The CEO behind OneGroup on how they grew revenue by 241%

Mattias Matsson

CEO & Founder of One Group

Mattias Matsson

CEO & Founder of One Group
One Group's revenue trends skyward. Last year, they achieved a remarkable growth of 241.7%. With 420 employees, they generate a turnover of €23.5M and have a profit margin of 8.53%. One Group is privately owned, organically grown, and now CEO Mattias Matsson reveals the secrets behind their remarkable success.



It's such an underestimated word in today's world. 

Last year, we grew revenue 241,7%, and I'm confident a big part of that success has been because we chose "be kind" as our core value. 

When we started One Group, we aimed to revolutionise the industry.

The plan was to build an IT consultancy company and break norms while doing it.

Strategy 1: Be the employer where people want to stay

We decided early on that we'd only hire kind people and give them the market's most beneficial salary package. 

We want to be a place where people to stay for a long time, preferably ten years or more.

And if you think about it: what defines the friends you still have around more than a decade after you first met? 

Let me guess - they're kind? 

Kindness is a highly valued quality in personal relationships, but it's often forgotten in the business world. We believe fostering a kind culture where people come first will make employees want to stick around, like that friend you wouldn't want to be without.

We define kindness as "people with good intentions". And that goes both ways around. 

Kind people also keep their promises. We always deliver 101%, at least, on our promises. That has strengthened our employee offering, as people know they can count on us by now. 

Give fair compensation from the start

As a kind employer, we don't want our employees to look over their shoulders, feeling like they'd be more appreciated elsewhere. That's why we've created a model for employee benefits consisting of twelve parts, where the sum should be better than what the employee could get anywhere else on the market.

On average, our employees increase compensation by 43% when they join us. 

Strategy 2: Dare to invest when others pull the break

One Group has had fantastic growth during tough years. 

When I started Professionals Nord in 2015 (a company I run alongside One Group), the situation looked completely different. As we were in the middle of a boom, business just kept coming. 

About a year after starting One Group, the pandemic hit. 

Competitors laid off personnel and cut costs to maximise profits. 

I knew we had two options - either (1) we risk money or (2) we risk people. 

Laying off a person is basically shutting the door in their face. You tell them to solve their problem, while you solve yours. 

That's not a powerful way to run a company. Our employees are our most important asset - our livelihood depends on them staying with us. 

I went with option two and took a significant loss. We lost around €400.000 in our second operating year but kept our best employees.

When the pandemic slowed down, we got a head start. As we'd been keeping a high tempo for a long while, the preparatory work enabled our growth to accelerate once the plug was finally pulled. 

From €1M in 2019, to €4M in 2020, to €10M in 2021. 

The fact that we chose option number two, and put people first, really strengthened our reputation as a good employer on the market. It increased our flow of both new business and potential hires.

Strategy 3: Make selling a priority for everyone, and don't shy away from doing things backwards

We do many things backwards; the same goes for our sales approach. 

It's quite different from traditional consulting businesses. 

First of all, we don't have a dedicated sales team. Instead, we have 41 individuals who actively build relationships and seek new business opportunities. They don't work with sales full-time, but they play a crucial role in driving new revenue.

Secondly, unlike the typical consulting firms, who find opportunities first, and hire thereafter - we always start by hiring the best and kindest candidates first. 

It's not until after they've joined our team that we start looking for opportunities. We never chase individual contracts.

We believe in giving our consultants the freedom to choose where they want to work based on their passion and interests. This approach has proven to be very successful for us, as we currently have an occupancy rate of 97%. 

Our main goal is to connect with clients and let the quality of our team speak for itself. 

Great people naturally attract clients.

Strategy 4: Let your employees be the driving force behind expansion efforts

We focus a lot on expanding nationally and internationally. Over the past three years, we have opened offices in 14 locations with One Group and an additional ten at Professionals Nord. Today, all of these 24 offices are profitable and experiencing steady growth.

The key to our success lies in allowing our employees to drive our expansion efforts. 

It's important to involve the right people from the start. Once they are up and running, we ensure that each office operates as a separate entity with significant autonomy. This is something that sets us apart from larger enterprises, where employees are expected to follow instructions to a larger extent. Our employees operate freely. 

We've flipped the traditional hierarchy upside down.

Instead of the typical "board > CEO > operations" structure, we follow a "operations > CEO > board" pyramid. In other words, the person running the operations in the local office - the one doing the actual work - holds the highest position in our hierarchy.

For me, dictating what our employees should do is an outdated approach in 2023. If I told them what to do, they'd just feel suffocated and leave.

Our working methods, however, remain consistent across all locations. How big each office grows, the path they take to get there, and the employees they choose to work with, on the other hand, are decisions made independently by the local office.

The model that has worked for us involves tapping into our top talent internally, and relocating them to oversee the operations of new offices. Their willingness to move around and jump onto new career opportunities like this has been a significant advantage for us.

My focus when it comes to expanding revolves around ensuring the smooth functioning of our offices, giving mandate, and nurturing national and international growth. Our expansion investments ultimately boil down to attracting the best talent in our markets.

Strategy 5: Grow the organisation and teach entrepreneurship

I always say that One Group is an entrepreneur school. 

In my experience, the best people are always seeking personal growth. And we want to jack into that by teaching our employees to think like entrepreneurs. 

That doesn't only fuel their motivation; it also enables them to take full responsibility and develop the business according to their ideas. 

While some consider this reliance on individual employees a risk factor, I embrace it wholeheartedly. I want each team member to perceive One Group as their own. 

As our organisation continues to grow, we create more opportunities for our employees to advance, requiring a certain entrepreneurial mindset.

With our rapid growth, new business areas, roles, and exciting opportunities for our employees emerge regularly. Equipping the personnel with entrepreneurial capacities enables them to develop their careers faster and yield better results for the company. 

Our goal is not to expect everyone to be an entrepreneur from the start but rather to create an environment where regular advancement is encouraged. Most of our employees can switch roles every couple of years which is a fantastic opportunity for personal development.

One Group is a great place to work for those who enjoy variety and new challenges. We believe in our employees and their ability to drive our success as intrapreneurs within One Group.

Strategy 6: Set goals from the bottom-up

Goals need to come from within the individual to be truly motivating. That's why we involve our personnel when setting targets at One Group. 

We've turned the traditional goal-setting approach around. Instead of imposing goals on employees, we let their aspirations guide our overall targets.

When it's time to set new goals, our local office CEOs ask every employee questions like, "How much energy do you have?" and "What do you want to achieve?". Then they set an individual target together. 

After that, we merge all individual goals into one overarching company target - say $48M, as an example. 

A common question I get is: "What do you do if that target is lower than what you need to achieve?" 

Then my answer is: "My job is to work with what we don't have. It's my responsibility to find new revenue streams and work beyond existing frameworks. If I want €50M as the company target, I need to come up with alternative ways of generating those €2M as income.” 

This interactive goal-setting approach ensures that our forecasts are highly accurate compared to companies that set goals without considering what employees can truly deliver. It also gives us a lot of foresight of when we need to get creative, which we prefer over noticing that we won't reach our ambition when it's too late to do anything about it. 

Motivation will always fluctuate throughout decade-long employment. It’s better to be aware, and give employees the necessary prerequisites to make life work.

Strategy 7: Be happy, but never satisfied

We're currently experiencing smooth growth, with no signs of growing pains. That's thanks to our focused efforts in our key areas: revenue growth (241,7%), geographical expansion (14 new last three years + 4 more coming up), profitability (8,53%), and employee satisfaction (low staff turnover).

The most detrimental thing to our growth right now would be if we started taking things for granted. We can't afford to assume that things will "just work out". 

Sustained growth requires constant attention and effort. 

As a leader, it's unrealistic for me to believe employees will put in more effort than I do. Therefore, I always strive to set the highest standard for our employees' dedication. 

The energy and tempo we have are crucial to keep growing. A lot of my time goes to making sure we keep that momentum.


/ Mattias Mattson

CEO & Founder of One Group

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