This article was written by Daniel Tonkopiy, CEO of Delfast and the manufacturer of the world's longest range of electric flashlights:
When I started my career in 2010, I participated in 15 Unsuccessful work projects; So, you can say that my career path has been largely a failure. But without these failures and the Lessons I Learned from them, I would never have been able to start and run one of the most successful startups in e-commerce. This startup has made a lot of noise in the world today due to the production and sale of its record-breaking electric bicycles.
I will share with you. Read this article carefully and I hope you can use these 3 experiences for your success path and prevent possible job failure, financial, time and emotional losses.
1- Give the customer what he wants Sell him, not what you think is interesting
I arrived in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, in 2010 and became acquainted with a collection similar to Yelp. This part of the market at that time was still relevant and attractive. Giants like Google and Four Square have not yet fully entered this market. While working on this project, I realized that the city of Kiev does not have any services like Opentable; A service through which people can book their restaurant seats online.
After a bit of research, we realized that doing this is much more complicated than we thought. Doing so was not just about creating an online booking button. We had to design a large customer relationship management (CRM) system for restaurants to use so that there would be no interference between in-person clients and online bookings. In fact, we should have persuaded them to abandon their old pen and paper system, which for years easily met their needs.
Even after months of trying to build a better and more efficient digital alternative, many restaurants They continued to adhere to their traditional methods and did not welcome our new system.
Like any other standard upgrade, it took time for restaurants and their customers to switch to this new system. This convenient 24-hour, 7-day-a-week reservation system, which allowed the table to be booked in just a few seconds using the Internet, was not yet attractive to restaurant owners. They still did not see any reason to change their behavior, as their customers, as usual, called a few hours in advance and booked the seat they wanted.
According to secondary surveys, we found that among the more than 2,000 restaurants in the city There were bags, only a few dozen of which had problems with their reservation system and found the new system interesting and valuable; So we spent a lot of resources developing and running a system that our customers didn't even need.
Four years later, even though we started with a Great business idea, I had to stop. Take the losses and sell the company. Years later, similar ideas were repeated and some of them succeeded. The only problem is meeting the customer's needs and at the right time.
2- If the customer wants to buy something from you, sell it!
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My current business, Delfast, is best known for its record-breaking electric bikes. But this collection started operating in 2014 as a postal startup! We planned to run a 1-hour postal delivery program in Kyiv, and electric bicycles were our portfolio of choice.
We initially bought several bikes to get started, but to no avail. We needed bicycles that could travel 150 to 200 kilometers in the cold air of Kiev with a single charge during the day.
After a bit of searching, we found none of the e-bikes on the market needed We are not fit; So, desperately, we started designing and building our own bikes, and the idea worked very well, and it was well received! These became quality bikes that were the best in the world in terms of battery consumption. Over time, requests to purchase these bikes were sent to us and more attention was paid to them.
At that time, I felt very bad to write on the front door of the company, "We do not sell bikes here." It took me about a year to realize that all this time we were looking at the natural demand for what we had produced and not responding to it!
In 2017, I decided to bring these bikes to the show. I took Interbike and we were met with an amazing welcome. We launched our Kickstarter financing campaign to bring our bikes to market. Our goal was to raise $ 50,000, but we eventually raised $ 165,000.
The natural and organic demand for these long-distance electric bikes convinced me that this business was an attractive idea It is crucial. The production of quality electric bikes that can travel long distances was very attractive to the green world today and was welcomed by many. It was an opportunity to build an attractive and sustainable position in an industry that had already come to terms with its true merit and demand for our product.
So we sold the 1-hour postal delivery business in Kiev in 2020 and focused We focus on building world-class, high-quality bikes. h2>
I was talking to a friend who was able to launch a crowdfunding campaign. Raise about $ 1 million in six funding campaigns. He talked to me about why this idea of an electric bike is worth supporting.
I thought our idea of an electric bike was good enough and useful, but my friend had several different financing campaigns with He showed me the subject of electric bicycles. It was here that I realized that our company needs a very important and vital competitive advantage. Something that can set us apart from these competitors and lead the audience to the conclusion that they need to support our business. To be successful, he must be able to make products that are 10 times better than the products on the market. In our business, it was not physically possible to build a bike that was 10 times lighter than other competitors' bikes. On the other hand, it was not possible to build bicycles 10 times cheaper and there was no economic justification; So we decided to work on the issue of distance.
Even our first test bikes were much better than 99% of our competitors' e-bikes. The bicycles of our rival companies could travel about 30-40 km without pedaling with each charge; So we needed to design a bike that would make a huge difference.
When we unveiled our prototype and test product, we asked a cycling champion to work with us on the experiment. The plan was simple, to ride the bike as much as possible until the battery ran out. Our bike was able to cover 380 km. Even Tesla cars at that time could not cover that distance.
In subsequent tests, the bike was able to travel 367 km and set a Guinness World Record. With these achievements, we were able to create our own significant competitive advantage, and of course a lot of media and people covered it.
I think Mr. Ben Horowitz's remarks It is absolutely true that the success of new and innovative businesses is not easy. For me personally, it took a long time and many years to get my company to this point.
But if you are focused on your market and your customers and focus on building a strong competitive advantage, The faster you can succeed and the more money you make from your business.
Tags: great, lessons, learned, totally, unsuccessful, businessman