Founder Tips. Sergey Ashin, Chefmarket
“Founder’s Tips” once again introduces Megamind readers to the stars of the IT market, the founders and managers of their own business.
Sergey was born in Nizhny Novgorod in 1978, education: MBA from the London School of Business.
He worked in metallurgy for more than 10 years, managing TMK’s European assets, and as a consultant to McKinsey & Co, he worked to improve the operational efficiency of enterprises, including the introduction of a continuous improvement system.
In 2012, Sergey created the Shefmarket project - home delivery of product sets with recipes, the client only selects a delivery subscription (dinner, diet or vitamin cocktails) from a large set of 400 dishes, and delivery works in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Nizhny Novgorod.
To date, the Chefmarket delivers more than 6,000 orders per month, showing a threefold growth from year to year. The company's revenue is more than 20 million rubles per month.
Here are some tips Sergei Ashin shared with the Megamind audience.
1. Solve real problems.
Best startup ideas come from the challenges people face every day. The easiest way to start is in an area where you already have good practical experience, but do not be afraid of areas you are not very familiar with.
If there is an idea that you have fired up for, do it regardless of your experience and connections: often the professional’s view is limited by established practices, and this allows startups to successfully implement breakthrough ideas in mature and unfamiliar markets. The most important thing is that you solve a real problem.
2. Find your customer and adapt the product for him
Product adaptation is a continuation of the idea of quick launch. Do not expect crowds of customers eager to buy your product on the first day of sales. Concentrate on quick product development based on feedback and comments from its first users. Create the perfect solution for existing customers: it will pay off customer loyalty and customer base growth. So you quickly check the viability of the idea and get a lot of knowledge for its further development, including for a wider market.
3. Get started fast
Many ideas die just when a business plan has already been drawn up and work has not yet begun. It is important to start quickly, not even in order to deliver the product as soon as possible, but in order not to burn out even before the start of real work. The launch moment will provide invaluable experience and feedback, so do not immediately try to build something extremely complex and perfectly working. Set yourself the task to achieve the minimum sufficient result to test the viability of the idea in real market conditions. However, it is very important to correctly determine this minimum: if the bar is too low, you may simply not see the potential for business development, and if too high, you will not be able to reach it (for financial or other reasons) even at the first stage of activity.
4. Focus on service
Product-oriented startups often do not use the most powerful leverage called “service” to their full potential. Create more than just good service - make it perfect. This is also very important because at the first stage you can not do without annoying punctures in the quality of the product, and it is the service that will be your savior in the fight for customer loyalty. Go beyond the usual style of doing business, contact customers personally and they will help improve your product.
5. Look for employees with burning eyes
At some point, the forces of the founders of the project will cease to be enough and you will begin to hire people from the outside. At the first stage in a startup, it’s not so much the experience of the hired employees as their enthusiasm that matters. Try to find out how sincere and able to cope with significant workloads before hiring a candidate, because investing time in training hired employees is comparable to the cost of their salary. And in a situation where it was not possible to work together, it is important not to waste time and leave quickly: in the absence of internal motivation, a person not only performs his duties worse, he also destroys the entrepreneurial spirit of the team.Of the above, perhaps the biggest role in the success of our team was played by the ability to quickly identify the target audience and offer it the right product. If you get to the point with your product, the chances of winning will increase significantly - but, unfortunately, not up to 100% or even up to 50%. The success of a startup depends on the balanced development of all the essential components of the project at the right pace and with available funds. Creating a startup is a unique experience and drive that I wish everyone to find and experience.
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