Business is not childish - Or how did an eighth grader deliver fruit?
It looks rather funny when, when asked about where you spent your summer holidays, you answer that you got up at 6 a.m. every day, stood in traffic jams and delivered fruits around Moscow . While your classmates were sunbathing on the beaches of Dubai and riding ATVs in the Turkish valleys. No matter how funny it may sound, but when you run a company, even a very tiny two-person company, other values appear in life. The vision of everyday things changes, the character changes , new habits appear and you experience new feelings , even if not the most pleasant ones.
In this article I will tell you about my first experience in creating a company, about what difficulties were encountered on the way, what mistakes were made, and why it all ended exactly a year later.
How it all started
Some information for your reference:
- The team includes me and my dad. Dad is primarily responsible for the development of the site, for making payments, for the regular submission of reports on income, expenses and taxes, and is also the only courier. I am responsible for everything else. Some of our classes overlap, for example, maintaining tables (forecasts, customer base, etc.).
- Starting capital - 10,000 rubles.
- The company's activity is delivery of fruit sets in the office. We buy fruits, sort them into sets and deliver them regularly to various companies by subscription.
I want to warn you right away that this is not an advertising article, therefore any names of books, Internet resources, etc. are mentioned only in order to accurately describe the picture of the events that happened to me.
So, it all began at the end of 2012, when I accidentally came across a book that had been lying in an apartment for a long time. Many probably know her - “Rich dad. Poor dad. ” This book taught me a different way of looking at the world of entrepreneurship, destroying many beliefs.
A small part of the home library.
Then, while still a 12-year-old boy, I decided that before creating my company and making “adult” money, I would first need to gain more knowledge about how this is generally done and what you need to have for this. And so began the period of active learning: reading books, watching seminars and lectures, visiting thematic sites. In total, all this took six months (of course, I did not do it every day, but twice a week).
Error number 1. Theory and knowledge before practice.
Conclusion: Having received an incredible amount of knowledge, secrets and various techniques, I begin to practice. And practically I don’t apply anything that I learned - either forgot or could not figure out a huge amount of information. Therefore, I draw the following conclusion for myself - theory and practice need to be combined, and not vice versa .
Then a series of ideas followed. A huge number of ideas poured both from the head, and from the Internet. The opening of the restaurant, the launch of dry cleaning clothes, pizza delivery. But after a little reflection on the necessary cash investments, I decided to switch to less costly options. Selling unusual goods, printing stickers, writing poetry to order, creating a mobile application, selling electronic health equipment and much more.
And finally I decided to stop on the delivery of fruit sets to the office. Why exactly this? (to be honest, I still ask myself this question). At that time, I gave the following reasons:
- Small investments and ease of opening a business.
- I like fruits.
- The trend of healthy eating is gaining more and more popularity.
- This idea solves a real problem - it’s quite difficult for employees to regularly consume fruits, no one will constantly fool around and buy fruits for a whole department, and if they do, then they will have to buy fruits at a mark-up of 300% -400%.
So, the first step has been taken, the idea is there, the knowledge is there, the light in my eyes is on, most of the nuances of this type of business are thought out. The time has come to write a business plan. I wrote it for about a whole week, displaying every phrase, making beautiful sentences, writing everything as on real business papers, even put a real stamp and wrote my own signature. Before, I thought that writing a business plan was a dull and monotonous process, but it turned out to be much more fun. Having written a business plan, I put it on the shelf, and as it turned out later, put it off forever.
The first purchase of fruit, the first order.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have a desire and need to get it, and when I decided to get it once, the perfectly drawn up income schedules, as much as 2 years, caused depression and longing. Indeed, the numbers on paper and the actual amount differed from each other by 10 times!
Mistake # 2. He drew up a business plan for beauty, and the forecasts came out too optimistic.
Conclusion: Some say that a business plan is necessary, others believe that it is not needed at all. I adhere to the first option, but with some reservations. A business plan needs to be drawn up quickly, and then constantly change, improve and, most importantly, use it. Regarding forecasts, I recently watched a speech by IIDF (Russian business accelerator), where I noticed one statement: “Make three forecast plans for income -“ pessimistic ”,“ expected ”,“ optimistic ”. And then divide all the numbers in the “pessimistic” version by half and get ready for these results. ”
Before ordering 4 valve boxes, packaged sets using cling film.
I bought boxes, stickers, came up with the name(getfruit is both the name of the service and the site; the top-level domain, Montenegrin .me, gained high popularity due to its similarity with the English word “me”) , came up with a logo and did other preparatory things. As days passed, weeks, months, in social media groups, emptiness, minimal contextual ad transitions, daily routine business ... By the way, the Getfruit advertising company consisted only of ads in two search engines, ads in two social networks and purchased articles on various blogs (this was negligible).
Mistake # 3. Weak marketing and too much time spent on minor things.
Conclusion: By secondary things, I mean designing stickers, packaging, inventing a company / website name, developing a logo, developing a beautiful website. And it would be much more important to identify sales channels, test a product, develop a marketing plan, define goals / objectives.
Business cards could be found on every floor of the business centers where we visited ...
Finally, customers began to slowly appear (the first order happened only after two months from the date of opening). At first, only small companies ordered, and then it even came to Sberbank. My dad acted as a courier, and I traveled with him around Moscow, making sure that all sets were delivered to each addressee.
Our typical business day:
- The evening before the delivery of fruit. I collect the boxes, lay the paper at the bottom of the boxes, stick the stickers. If you ordered a set of dried fruits, then still weigh them, pack them in each bag and put them in a box. All work is done with disposable gloves, and the scales are wiped with special antibacterial wipes every time. Therefore, everything was in order with hygiene.
- Morning of the working day. The next day we get up and go to the hypermarket. There, on the list, we buy fruit. It was funny when we returned to the checkout counter with a cart full of bananas.
- All the same morning. We arrange the fruits in boxes in the parking lot of the store. Open boxes are in the trunk, and we quickly put fruits in them, trying not to attract the attention of other visitors to the hypermarket.
- Day 9: 00-14: 00. All this time we have been delivering fruits in Moscow. The most difficult thing is to bring on Monday, when traffic jams are everywhere and when exactly on this day they mainly order delivery.
Once, Johnson & Johnson ordered fruit from us. Since I ordered 2 sets, I had to help my dad carry them to the office (I bought a trolley to carry, not wear, later). And then I forever remembered that look, either the manager of the company, or the accountant, which can be translated into the following words: “What kind of boy is this? Does he also work as a courier? Maybe they force him to work? What if they use child labor? Or maybe it's not a boy? It’s very strange ... ” Apparently, after they saw me, they decided not to order fruit anymore ... Therefore, only my father carried boxes of fruit.
Dawn before a hard working Monday.
Tools we use:
- Customer base, income / expense, taxes, fruit purchase - everything is done in Google Docs.
- The site is edited from the Merchium platform.
- To collect statistics from the site, we use Google Analytics and Yandex.Metrica.
Months passed, orders came from companies such as Wheely, Arguments and Facts, RBK Money, etc. (and it was the orders of these companies that added motivation to work more and more, it turns out so cool when someone really needs your product and service ) Once, after about two months of subscription, one company decided to order fruit from our corporate party. This was unexpected, and we were not ready for this.
Dried fruits are arranged in separate bags.
Literally in 1 day, we agreed to rent a small truck with a company, then we even arrived at the hypermarket to ask us to cook several tens of kg of fruit the next morning at the exit from the store’s folding room (it’s surprising that we weren’t refused). But unfortunately, when we sent the company the cost of the entire order, which reached about 70,000 rubles, we were refused, because we offered too high a price (made an extra charge of almost 100%). Another unreasonable step and a lost opportunity to raise the company to its feet.
Photosession on the "Krylatsky hills."
And here comes August. Only 2-3 companies regularly order fruit. In the yard sanctions. The cost of fruit increases by 20% -30%. Domestic fruits, which are significantly inferior in quality to European ones, are being brought to stores more and more. And this argument served as the official closure of the company. Letters were sent to customers, about a week before the end of their subscription. But in fact, the real reason for the termination of work was the loss of interest in this type of business and the loss of desire to get up in the morning to spend their time working on their company.
Corporations also need fruit ...
Mistake number 4. I chose the business not for love, but for the degree of difficulty in launching the project.
Conclusion: When I was searching for ideas, I decided to stop delivering fruit to the office, because I didn’t need a lot of money to start it, it was easy to start, I could earn a lot (the mark-up charge was almost 100%), and abroad such a service in high demand. And most importantly, unfortunately, I missed - this is the love of the product, of the business, of the idea. This is the same thing if a devotee of a healthy diet opened a fast food cafe, or if a person who loves to sew toys sold car tires.
This is how quietly and quickly ended, probably the best period in my life. And taking a short break, making certain conclusions, I proceed to something new and very unusual. But I’ll tell about this a little later ...