Where to start a startup, FlowWow experience

Hi, my name is Andrey Makeev, I am a co-founder of Flowwow.com . This is an aggregator of flower shops.

In my first publications, I decided to go back to September 2013, when FlowWow was just an idea, and then, in order, to talk about the lessons and experiences that I would like to share.

Journalists often ask: "How did you get the idea to make FlowWow?" Honestly, I don’t like lying and telling these high-profile stories that I was sitting at home and wanted to send flowers, but here everything works so badly. Not! Everything is much more prosaic: I just returned from Moscow after the Yandex camp ( Tolstoy Startup Camp), where he received an unrealistic charge of energy and knowledge. I met with my friend and colleague Slava, with whom we have been engaged in various projects since our student years. We bought Chinese noodles in boxes and came to the park to the lake. I took out my notebook, which I always carry with me, and we began to simply list ideas, write them down and criticize.

As I remember now, the weather was excellent, it was a day off and families with children and couples in love walked around. And then we thought about the flowers.

Flowers is a huge, completely unstructured market, wild and completely opaque. There is no major player on the market who would be associated with ordering flowers, working very clearly and could influence standards in this area. Ordering flowers online is more expensive than offline shopping. There are many intermediary sites that charge 200-300% minimum.

There is no Yandex.Taxi or Booking.com in the flower market .

The idea seemed interesting to us, it remains to understand whether we can attract orders, and whether flower shops need orders at all.

I remembered the lectures on the camp about hypothesis testing, and we decided to make a page with an offer for stores. It was necessary to check whether it was interesting for shops to share their profits in exchange for sales.

Where to get shops? Everything is simple. I went into 2GIS , manually copied the emails and uploaded them to the mailchip. Then he wrote the text, the headline and did the newsletter. Our landing page was to collect the phones of flower shops who are interested in getting additional sales. Then we had to call them and meet to understand the market, how it works, what kind of margin, competition, etc.

The newsletter worked very cool, 30% of stores responded to the call. I repeat - 30%! Those who sent out such spam will appreciate it. I painted a meeting plan and started shopping. I had about a week, every day 5 meetings. It was very interesting. Someone criticized the idea and said that nothing will work out for us, and someone was ready to start working immediately! I received all the necessary information, it was very useful to “enter” the essence of business in 7 days. Free first-hand advice.

“Okay,” I thought, “now I know what they need.”

It's time to check if we can attract flower buyers cheaply. I found a nice template of an online store on Wordpress on the Internet and poured goods there (several bouquets). It took one evening. Then he asked Glory to do an advertising campaign in Yandex.Direct. It took another day to develop and launch the campaign. The test budget was 1000 rubles.

In total, we spent 250 rubles to attract 1 client. In general, this is a good result, you can do it.
I checked very carefully whether there are similar projects in Russia and the world. In September 2013, I did not find anything similar. And I realized - you need to do it.

Here is a story. Some useful conclusions that we have made for ourselves:

1. Criticize your ideas, discuss, transfer yourself to the place of the client. In disputes, truth is born.
2. Do not spend big money on hypothesis testing, do everything as quickly and simply as possible. If you don’t shoot, then save time and money.
3. No need to cut the product. I am not a developer, but I know for sure that a website landing can be done independently and for free in 1 hour - this is a fact. If you are a developer, then you need to drop your perfectionism and do everything simply and quickly.
4. You need to learn very quickly. Before the first meeting with flower shops, I didn’t understand anything at all in flowers and only once in my life I bought flowers through the Internet. But in a week of meeting with industry professionals, I felt like a real florist.

The story I wrote above is pure customer development, about which there is a lot of information on the Internet. If you do not know what it is, then read.

In the next issue: How to put together a dream team without money.

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