about 1200-1500 tonnes/year, exporting to America, Italy, and Spain. Ozum Ilter Demirci, a shareholder at Bayteks Agricultural Products, is a business owner in Izmir, Turkey. She’s also Executive Board Member at the EGIAD Angels Investment Network, an entrepreneurial support system established by Aegean Young Businessmen Association. Ozum Ilter Demirci graduated from Koc University, one of the leading universities in Turkey, and holds a BA in Sociology.

Ozum gave Via News an interview to share insights into her professional life as a board member, the challenges she’s facing, and even what advice she shares with young entrepreneurs.

Ozge Güzel: What are the biggest challenges for your business in Turkey?

“If you’re creating your own business instead of working for someone else, the biggest challenge in countries like Turkey is you need to put extra effort and time in your work in order to follow the laws and regulations governing the business. If you don’t have the knowledge to manage this process on your own, you will need help from intermediary firms. Even though no one knows your business details as well as you, you must beware of following the intermediary firms’ advice. You’ll need to learn about a lot of subjects not directly related to your business, which will take a lot of your precious time.

A big advantage of owning your own company is being your own boss but that also means being responsible for all your actions. For some people, though, this advantage could be a challenge depending on the person’s personality and talent. If you’re able to identify the advantages of owning your own business and use them to your advantage, you’ll realize it’s far better than being an employee.”

Ozum Ilter Demirci, Turkish entrepreneur. Photo by: Ozum Ilter Demirci.
Ozum Ilter Demirci, Turkish entrepreneur. Photo by: Ozum Ilter Demirci.

What are the biggest challenges in your industry?

“What we do is categorized as food processing industry. It requires experience and knowledge on so many subjects such as raw material procurement, operational efficiency, and foreign markets access. That’s why it’s important to get advice from more experienced people in these fields and turn this approach into the workplace philosophy even though that could sometimes slow down your decision-making process.”

What’s your business Unique Value Proposition?

“In our factory, we produce a semi-manufactured product which means there isn’t overly sensitive attention to detail just because there’s a capacity for negotiation in order to modify a previous objective or mistake. We’re number one manufacturer in our field due to our strong mindset and discipline, and because we process raw materials as if we’re getting it ready for the end consumer.”

Please share a good piece of advice with young entrepreneurs

“I would tell them to meet as many people as possible. Adult life is not made up of semesters as in the university. Midterm exam dates are not given to you beforehand. You can’t predict who asks you which questions and when. Also, you may be confident about a certain issue but when the situation changes you must be able to adapt quickly.

You can’t get all the experience on your own. It’s important to meet the right people that provide the right answers, establish close relations, and capitalize from experiences to achieve success.”

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