“We Slept On The Floor And Spread Cardboard, To Somehow Keep Warm”

In 2010, Alexei Martynov became interested in Amateur astronomy. The first telescope they bought a gift for the birthday of my father, who in his youth too fond of the stars. “The apartment had a little, so he suggested to leave the telescope on my balcony, then to together to go over the city and watch the sky,” — says Martynov. Martynov gradually he began to sit on the forums of astronomers go on an expedition to go to the planetarium and the lectures.

“While Im not enthusiastic, I had no idea how many people are involved. I thought, well, maybe a few people in Moscow. But it turned out that tens of thousands of people across Russia. Its like fishing — only about fishing all know about telescopes think not”.

Martynov worked as the chief it Department in one suburban company. By the summer of 2012 he felt that he had reached a career ceiling, tired and want change in life. “I just realized that sitting in the same office for four years and nothing is changing. Especially there is no growth — all good and stable. And if things continue, I will sit there for another four years and all.

I had fears about the future,” he recalls. Then Martin wrote the application on dismissal. “I didnt know what I want to do. Went to the head involved and come up with something.

It was a controlled crisis. No one at work believed that it could quit just like that, nowhere. They thought that Im going to another place”. The most appropriate idea Martynov seemed to open his own shop selling telescopes.

“First, I was well versed in the product. Secondly, in 2012 the Russian market was overheated and was only formed. The first point for the sale of optical devices appeared only in the late 1990s, years, and even now their number does not exceed 100 stores all over the country”, — says the businessman. “Once we met at a bar with my friend, the same Amateur astronomer.

He then said that he did not know where to put 700 thousand roubles or wanted to buy a car, or something else. And I talked him and offered to invest in the business,” — says Martynov. At that moment Martynov own means almost no. He sold one of the telescopes went through a friends and was able to collect only 200 thousand rubles.

In this situation, the purchase of the franchise seemed to him one of the few opportunities to start a business. “Has a chain of optical devices — “Four eyes”, they just sold the franchise in the regions. I saw that the last free cities left Voronezh. So my partner signed the contract with the company, got in the car and went to look at the place”.

Business knowledge we had zero. I worked in the it sector, he is in the educational Fund and taught astronomy. We were two guys without a clue about what IP is different from. Before you go to Voronezh, they bought the product, it took more than 700 thousand rubles.

“Almost all the money was invested, and we had some leftovers. We were afraid that they are not enough even to open up, and saved everything,” — says Martynov. Even housing. Entrepreneurs found the cheapest hotel in the city.

As it turned out, it was a departmental hotel of the Voronezh circus. “And the circus was beginning literally from the entrance. The hotel was once called “Orbita” — is symbolic of two astronomers. But the signs came off the last letter, so we lived in a place called “Orbit”. There was absolutely creepy and wild night circus troupes that for the speakers, sleep and drink vodka,” says the entrepreneur.

The room they had booked for only one night, expecting to find a better option. The next day they went to look for a suitable commercial space. “It is clear that it should be in the center where in full swing, all business life. And center — these are low houses of five and six floors.

As the center of St. Petersburg, but not as beautiful. We walked along the Windows, with glued sheets of A4 — “rent” and called the numbers. Find out the price tags, I know the area”. The first day of searching did not bring anything, and partners had returned to the Orbit.

However, the administrator said that no other rooms left. “And when we said we came from Moscow, he perked up. “What are you silent. We have one room for Muscovites. But its 500 rubles more.

Will that be OK?””. We agreed, but it was the same room where we spent the night on the eve. There is not even removed our bed yesterday.

A week later, the room was found. In between searching for entrepreneurs ran at McDonalds. “There was free Wi-Fi and we were able to simultaneously do other things — for example to open up my own company”, — says Martynov. First they tried to register the company independently, without the help of law firms.

“And so we lost a couple of weeks, because I refused — with documents was not okay. Easier was to pay two thousand lawyers and no problem to register,” — says Martynov. Shares of the entrepreneurs are distributed equally. “We did not think that it should be otherwise.

When you first hear about the shares and what they are, its difficult to decide who should have more, others less, — says Martynov. General Director picked me because friend was entirely ignorant of business matters. Im a little bit prepared for the business. Something I read, studied, been inspired by. Watched “Business secrets” of Oleg Tinkov”.

The next two weeks, they were looking for equipment, showcases, led the room in order. Money became scarce and they were forced to count every penny, says entrepreneur. “All this time we lived in the store. The whole day was unpacking the goods, then took a jar of canned food in a nearby shop, like mackerel in tomato sauce, ate it and went to bed”.

We had a large commercial space, small office. Here in this little study we slept on the floor. The floor was tile, and to sleep in November, there was not very comfortable. So they had to spread cardboard, to somehow keep warm.

18 Nov 2012 the store was opened. The first four months of entrepreneurs worked alone, seven days a week. Immediately after the first two sales, they finally moved out of the store and was able to rent a house. “The average check of the telescope — nine thousand rubles.

Then we had a very superficial acquaintance with the books. Therefore, we did not recognize that you can not just take money from the cash register and you go out and spend,” — says Martynov. All the errors came to light two months later when it is time to submit statements for the quarter. For this, entrepreneurs at one time hired an accountant.

“Of course, we had a mess in the accounting Department, because it was completely wrong. But the plus was that we were recording it. Thanks to the habit of making logs. When all is recorded, this at least can understand. If we hadnt recorded, then it would be difficult to pick open,” — says Martynov.

As a result, the expenditure has been written off as a salary. Each month entrepreneurs took from the cash register 10-20 thousand rubles to pay the rent and buy food — business lunch for 120 rubles at the nearest cinema, says Martynov. “We did everything “in the white” and did not plan to make any tax manipulation. We had a proper lease, all decorated as it should.

So then I had to close the shortfall”. Revenue for the first month amounted to more than half a million rubles. Entrepreneurs are not paid for costs, but gave away part of the debt. “This is the beauty of the franchise — made from scratch the store opened, and within the network, which is embedded in promotion and advertising, and direct to us customers,” explains Martynov.

The first customers came a few days before the opening, when the head office has posted details of the shop Martynov on the website. “The first sale was without the cash register receipt because the cash register was to the tax at check-in. A mans birthday I wanted a telescope — not to upset him — says the entrepreneur. — Sold so he took.

And then I came for a check”. The cost of business has paid off for the year, and in Voronezh appeared the first employees of — two people to a store to work seven days a week. “The essence of business is not to invest money and then take them back. You need to invest, and so they make even more money.

Let piling up,” says Martynov. So after six months he opened a second store in the nearest large regional centre in Saratov. By the summer of 2013 partner of the businessman withdrew from active company management, remained in a share, but opened a new business related to astroturizm. “And I was left to follow the stores and continue to deal with them.

We got a great difference — we are each other do not interfere, he goes about his business, I have mine,” — says Martynov. Money for opening a second shop he took from a turnover, reducing inventory. He found a space in the Mall. “Everything was the same way — with an overnight stay on Board” — says Martynov.

In fact, every store opened the same way as the first, because all the money was collected and invested. So I again had to eat noodles and sleep on the floor. By the way, the third store was no exception — it is a good tradition and charge for success.

By the end of 2013, revenue at the two shops were eight million rubles, in 2014 — ten million and twelve million rubles in 2015. The company now employs nine people. “Our business is not that seasonally — there are eleven months, and there December, which is like two or three normal months. We have a year not 12 months, and 14. And work three times more and people stand in the queues waiting telescopes pack.

More queues close before the holidays. 29 December all lit-lit,” explains Martynov. After the entrepreneur has left to Saratov, and his partner — in Moscow, Voronezh profit point sank. “This is natural, because more of the owner no one is interested in the business, and employees are more interested in their salary.

But we work with it and build business processes,” — says Martynov. The main customers of the company are not astronomers, and parents who are looking for a gift for a child, says the entrepreneur. “We have at the time of opening had the wrong perception of the audience. We saw her quite differently.

It turned out that someone from astronomers purchased in Europe, its easy for someone to purchase on Amazon, or at a flea market. Its like with cars. Not all buy a new. A take with it”.

To self-promote products in the region, entrepreneurs began to organize free lectures on astronomy. The whole network has a special “Days of the open astronomy”, when several times a year the company invites a scientist or astronaut that reads popular science lecture, and also gives visitors the opportunity to look through the telescope at the moon and other celestial bodies. “We do the same — but lectures and classes more than once a year, and a few times a month. Every month I came from Saratov to Voronezh, and my co-founder from Moscow.

The lecture was something like 100-120 people every time. Then we went outside and watched the sky,” says the entrepreneur. “It was an extraordinary event for Voronezh — there do — he continues. — Us became interested in local publications.

Came, interview, plus, for each event of astronomical scale applied. When the Chelyabinsk meteorite explosion was huge, all the local Newspapers and TV stations rushed to us for review. We have there press conference was”. “Every second visitor asks.

“And you believe that the Americans were on the moon?”. We read it my duty to educate people. So Amateur astronomers have a tradition of free observations is to go outside with a telescope and offer passers-by to look at the rings of Saturn or the craters of the moon,” concludes Martin.

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