Dionysis Ammolochitis

Reaching the top with a mop

I gave the following interview to Oneman.gr and to Mr. Kostis Christodoulou. In the discussion we had I told him how he made the decision to create the Manifest and what followed in my course so far as well as what I believe for the future. See below what was said.

It is as unlikely that you do not know the Manifest but it is so probable that you have been served by one of its 600 employees, whether they are the cleaners at Eleftherios Venizelos Airport, or the security at a large multinational, or the man who served you at a private canteen hospital. Behind this ‘invisible’ empire, hides a 40-year-old who has written kilometers with the mop in his hand, the talented Mr. Ammolochitis.

His business story begins in 2003 when Dionysis was 26 years old and lived a laid back life. He lived in the same house with his mother, his father had ‘left’, his sister had moved in and had opened her own house. Every morning, Dionysis and his mother set off for work. His mother worked as a supervisor in a brochure distribution company and Dionysis as a salesman in a cleaning and rodenticide company. He was in this job for about six months and had agreed to leave, leaving behind a corresponding position in an IT company.

(photos: Theofylaktos Michael)

And a nice Friday, Dionysis takes the decision that in the process proved to be the most critical of his life. He quits his job and with zero capital but a well-crafted plan begins to build the Manifest. The first person he announces to is his mother. He asks her to resign from her job and start a company together from next Monday. “In fact, I had found the name of our company as all Saturday I was flipping through an English-Greek dictionary and stopped at m when I saw the word Manifest.” His mother reacted ‘outside the trampled’ to a Greek mother saying “yes my child, to resign”.

“I was paralyzed there. I say, he can not put an end to it. At that moment I felt I had my mother’s responsibility. Plan-B did not exist. There was only one way of saying that there had to be income to survive and pay off “We had a loan. And I did everything to achieve it starting from scratch and with zero income now.” For the record, Dionysis’s mother is currently vice president of Manifest and continues to be active in the company’s HR sector.

On Monday morning, Dionysis, with the Yellow Pages under his belt, started spying on potential customers for the cleaning company he was starting. He had made an A4 commercial and faxed it to 60-70 companies daily. The next day, he wore the seller’s hat and called to find out if they had received the fax and if they were interested in cooperating. If they were positive, he made an appointment for them.

These appointments were very ridiculous. I have a ‘disadvantage’, I generally look small. So then I was 26 and I was looking for 20. So I had taken a fake wedding ring and I was wearing bone glasses and some wide jackets to look a little bigger

“At first, there was no choice, even if it was a 50 euro job, we would not let it go. ‘Hard work’ is a mediocre expression. The first five years, and at a high cost in personal matters, the good days were what I managed I slept for 3 to 4 hours, my schedule was office and appointment in the morning and then over the suit, so as not to waste time, I wore the cleaner uniform and together with my mother and the people we worked with for each contract, I took the mop or whatever else I needed and I kept going. “

With the first money that Dionysis made, instead of buying a car, he invested to get to know his job better. He visited international exhibitions all over Europe and saw what the industry had to offer and how they worked. In one of these exhibitions he heard about facility management, which went a few steps further than what it already did. Offering services such as security, cleaning, maintenance and catering, facility management (estimated to account for 3.5% of GDP in the western world) enables companies to focus on their business by providing all third party jobs. to an external partner.

Even before closing a year, Dionysis Ammolochitis knew where he wanted to lead the Manifest in the future.

“In February 2004 I boldly closed our first big job. I learned by chance from a partner that the Sephora cosmetics chain would make a tender for the cleaning services. In the meeting I had with the directors of the company, I had, had not, closed the 27. At the end of our discussion, I got up and as an epilogue I said to them, look, we can do the job much better than you do now.It is your only opportunity to work with us at this price, as in In a few years these prices will not be offered by us. Ή now or never ‘. I left the table and when I returned to the office, I received a positive answer.

I cried from my joy but also suddenly realized the size of the work we had undertaken. Without having any staff, we had to undertake in a month the cleaning of a chain with more than 40 stores in 10 cities throughout Greece. “With a lot of ridiculous situations, overnight, a lot of work and a van going up and down left and right, we did a job that was beyond our capabilities and we managed to get on the map.”

Today, the Manifesto is ‘running’ with 40% growth, seeing its turnover in 2017 close at 8 million euros, employing 600 people, with 124 of them having been hired in the last month, as new big jobs are constantly coming, such as the Athens International Airport and Intracom. At the same time, Manifest has other large partnerships, such as those with Alpha Bank, Coca-Cola and Nestle.

Since 2016, the private equity SouthBridge has also invested in Manifest, estimating that both the company and the sector in which it operates have significant potential for development.

In Oneman, Dionysis Ammolochitis admits that audacity was one of the elements he had at the beginning of the Manifest and states through his own experience what are the other ingredients that one must have to proceed with the creation of his own business. “He should have a clear goal for what he wants to do and he is aware that he will make sacrifices. You usually make sacrifices for the most valuable things you have. He should grow through the part of responsibility. Things and situations that you can neglect in a first stage you can not overlook in the second stage of expansion of your activity: Responsibility to all parties, to your work, your associates, society, the state, everything.

The most misconception about entrepreneurship is that the one who steals, the one who steps on corpses is the one who will survive. What I say to young children when given the opportunity is that quite the opposite happens. That is, whoever operates on the basis of his personal values ​​and ethics, he is the one who will succeed. The system does not work at all otherwise. “

For what he sees the Manifest after 10 years, he sets the bar high. “It will have already conquered the top in Greece either through acquisitions or organic development and will employ 3,000 people. Why not, it can have a leading position in Europe, at least in the countries where it will be active.”