Christian Holzapfel (middle) works closely with the two Klarx founders Florian (left) and Matthias Handschuh.

“As Close to Customers as Possible” – How Klarx Works

How do Munich startups work? What tips do individual employees have to share with other teams? We asked ourselves and of course some startups just that. Christian Holzapfel, Communications Manager at the digital construction equipment rental company Klarx, answered our questions.

Munich Startup: What does your morning routine look like?

Christian Holzapfel from Klarx: Something every day has in common is that I look at the daily news first thing at home. I browse through general news and news about construction and startups. Then I’m in the know for the day and my initial curiosity is satisfied. That’s important because when I get to the office, I always start with a bigger task that requires my concentration. That’s followed by our team huddle and then it’s time for emails, which can often lead to distraction.

At the office: Always a bigger task first

Munich Startup: What is your favorite tool at work?

Christian Holzapfel from Klarx: As boring as it sounds: G Suite. It brings together all information and work results that are important for me. It just works really well as a place where you can make progress as a team and on remote topics.

Munich Startup: Which three apps are must-haves?

Christian Holzapfel from Klarx: Slack, Trello and Twitter (but only as a personalized newsfeed).

Good books for people in communication

Munich Startup: Which Munich event is a must?

Christian Holzapfel from Klarx: A highlight is obviously Bits & Pretzels. From a PR perspective, it’s simply a fantastic combination of input and networking. But in all honesty: I go to very few events of that kind. As a digital rental platform for construction equipment, we’re active in a very traditional B2B market. I very much focus on going to industry events about construction and construction equipment. I would recommend that everyone should be as close to their customers and industry as possible. But that’s obviously much easier with a B2B product than in B2C.

Munich Startup: What book would you recommend to other professionals in communication?

Christian Holzapfel from Klarx: There’s already a very established canon in the startup scene. I don’t have anything to add to that at the moment. For PR people, however, I would recommend “Auch Deutsche unter den Opfern” (only available in German) by Benjamin von Stuckrad-Barre. He is a brilliant observer and just tells good stories. And that should also be the goal of a good PR person. For those who need the tools of the trade, I would recommend the magazine “pressesprecher” by Bundesverband der Kommunikatoren (BdKom), which always provides good input for PR work.

Meetings with 100 people?

Munich Startup: What is your favorite kind of meeting?

Christian Holzapfel from Klarx: Form follows function: It doesn’t really matter to me if you meet face to face sitting down, standing up or in a video conference. I like meetings where it’s clear why specific people are meeting, how long it take and what will be considered a good result in the end. Of course it was fun in the beginning to sit with the founders and let your ideas run wild and write it all on a whiteboard. But even three years ago with ten employees, we only did that with set expectations.

Now with nearly 100 employees, you have to be disciplined to make sure meetings don’t become too much or too big. What’s important is to constantly communicate with each other. And for that, you have Slack, lunchtime or a beer after work.

Stumbling blocks: poor coordination and ad hoc requests

Munich Startup: What is your biggest stumbling block in daily business?

Christian Holzapfel from Klarx: Poor coordination and ad hoc requests. Both mean you might have achieved a lot by the end of some days, but it’s not what you had actually planned to do. For me, a lot of that is driven by my curiosity. That’s why being disciplined with emails and writing down specific tasks for the day is important for staying focused.

Munich Startup: What gives you a boost of motivation at work?

Christian Holzapfel from Klarx: Knowing that the entire team is working towards a common goal is extremely motivating at work. When I notice early in the day that I’m making good progress, that gives me even more of a boost. But that always very much depends on which conditions of the preliminary issue have been fulfilled.

Munich Startup: How do you end your workday?

Christian Holzapfel from Klarx: Usually with an email that I had promised to send someone by that day at the latest.