What Mistakes We Made When Creating The Service For The Ordering Of Transportation From Europe To Russia

Founder of the online logistics service “IRID.ru” Ivan Fisenko wrote vc.ru the column on the errors at the start of the project — talking about the inability to recognize the needs of the audience, the choice between their own developers and third-party Studio, delayed release, challenging the title. In 2016 our project “IRID.ru” was noted by a number of publications in “the Spark”, but then disappeared out of sight of the readers. The reason is simple — we had to immerse themselves in the work on the product and its marketing component. In this case, being too arrogant and short-sighted, we made some classic mistakes. To fix them, we had to change the project concept, process design, and conduct a full analysis of our marketing to make it more effective.

It was a difficult path, which anyway may be one of the startup so we decided to share their discoveries in this article. On spark.ru and vc.ru there is a huge amount of content, which prevents the error of the first stage of formation of the startup, but few people take these signals seriously. We read a lot of articles, materials on marketing and building the business and made all the mistakes, which they said. Perhaps the biggest mistake is the unwillingness to listen to the target audience and to do the project based on its needs. Personally, I thought that I already understood what our customer wants, how to work in the field of international transportation and customs clearance for about fifteen years, including almost nine years in their own business.

My arrogance and became a factor that did not allow us to build the right marketing immediately and led to the creation of the wrong business model that nearly sank the project. We were so confident that users will make an order right on the website that the first version did not specify the phone to communicate with us. All the forces we have left to work with steps of the order and functionality of the backend, and not even thinking about what the customer will need to teach to work with them.

Now we know that the most successful of our competitors only 10% of the users out in the electronic order with the first carriage, the remaining 90% are so conservative that requires the whole complex of actions for their motivation to online ordering. Our unique selling proposition in the form of instant calculation with a guaranteed price and online ordering, in our opinion, had become a strong competitive advantage over other transport companies, but in fact it turned out that for customers it is not the most important. Trust, price, speed and quality of the service provided — these are the foundations on which to build b2b online product. It is this Foundation allows you to create a truly strong brand.

And all facilities such as online alerts and electronic documents would be appreciated much later, when the product will deserve their right to life. Blind faith in our uniqueness has created the illusion that the orders go, once people see the technology and begin to pass from mouth to mouth all its advantages and benefits. We were afraid that in the early stages of development, initial sales will literally carry us and we should be prepared for a lightning scaling. There was a clear belief that we need to build a separate company, which will be independent and self-sufficient, and staff will work on clear, thoughtful scripts, as usually taught different guru.

The first Manager that we hired, has destroyed the illusion, proving to us that in the field of expert b2b service cannot be so naive. Expertise of personnel it is impossible to efficiently recycle to the script, you still have clients there will be questions, answers to which required a certain qualification. My main, a classic logistics business started to become a competitor to the e-service “IRID.ru” as we existed in the same market segment, offering services to the target audience. Its beginning to affect my relationship with partner and team of a major logistics business and led to permanent conflicts and disputes. Initially, the idea of combining the two companies, one of which already has a strong and experienced team, were selected by us in the direction of.

The benefits of synergy simply were not taken into account. Sometimes I forget that my personal resources for investment in “IRID.ru” is generated only because of the success of the core business, I also need to constantly support and develop. It is important before starting any startup to understand the state of the market, study competitors, analyze your target audience, determine the sources from which will come the resources, both human and financial. Only after that, making conclusions, you can begin designing the first version of the product.

Dont neglect the classic marketing measures. It is desirable to learn to do it yourself, because you better not do it no one can attract analysts to collect specific data, but key decisions should always take you. Checked. Initially we considered the option to bring in a backend developer who would work with us in the office on a regular basis. Frontend planning on giving a remote developer.

We need a person that from zero will write the engine of our service with the possibility of further development of the internal CRM-system for the needs of our logistics company. In the end, we faced a number of difficulties when searching for such a person. We do not have enough experience in hiring developers and in command, there is a man with good technical background to control the work of a specialist. If the budget is limited wrong choice can kill the project at the beginning. It was impossible to make a mistake.

Logistics online services in Russia very few, especially in the field of international transportation. Many companies still consider the rates for transportation customers and leads manually in Excel. In this market all the online services and companies with their CRM system — beginners and pioneers. Therefore, we could not accurately plan future service development and to plan the development of at least a year.

Due to a possible lack of demand the online part of the service among the target audience in the first stage of development development would have to invent on the move to development was not in place, but it is at least reducing the interest of the developer because of uninteresting tasks and monthly cost about 120 thousand rubles, which at the initial stage you can let in is vital to maintain sales marketing. Taxes for the year that would be over 2 million rubles for the backend. We wanted initially to stay within a similar amount for the first version of the project. Finding good it professionals is, in any case, competition from large it companies.

We are a micro business and we dont have an expensive office, a strong brand and big budgets to attract the best talent. On the whole, the field of logistics among it professionals at the moment are not considered prestigious. All this makes the search developers time-consuming. And any delay in time at the start of developing a new project can ruin him in the idea stage. We have attracted for project development Studio that has helped create our first version and we are grateful to them.

But in the future the appearance of their programmers in the team is inevitable. About it our colleagues written quite a lot of materials, but we only want to highlight the most important, in our view, the issue of outsourcing. In the specification it is extremely difficult to prescribe every last detail.
You have to experience an almost physical pain, if you dont get what you expect from the contractor. For example, when due to lack of information in the technical description task was not done quite as I would like.

This results in a lot of time in discussions and disputes about how the task should be done really. Excessive waiting is torture, which is crazy. Sometimes you start to lose faith in what our plans come to life. But the ability to compromise both sides always leads to the desired result. POPs often small, but important improvements that were not planned and provided, but necessary for the correct operation of the product.

On their completion sometimes takes a huge amount of time and additional monetary resources. But even if I could spend as much time as possible and try to consider every detail in the technical specification, communications outsourcers still limited not only by time but also space, because the developers are separate from you and you have to spend a lot of time composing long texts with explanations and wait for a response at different times of the day. For communication initially used Slack, but then refused it, was fed up to her the problems themselves. Tasks were put in the service Bitbucket, where there is a built-in task tracker (Jira simplified).

If the developer was in the office, in many cases you can just immediately chat live and solve the problem instantly. That is why, ideally, need from your developer on a permanent basis, who needs to believe in the project and — most importantly — to love him. However, with a limited budget in the initial stages of work with the Studio, is absolutely the right decision. The main thing is to pick up intelligent and committed performer. By the way, the guys that we chose, gave us excellent expert advice on the development of a product that has simplified our original business model and persuaded to select this command.

Plus offered a convenient method of payment — cashless payment under the contract in the proportion of advance payment/payment — 40/60. What was also very easy for us. The creation of a startup is comparable to the repair of a new apartment. Youre limited in resources, but I want to make it comfortable and beautiful. Meanwhile, no one stops during another forced stop of the final improvements to come in the apartment, which already has everything needed, but still missing the curtains, doors and the like.

You may not even have beds to sleep the first time possible on an inflatable mattress. All the decorations you can add later when funds become available, but your family will live in his house, not in rented accommodation. Similarly, in the online project. Can be infinitely long “comb” each element of the design, modifying the algorithms backend, simultaneously coming up with new improvements and constantly postpone the release. Remember, its wrong.

Need as soon as possible to withdraw the product to the market and change it in the process of “running-in” on live users. This is such an important point to take into consideration is just silly. We launched the first version of the design, which was invented and drawn themselves. We did not implement a lot of little things and improvements on frontend and backend. The last set of corrections and improvements the developers made up only three months after our early release, but all this time unfinished project has been worked and gave us invaluable information.

Only through this approach we were able to see their mistakes and to promptly start working on them. The original idea was that the entrepreneur could order goods from Europe is as easy as a plane ticket, even if he has no experience in international transport. From this we proceeded, picking up the name. I wanted to stand out and avoid standard industry words. “Cargo”, “Cargo”, “TRANS, Delivery”, and so on.

Name Eride.ru (read as “IRID.ru”) is derived from the English “a ride” (read as “Arid”) ride the ride (we carry the team, passing load). The letter “E” is “Electronic”, e-service, and “Europe” — Europe. It turns out that we pledged in the name of several meanings — a trip from Europe, e-trip, the ride from Europe also viewed the analogy with the title of electronic tickets (E-ticket). We liked the sound of “IRID” — pronounced with ease and confidence. At this name and stopped, the more that domain Eride.ru was free.

However, we did not take into account that there may be difficulty reading and writing names for the Russian-speaking audience. Here were born many pronunciations — “erida”, “Eris”, Arid”, “Erida”, “Eride” and other variations. However, we are in a elite b2b segment, where the name, by and large, are not critical and can be frustrating, mainly when you dictate an email on the phone to clients and partners. In case, if we were doing mass product for b2c, perhaps the title would have far greater issues. So we decided to take a chance and not to change the name.

During the promotion of the project we will actively “teach” the user to the correct pronunciation. You need to take into account the fact that with our access to the internal European market, this title will help you to stand out favorably among competitors. After the first 8 months of our service we managed to return all invested in marketing and advertising money, earning 20% profit on top. This success led to the merger of our company with my main business and attraction of additional funding required for further development. What is most important.

In my opinion, is the fact that we gave up and left the work begun. And this is the most important achievement that we truly can be proud of. Send columns, corresponding to the requirements of the editorial Board, [email protected]

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