Предприниматель | Информационно-аналитический журнал - Part 20

Former vice-president of BP in the service of startups

They were able to create a company profile of an oil, which costs $ 4 million in 10 months. Offices of the company located in India and the United States.

Oleg Giyazov (’23) and Oleg Parpun (32 years) at the end of 2010 have created a startup in the field of oil refining. Today the head office of the company RRT in the United States, Center for Research – Russia, St. Petersburg. Read the story of Oleg Giyazova about what, why and how they started.

Then, ten months ago, I suggested to my boss deal. I called him in the meeting room and said, “I’m terribly tired of all these people with their tea and mandatory corporate party! Let’s organize our company, but in it I’ll be your boss. ” At present, the value of our company is $ 4,000,000, and the head of it, I, at least in the legal sense. Our main office – in the U.S. are doing now opening offices in Delhi, India. Global CEO of the company is engaged in Douglas Harris, who previously was vice president of British Petroleum.

How to convince investors engaged in IT, to invest in chemistry

Last November, I and my former boss worked for engineering company – engaged in the design of factories to China. And then one day, sitting in the lobby business center with a coffee machine, with a sheet of paper describe the meaning of the technology. Searching the Internet venture capital funds and all those who have found this leaflet sent. “Thanks, but we do not like, we have IT-profile” – we got a couple dozen of these responses. In the end we still agreed to invest the fund IT-Foresight Ventures. On our side, was a model of technology and experience in the industry. Foundation, for its part, has spent to conduct a serious examination by independent experts on oil refining, and concluded a deal with us after her success. We called the company Reactive Rectification Technology, or RRT, have been registered as a company and received an initial investment for laboratory tests, in the amount of $ 100,000.

difference between the U.S. and our oil industry

At the same time we began to chat with Russian major oil producers, but it was just an ordinary game of “talking heads”. You spend a presentation to the “talking head of the first level” – a person not taking any decisions. After that, you can call back or call back. If you receive a call, go to a meeting with someone in the second level. We were able to reach only the third, but there also do not make decisions.

Prior to Douglas Harris, a former president of BP, our presentation was able to get through the fourth arm. One person from the industry, our friend, our technology has shown a presentation of his acquaintance, and in two subsequent contact, we got to Douglas. Then he was in Africa, and was about to fly to Los Angeles, but flew to Moscow to us. He said that he believes in our technology, although it appears to him absolutely unrealizable. In our first meeting, Douglas tapped the presentation and said, “If these data are real, then it is – yes!” It is understood that Douglas Harris – is a business-tank, corporate machine. It can push an opponent in the negotiations and to conclude billionth of a deal. We may be surprising – we’re used to other amounts, but Douglas always works this way.

He suggested we do the promotion of RRT in global markets. But only under the condition of American specialists thorough technological expertise of our technology. Over the past six months, it tested by many Russian and foreign experts. The main characteristic of our experts and “leaders” – to begin with spitting in the face of developers, and technology to look after it. I keep the most insane comments in a separate folder on my laptop, it is called “Slop.” Foreign experts will begin with a constructive approach, even if the work interferes with the language barrier and the large difference in time zones.

We spent the first talks with an expert team of Harris during the night, as they have in Los Angeles was the day. We both speak English with a colleague at the very minimum. Therefore, in order to begin a conversation on Skype, we needed a double break. Explained the meaning of gestures and text chat. For many more nights we practiced their English. In the end, all understood each other, and Douglas was to work with us.

difference of cultures

We will soberly assessed our chances for the implementation of development in Russia. Therefore, initially focused on China and India.

In the summer we participated in the project Start-up Roullette, where MBA students from 15 world’s best business schools hold meetings with technology startups using video chat, in random order. The decision to participate, we have accepted for some half an hour before the start of the project. Although I improved my English, but have decided to invite an interpreter. We formally dressed – in white shirt, tie, jacket – even though it was summer and very hot. Seven minutes after the chat, we saw an Indian in a t-shirt, swaying in his chair. It was a student of MBA from Calcutta Business School, the school with the largest in the world contest entrants. Both participants experienced some culture shock. Now we are opening an office in India, half of the project we are funding, and the second half of money attracts the very Indian.

At the end of the summer, we were able to contact the Investment Committee Skolkovo. We needed to convince them to give us the additional investment. Was supposed to be an oral presentation (up to six weeks it is paper work). Hurricanes in the United States prevented the arrival of Douglas in Moscow, and we decided to include it in the talks via telephone. With half of the first day in Moscow (2:30 am in Los Angeles), Douglas held the phone and waited for a call from Skolkovo. I asked him, that there were no sounds in the background, the TV, running water in the kitchen – so everything was perfect.

We had a fairly long wait, an invitation to carry out protection to the Investment Committee – we went to the office only seven in the evening (six in the morning at the Douglas in Los Angeles). All this time our American CEO continually looking at the phone waiting for an important call. Our presentation took three and a half minutes, and then performed a representative of our Russian investors. It was the turn of Douglas, which has already established a connection. “Well, you can not Americans,” – said in Investkomitete, and he was immediately cut off, without even explaining why. Former vice-president of British Petroleum from such treatment was the moral stress. However, additional investment, we still got it.

Doing Business in India: experience startups

Experience of two Russian chemists for sale in Delhi refining its technology.

Oleg Giyazov (’23) and Oleg Parpun (32 years) at the end of 2010 have created a startup in the field of oil refining. Today the head office of the company RRT in the United States, Center for Research – Russia, St. Petersburg. Read the story of Oleg Giyazova about how they opened a representative office in New Delhi.

The year before I was engaged in designing petrochemical plants in China. This work has managed to bore me, and I suggested to my colleague risky venture – to establish a research company in the field of oil refining. We created the RRT, with only a mathematical model of the new technologies of gasoline production. As of today we have the formal status of Transnational Company. But here the “formal” all the same keyword. The company has its head office RRT in the United States, R & D-center in St. Petersburg, and representation – in India. As for India, where we are just beginning, and formed an interesting situation there.

About printing

To establish an Indian company can be from Russia. It does not make too much difficulty. Just go to the Indian law firm, and they draw up the documents for 5-6 days. Then he comes to you via the Internet DIN, a director identification number. Next you need to put a few stamps at the Embassy of India, we contacted the consulate general in St. Petersburg.

Then it became more difficult. I met an Indian who spoke the classic “Indian-English” language, which is extremely difficult for understanding. I tried to talk with him for twenty minutes, and it did not work. Next came a desperate question: “Where to put that?” – Is a water delivery courier arrived, who also did not answer. Finally, a woman came into the hall, took my papers and left. About forty minutes later she returned and asked me what needs to print and where to put them. Explained. Next was the assistant to the consul, “You are this year’s first to come up with such documents. You have to wait consul, that he looked at them, then we can put the press. ”

Consul came after two and a half hours. “I’ll have to contact the ambassador, and give him a look of paper, and we will be able to put the press” – said the Consul General. Print on my documents put in another hour, and I just had to pay a visa fee.

“In the office there is no money. Prepare the exact amount or go for exchanges. Then on the next street there is a good store, “- said the woman. After missing a key somewhere on the box office. As a result, I spent six hours a consulate in print on documents and payment of 65 pounds. It is surprising that the opening of offices in Delhi, the scale of a half man needed a connection with the presence of the ambassador and consul general.

Business Delhi

After registration of the company, my colleagues and I went to Delhi for talks with clients. Delhi – truly an amazing place. I mean, I was shocked – I’m waiting for the other. When we were planning a trip, we booked a hotel room with a site that was pointed out the location of the hotel – New Delhi, the business center of the capital. Then I thought that surely there must be skyscrapers in Moscow City, and even better.

On arrival in Delhi we met did not call a taxi, and car era of Stalin. The car had a windshield, side windows instead of the holes and broken appliances. Our driver managed to push the car off and go after different ritual: he fidgeted in his seat, frantically pressed the pedal, listening to the sound of the engine, and eventually got his way.

With us rode Dmitri, our chief engineer, a native of Petersburg’s intelligentsia, who basically never swore. Yet on his way to Delhi, he stopped caring about the choice of expressions. New Delhi, in practice, was, like Delhi, infinite, three-story and dilapidated. On all streets overabundance of traders. They sell everything, even to the point that raises the stone from the ground and begin to sell it, and it’s perfectly normal accepted. Distributed to shave points in the street, cutting, fast food. At the entrance to the shopping malls (very small compared to our) cost tommy. Our hotel is also guarded by gunmen. And at a bus stop in front of the hotel every morning, sitting monkeys. Local residents disperse them out to clean up a place to wait for the bus. At the same time, there is no one wears a sari, and all speak fluent English. Back in Delhi is very popular education, especially for natural and technological (the whole world already knows about Indian programmers on stage – Indian engineers).

Real estate in Delhi is much cheaper than in our big cities. For example, renting an office in downtown cost us $ 200 a month. And this is a serious two-room office with kitchen, an area of ​​56 square meters. m, and not little room with a desk and chair.

Indian perspective

In India, very difficult to meet with the person who actually make decisions. On the most important customer for us, we are left only with the head of our Indian Mission – Adach. The client (his name without advertising we are under the terms of the negotiations) acquainted with his father Adach – well-known professor. In India, a very high value on the status of professor. Besides his son received an MBA with Adach, the business school in Calcutta.

When a client Adash invited for negotiations, he risked his reputation (and reputation of his family to a certain extent) he would have had difficult, if our technology, which we presented at the talks, was of poor quality. But the customer looked at the presentation and said that India – this is a good market for our goods, and even a great market.

Our meeting was delayed for three hours – all because of traffic jams. In Delhi, almost no traffic rules. Normal situation – on the wrong tractor rides, and this one is not surprised. He just gives way. But the talks with the client lasted only 20 minutes. But those 20 minutes were fantastic efficient.

In general, the Indian market is complex, but very promising for us. He is very big, and the competition is weak. The main problem of our competitors is the simplicity of the old technology of oil refining. Hindus do not copy and it is not to buy a license.

Our advantage is the essence of technology that we sell: it is much better, and it is practically impossible to copy. What is it? Recent global environmental standards for gasoline is very strict: in Europe is EURO-5 in the U.S. – MSAT-2, etc. These standards are very costly oil companies, and for them it becomes difficult to produce the corresponding gasoline. But we possess the technology of combining the processes that will produce high quality diesel with low cost. Technically, it is difficult, but the effect is excellent. Negotiations in India have shown that our technology there is good demand.

The five major mistakes startups

Story venture investor in Silicon Valley to work with Ukrainian start-ups.

Of the eight companies, the creation and development of which I was engaged for 21 years, half can be attributed to a successful, two good results, but only two have failed. When I happened to lose his company $ 35 million, I called my mother and told her about it. She paused for a long time, and then asked, “Now do you want them back?” I explained that I was willing to give not less than venture capitalists, on my next company. This is a typical example of Silicon Valley, the largest business cluster.

Now I first came to Russia, the homeland of his parents. I am pleased to be here, but still very happy that business is no longer a crime. I would like to describe their impressions of the startups that I managed to get to know here.

Emphasis on the idea of ​​

Of course, it is interesting to look pretty good idea of ​​the presentation. But it’s still not a business. The idea is still just an idea, even if it is the basis for your business. Ideas can be for all – children, dogs – but they are not profitable. The main question will always be a return on ideas.

I had a chance here to see a lot of presentations startups. Some were really impressive, but some were like my own 40 years ago. There was a detailed description of the idea, but the fact is that to describe it and get the investment – this is not the same thing. It is better to show who is the buyer, on what market you are targeting, where the sales channel. The original idea is often erroneous. It is absolutely normal. The entrepreneur can and should make mistakes, reflect on their mistakes and improve their project.

So personally, I prefer when the presentation is not only describes the idea. It’s better when it looks different. “Hi, recently we had an idea, and that’s what came out of it. We have made a site, and the first 50 people who watched it, have left terrible reviews. So we did the following … and attracted some fifty customers who have decided to order our product / service. And then we have added this, and thus increased the number of visitors and customers, and we have learned something new. ”

Repeat business models of major companies

The conventional wisdom about startups as mini-versions of large companies. But it is not. Startups are fundamentally different from large enterprises, they have their own characteristics. For large companies is characterized by the use of well-known business models. Startups also need to constantly find new, scalable business models, technologies and markets.

Those startups that fail to find new models, such as 90%, will leave the market. As many as 90 percent! Once I was invited to speak to a large audience, with a thousand people audience, and I reminded them that 950 of them work at McDonalds will be more profitable. But 50 of them will be able to earn millions of dollars.

Improper risk assessment

Startups some areas, such as health, science, biotechnology, have a high level of technological risk. You can understand that the technology does not work, just a few years. Cancer treatment – is not a question of market and consumer risks. It all depends on technology. While these companies do not calculate all the technological risks, it is not worth thinking about customers and markets.

But the majority of Internet startups is no technological risks. You can say anything, but you are not about technology startups. My opinion – every good developer will set up a base for any startup. The main case and the failure of major companies such consumer is thinking through the risks and the risks that are associated with the clientele. Internet start-ups fail not because they have no website, but due to lack of customers. Therefore, the main issue here is how you prove the investor, which will reduce all these risks.

Inability to learn from customers

First contact with the buyer does not maintain any business plan. All that is displayed in the presentation is just a point in time. But the presentation, I can not know whether you will learn something in the future. No one will invest in a point in time. Investor’s important to understand how fast, fast, and how wisely the entrepreneur can learn something from buyers and the market.

The secret of success of an entrepreneur is his ability to learn from consumers, but not his mind. Nobody finishes his business in the same form in which he began his. You need to constantly respond to customer behavior, rather than sit back and watch the situation on the market. Your startup should be changed taking into account customer feedback. This is one of the most important points for success.

Investor is not a rich uncle

I often have to explain to budding entrepreneurs that rich uncle and venture capitalist – this is not the same thing. Experienced investors usually have a portfolio of projects both 8.12. Every day they spend tens of selections to browse thousands of startups.

When preparing a presentation for investors should be aware that he has much more experience than you, more experienced mistakes and successes. For experienced Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and investors are critical of its values. I believe that the Russian venture cluster is necessary to work on it.

How to find out if it works good shop?

The main indicators are customer base and its back shop . As for werewolves, for the sites software stores an indirect sign of a good chance of success in their niche will be a turnover of $ 1 million for the first year of operation. It should also take into account the gross-margin – if it does not shut off the running costs, it was all in vain. With respect to the store customer base can be said that if the first year he did not have enough buyers 100,000, then he would not live, according to Felix Muchnik. “To the online store should apply the same criteria as for the ordinary enterprise: just need to know the effectiveness of investments, the average size of accounts, customer inquiries,” added the businessman.

How many visitors are buying something? Alexey Kuzmin Litportal.ru to say that the norm – when of about two hundred visitors at least one register, and in ten of those who have been registered, customers will be 3.4 person. According to Valeria Kovaleva, in order to achieve success the project should be 2% of the buyers of one hundred requests. Excellent indicator would be if out of 100 visitors will get 5-10% of anything, I am sure Oscar Hartmann.

There are online stores, to make a purchase that required registration. “Registration will scare the client” – says Valery Kovalev, creator Holodilnik.ru. Basil Muntean, store manager rubashka-na-zakaz.ru said that in the case of the sale of clothing on order of registration is important for future updates and details of the size of things. Similar view is shared by Alex Ametov from Look At Me Store: «Registration is required for the construction of the CRM-system (Customer Relationship Management System – control interaction with customers) and to establish relations with the consumer. In order that some part of potential clients will leave, will have to accept. ” With registration, you can also monitor the index of repeat purchases . If half of the registrants will get something for the second time, this is an occasion for joy.

How to protect against theft of the idea of ​​a startup?

Lawyer tells of the Center for Technology and Innovation PwC.

All variety of startups with their lives and stories combines the presence of “chips”, the idea or several ideas that underlie them and give them an advantage over existing businesses.

It was felt that the idea is impossible to guard or defend from attacks. Many entrepreneurs and investors share that view. But it’s not entirely true. Indeed, copyright law does not apply to ideas, and patents protect only individual technical, artistic and engineering achievements. However, this does not mean a complete lack of ways to protect startup.

Below we describe some ways to protect your startup, as well as their comparative advantages and disadvantages. We will not discuss asset protection startups that are connected with his idea, including the protection of computer programs, domain names and trademarks. These decisions should be discussed separately.

Gentleman’s agreement

In this paper the ideas of entrepreneurs often use the so-called gentlemen’s agreement. Such an agreement concluded orally with partners and investors. The idea of ​​a startup disclose certain circle of persons (partners and investors), which, in turn, agree not to transfer the idea to others and do not use it without the knowledge of the entrepreneur.

Advantages: Easy and informal approach. To participate in such an agreement can any citizen, not necessarily registered as a sole proprietorship.

Disadvantages: The practical difficulty of its application. This is due to the fact that there are no clear written obligations of the parties, no data on the volume and substance of the disclosed ideas, no sanctions for violations of the agreement. Seems improbable judgment in favor of the entrepreneur, if he requires an oral perpetrator gentlemen’s agreement. Perhaps more likely is that the entrepreneur will ruin his reputation and gain the specific “known” in the business community.

Confidentiality agreement

Privacy policy, drawn up in writing, is an improved version of a gentlemen’s agreement, without the inherent drawbacks. Written confidentiality agreement is an agreement on mutual rights and obligations of the parties (the entrepreneur reveals how the idea of ​​the party and a partner or investor as a party that takes the idea) on the disclosure and use of the ideas of responsibility for the commitments and other details.

Advantages: The relative simplicity. It is likely judgment for the employer at the request of perpetrator of such an agreement. To participate in such an agreement can any citizen, not necessarily registered as a sole proprietorship.

Disadvantages: Difficulty formulations. Such an agreement will require some effort of the parties, such as the exact formulation of the obligations, or when referring to the spirit and scope of its disclosure, specifying the order of dispute resolution, the size of liability and its application.

Design know-how

Russia is possible for entrepreneurs legalization of know-how. Russian law has a special definition of the term – the know-how means information of any kind (technical, economic, industrial, institutional and others), including the results of intellectual activity in science and technology, as well as information about how to perform professional activities . Such information must have actual or potential commercial value because of the unknown to a third party, any third party should not have free access to such information on a legal basis, in respect of such information, the holder has entered the regime of commercial secrecy.

Advantages: The ability to attract the violator in civil and criminal liability.

Disadvantages: 1. such a method in accordance with Russian legislation is only available to legal entities and individual entrepreneurs. That is, individuals use it is not available.
Two. Mandatory introduction of trade secrets. The entrepreneur should be sure to enter a regime of trade secrets and maintain compliance with its ideas of the requirements established in law. This will have to: determine the list of know-how to set the order of handling and to monitor compliance with this order, maintain a record of everyone who has access to the know-how and to whom it was transferred, to regulate the relationship with employees and contractors, who are also investors and partners , affix a stamp, “trade secret” and specify the owner of these data.

The main advice to entrepreneurs who want to defend the idea of ​​a startup, will focus on the ratio of labor protection method and its effectiveness. For those who are beginning to develop the idea of ​​a product or service, the best choice would be a confidentiality agreement. For situations where the studies were conducted, there is a ready-made formula (model, an algorithm prototype), which will be the core of the enterprise, the introduction of the regime of commercial secrecy and protection of ideas as the know-how.

Experience shows that better pre-prepared to defend business ideas that will make this defense much more effectively. Combine creativity in the development of start-up with the idea of ​​consulting professionals to protect it, and it will contribute to the success of the enterprise as a whole. If correctly formulate the terms of the privacy issue right know-how and thoroughly prepare a defense business, it can help you even in the face of complex legislation and contradictions in the jurisprudence.

Start-up in real estate in crisis

You can, if the creator has introduced a brand new market for the business model.

Bill Haney and Maura McCarthy took the decision to create a company for the production of prefabricated houses during the 2008 crisis, when the destruction befell many construction companies in the U.S., and it looked like an unexpected, and perhaps folly. They gathered to sell manufactured in a factory, designed by architect homes, corresponding to the “green” standards, designed for one family. Their homes were energy efficient appliances, and construction retains heat well. It was planned to reach an audience of buyers of upper-middle income, with environmental consciousness. Haney says that “since I had the courage to open a new business during a recession, this thing must be really unusual.”

Bill Haney, the owner of forty percent of the company, wears jeans, sport jacket and baseball cap, and free from the production house spends time shooting documentaries. (In his last film “Last Mountain”, he showed how coal is mined by open, which cut off the mountain. This film starred Robert F. Kennedy Jr.). From Maura McCarthy, capitalist, engaged in venture investment, Haney made the acquaintance in 2005 event, World Connect, a nonprofit organization of public health problems of developing countries. McCarthy and provided funds for the production of prefabricated houses.

These prefabricated (modular) design houses have been a popular topic for discussion in architectural journals during the rise in real estate. But the mass production of “green” buildings – in housing construction is an analogue of Toyota Prius – there was no economic effect. Difficult was the task of engineers – to construct a house that can fit on a truck platform, moreover, quite comfortable. In addition, buyers who care about the environment, many individuals are making adjustments. According to a former editor of Dwell magazine Eyrif Ellison, who wrote a book about modular homes in 2002, “the number of options to flow, which prevented the achievement of economic benefit from mass production. In the end, most projects are getting personal, which led to the ruin of some manufacturers. ”

The company Blu Homes, founded by Bill Haney and Maura McCarthy, headquartered in Uolteme, Mass., uses a completely different business model. Their advantage is the use of steel and special software. Their original software improves the automation of the design, production and order houses. A huge steel frames with hinges to help in the placement of the modules of houses on a standard Blu Homes, a width of 260 cm, and a trailer. These solutions enable companies to provide more options to customers and receive a profit. Preparation houses to be sent to the factory and build it in place are going to deliver the same work.

At the start of Blu Homes have managed to attract $ 25 million, as their business plan was realistic enough for a variety of investors, such as Abby Disney, great-niece of Walt Disney. A certain amount of investment has been directed to purchase mkDesigns, well-known manufacturer of prefabricated houses, which was founded by Michelle Kaufmann, San Francisco, and this acquisition provided the company a reputation for Blu Homes ‘green’ profile, and several awards for their architectural projects.

The company Blu Homes from its inception in 2008, managed to build 28 houses in the price range of $ 125,000 – $ 500,000 (this price does not include the price of land) and has received orders for 42 houses. Maura McCarthy hopes that his company supported by Blu Homes on the East Coast of the USA in 2013 to build 50 homes a year and be profitable. In 2011 it was planned to open a factory north of San Francisco. And what will happen again unless the decline in real estate? “Society tends to become more” green “, people try to save energy and maintain a healthier lifestyle – it was a cultural trend, and the economic difficulties will not change it” – says Haney.

In Massachusetts the factory Blu Homes, an area of ​​11,000 square meters. m, collected by the house Glidehouse, an area of ​​150 sq. km. m It is made to order from a retired senior engineer at Boeing in Seattle. The process takes about six weeks. When complete all the work, lay down their walls and floors, like a cardboard box, and the whole house – from the toilets with reduced water flow and ending with the kitchen sink – will fit on the loading platform. The dimensions of each wing of the building in the unfolded state – 5.5 m wide and 14.5 meters in length. When delivered to the construction of an assembly plant for its consolidation and connection of sections of leaves per day, and the other finishing work – about a week.

The system of CATIA, with which architects Blu Homes are constructed folding at home, developed by Dassault Systemes.Eta same program is used by Boeing to design and load testing aircraft. When you need to make changes to the project, the system determines the engineering parameters to calculate the cost estimate and sends for the costs of materials to the factory. Now the company Blu Homes is preparing a new interface with which customers will be able to look at the three-dimensional model of the building in virtual mode and go through thousands of options, starting with the location of the kitchen and finishing trims mark on the windows. The fact that Blu Homes uses steel frames instead of wooden, allows them to build resistance to strong winds and heavy snowfalls homes. Besides steel, the project gives the opportunity to place doors and windows almost anywhere due to lack of load-bearing walls. According to McCarthy, “it’s more like the way cars are constructed than to build houses.”

Indeed, the factory Blu Homes is associated with a large container assembly, and not to the construction site. With the loading area metal structures are sent directly to the shop where the cars are collected into separate parts, which are then welded to produce a framework. After a hitch in the exterior walls of the house rolls are rolled into the next shop, where workers install interior partitions, roof and insulation. Then work with drywall, cabinets and bathrooms. The house is fully assembled at the factory, and then build on the foundation carried out only minor painting and carpentry work. When working with two-story houses set the second floor with a crane.

Customers folding houses Blu Homes – is usually the inhabitants of the West and East coasts of the United States. To increase the speed Haney and McCarthy will have to reach a wider audience, attracting customers like Sandra Beer of the Albany, New York, growers own daughter and working at a regional television channel PBS fund-raising specialist. In 2010 she bought a house Blu Element, an area of ​​94 square meters. m Select the company, it explains the lack of work with many contractors. «Blu Homes just named my price, and I can cope with this” – she said.

Favorable factors for Haney and McCarthy is the patience of investors. “Now the terrible economic situation – said Abby Disney, which invested $ 3 million project – but Bill convinced that in the long run everything will fit properly. You just need to wait, and eventually things will change. “

How to increase sales of wine with your iPhone

Way to get adults to drink more of Constellation Brands.

On the question of whether he has time to sit down and enjoy the wine of the company, Chris Fernstrem of Constellation Brands, which is the largest wine producer in the world, just laughs. Rarely, he says. Time director of marketing for wines of this giant American company spends to increase sales – it makes 75 wines, including Robert Mondavi, Estancia and Ravenswood.

The work is complicated. In the U.S. there is little demand for wine over $ 30 per bottle. Active buyers, but rather its remains, at $ 7-15, and a good profit should not wait. Sales in the U.S. last year fell by 3.3% in the financial plan for increasing the volume of only 1.2% (information Beverage Information Group).

Constellation is now having a hard time. In the fourth quarter, revenue from their sales increased by 2% to $ 260 million during the same period decreased sales of distilled spirits, 49% and reached $ 48 million (when the company refused several failed marks), and the volume of beer sales declined by 4 %, to $ 419 million

In Constellation turned to the services of the New York company Viktor, who developed them for the unusual marketing moves to expand the audience considering purchasing a technologically advanced wine connoisseurs are younger than 35 years. Now 47-year-old Fernstremu submitted an application for mobile phones IPhone and BlackBerry, which gives information on the scanned barcode with the bottle – for example, so you can find out where the grapes are grown, from which this wine is made, a description of its taste, compatibility with other products, and read reviews of other wine lovers. You will be able to get all this information simply by lifting the bottle in the photo.

With this application, customers can create custom profiles, leave comments and send them to Facebook and Twitter make recommendations about the drinks. For the Constellation will be useful to access to information at first hand as to where their consumers buy wine, what wine they prefer, and what actions and discounts will be attractive to them. On the recent action by buying Simi Cabernet Sauvignon for $ 23.99 buyers returned $ 3. “The companies selling orange juice, 50% of clients return to us for” happiness “index of 30%,” – says Fernstrem. – “In the wine industry loyalty remains the biggest challenge.”

Building applications for popular gadgets – is not the only company marketing ploy. Constellation in conjunction with American Express is working to create Pairings, web series, which consists of live shows with popular musicians and chefs.

According Ferntstrema, this year the company spends on advertising even more money than before (last year they spent $ 80 million, according to advertising tracker Kantar Media). Most of the money will go to websites such as Nytimes.com, Snooth.com, that the company should add interactivity. So, for example, promotion of wine brand Black Box, a box with four bottles for $ 20, the creator of the best promotional video company awarded $ 10,000. Contestants sent 41 video, and the best of them are now posted on the Black Box. Since June last year to a page fault on Facebook signed up 5140 people, which of the four thousand higher than Franzia Charles Shaw, the most popular wine in the U.S., known as the “Chuck-two bucks» (Two Buck Chuck).

For boxed wines make special cardboard container with a plastic bag inside. The package is compressed after the wine is finished. For the older generation, accustomed to the use of spin, such a mechanism would not be attractive. But young people may like the idea of ​​throwing less than glass bottles. Now Constellation wants people who prefer wine in packages, switched to a more expensive product. Cost of 2005 Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve $ 135 for a bottle with this cork.

CEO, Robert Sende, said that the ideology of Constellation reminds approach car manufacturers. His father founded the company 65 years ago, and they were selling kosher Concord grape wine. «General Motors has to start with a Chevy, then, when your wealth grows, you get a Buick, and then change later in the Cadillac».

But as the wine lovers prefer more specific brands, not companies, that idea does not always work. Constellation, for 10 years, buying up all kinds of brands, began to get rid of them only in a crisis, having sold 125 low-cost brands of alcoholic beverages. The company hopes that the strategy of targeting high-quality marketing campaigns with a smaller range will bring them profit even in a very saturated market.

How to optimize your credit load

Seven tips to owners of medium-sized businesses.

Work on structuring financing

Although the structuring and financing of a very complicated process, especially at first, but eventually it can help save considerably, to make payments more convenient and safe. It often happens that a customer goes to the bank for a loan for working capital, for example, a $ 500 thousand, and after discussion and analysis of the characteristics of the enterprise turns out that would be enough to replenish half of this amount. If companies have to pay in advance for supplies from other countries, this problem can be solved by calculating the credit form. If you need to bring equipment from overseas, will the use of trade finance expertise under the customs guarantee. In addition, the tax now takes on the bank guarantees refund of VAT. When working with a decrease in accounts receivable factoring is connected, and the procurement of equipment at home – leasing.

Relate time

Optimally, if the loan term corresponds to the period of the project investment. The recent crisis has once again confirmed that it was too risky to take a short term loan for the project, despite the marked difference in the amount of bets – on short-term loan rates are much lower. Reporting to the bank customer will still be clear that not all the money has been directed to working capital, as formally stated in the loan. Besides, now the banks are much more likely to provide long-term money in connection with the improvement in liquidity.

Transparency business

Pay attention to the preservation of clear and transparent legal structure of business. Many medium-sized businesses owned not one but several firms, creating a holding structure. When banks consider the loan application, they request the data for all companies that belong to the owners and affiliated parties with them. Therefore, it would be better if all these companies will be clean in financial terms, and ownership structure – not too confusing and opaque.

Currency Loan

At a high level of business dependence on exchange rate fluctuations should be very careful in managing the credit load. Such dependence is typical for companies working with the export or import – the dynamics of the euro, dollar or other currencies can strongly influence their activity. Think long and hard over the choice of loan currency. For example, many companies that most of the costs and raw materials are in the currency revenues received in the national currency. During the 2008 crisis, companies that have dollar-denominated loans were compelled because of the growth rates of the U.S. currency greatly increase the cost of UAH, including service-related foreign currency borrowings. Companies that have managed to quickly attract new money in hryvnias and to prepay dollar debts, were in a safer situation.

It is necessary to take into account the experience in our uncertain times. In order to change course in time to be able to react, the company is important not to reach the maximum level of debt, which is unlikely subsequent bank lending, and to maintain a sufficiently large balances in their accounts. The optimum ratio is net debt / EBITDA is not higher than 3.5, although much depends on the scope of the company.

Explain the differences in official and administrative reporting

Be prepared to explain the variations in the financial statements of the enterprise from the accepted values ​​of the bank where you want to take the credit. In the explanations of the discrepancies can use management reporting, additional calculations and information. Almost all banks are willing to managers that the data management reporting can significantly, but within reason, differ from the official figures.

Serve the necessary documents on time

Over time, the crisis is a gradual change in the lending sector business and market sellers (lenders) is the market of buyers (borrowers). But, nevertheless, a bank can not pay attention to even minor omissions. Customers may delay filing, and bank account to request to bring the necessary documents, it can last for months.

This occurs because the borrower often want to be sure in advance that the time and effort spent on gathering the documents they are not wasted, and he will give credit. But it’s still wrong approach – there is no prior consent of the bank guarantees are not for anyone, either for the bank or the borrower, nor a broker for the loan if he is involved in the process. So if you really need a loan company, you need to stop doubting and start acting. The normal persistence client will serve as an informal indicator of its positive future success.

Keep compliance commitments

Each bank expects that after receiving the loan the borrower will be honest and punctual service to submit the documents specified in the loan agreement. Even if the payment is made in a timely manner, the bank’s important to have information on the expenditure of allocated funds. If the money is used for other purposes specified in the contract, the trust may be lost even to regular customers. The probability that a bank in a difficult time to meet the borrower will be able to grow, if honesty and interest in long-term cooperation will be present on both sides.

How to attract buyers with an income below average

The experience of the head of the network, “Russia’s Shoes”: a loan for boots and shoes that came out of it.

Persuade banks in the viability of the idea was simple. Our partners are OTP Bank, “Russian Standard” and “Home Credit”, which gave us loans at 40% per annum. Funds for the payment of interest we should have to pay for themselves, as buyers shoes sold at 0% for five months. And the money we have – due to an increase in the rate of turnover. With the introduction of credit system of revenue growth amounted to 12-16%. The amount of the check average was higher, too, as people began to take on two or three pairs of shoes at once, which we were very surprised.

The question naturally arises about the percentage of defaults, as in all consumer loans. Shoes did not often buy spontaneously, it seriously and always measure the chosen, which certainly reduces the risk of fraud. Shoes in the loan becoming mostly government employees – teachers, workers of Medicine, retirees, and they are characterized by integrity in payments. For a long time we did not have any returns. At the moment, their number is not more than 1-2% across the network. Whatever it was, such a risk – this is the problem banks.

Once the issue was settled with the banks, we started the implementation of credit throughout the network. Each store set up a workplace equipped with a computer, put the bank’s program, and most importantly – have trained our salespeople to work with loans. Now it is our people make out loans, and banks are not experts, because the banks would be unprofitable to provide the manager for each store, the day the number of issued credits from one point quite small. We receive large volumes due to a network, rather than by individual stores.

In setting up the equipment, connect all the systems, staff training, we spent a reissue of the year. Over time it became clear that the technical component – not the only difficulty of the project. The human factor is also brought about changes – how many give out loans depends on the sellers and their relationship to this method of trading. For some time staff did not perceive the new service, it seemed strange to sell shoes on credit. What should I do? We have developed a system of awards: one issued by a loan officer brings a bonus. In addition, we have issued their vendors also as managers of the bank, and banks, in turn, give them additional salaries and bonuses. Such motivation is immediately changed the way staff store at the conclusion of credit agreements.

In order to attract customers’ attention to the new service, we changed the design of the store: stickers pasted on the floor “credit for shoes,” placed near the cash registers explanatory information. When you start the project, we conducted a large-scale advertising campaign of our consumer loans, and it was the ads and commercials on television. Thus, we are told the information to a wide range of potential customers – in our audience were quite mobile people, income levels are slightly below average, with the family, and for them the question of buying shoes is quite important.

By 2008, we have included work on all points of sale of loans, the project started working in full force and increase our momentum. During the year we were given credit for 130 million rubles. Before entering the service credit buyers were limited to one pair of shoes for a purchase and the loan began to take shoes for the whole family at once – a few pairs. It got up to eight pairs of shoes on a check! No discounts are not bringing results such as cheap loans.

And then came the crisis. And immediately, the demand for our loans for shoes. Increased number of clients, but began to buy small: only came for one pair of shoes. Banks are not pulled funding for the increased demand, do not take 70-80% of applications due to lack of liquidity. In addition, banks have ceased to support the campaign with interest-free credit, which certainly had an effect on sales.

By the summer of 2009 “Footwear of Russia” has updated its credit policy, restoring the pre-crisis conditions of the shares. With the support of OTP Bank, our customers can use credit to buy shoes without the first payment for up to five months. Another good concession on the part of the bank has reduced the minimum limit on the loan, with three thousand rubles to two. After that, immediately increased the number of purchases of shoes on credit, and by the spring of 2010 we have almost reached the previous lending. In 2011 we rescued from the credit sales of footwear 120 million rubles.

The success story of its creator Linkedin and Reid Hoffman

Reid Hoffman, founder of Linkedin, spent to achieve its goal of 8 years. He managed to create a social network that has experienced many of the projects Web 2.0, as well as an IPO at the most opportune moment.

Recently, the list of billionaires of the world have another party. Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn, which could significantly increase his fortune in the course of the withdrawal to the exchange. The yield on the stock exchange LinkedIn started with $ 45 per share, and on the first day of trading value of shares increased by 109%, which amounted to $ 94.25. After that, the package on LinkedIn Hoffman was worth about $ 1.7 billion before the IPO, he was the owner of 22.1% of the shares, 1% it is already sold. To fund Greylock Partners, which works with Hoffman in 2009, the share price was $ 1.3 billion

Reid Hoffman is not like most of the residents of Silicon Valley, for which he is a major venture capital investors. Outwardly stout good-natured middle-aged, it differs from the creators of geeks and companies such as Facebook or gruponov. But he did for eight years to create a highly successful social networking site, which went through many of its competitors and quietly reached an audience of 100 million users, and then held one of the most notable IPO since the dot-com bubble (and the largest since the placement of Google). Such an impressive success was preceded by years of work. LinkedIn has always positioned itself as a rather boring and useful service than as the star of the internet. At the time of its foundation were popular MySpace, Friendster and most have already forgotten Plaxo Tribe.

LinkedIn for a long time remained in the shadows of fame Hoffman as a business angel. He invested in high-profile projects, most recently at the beginning of their activities: Last.fm, Facebook, Flickr, Zynga, Digg, Ning, Six Apart, Mixer Labs (which was later bought by Twitter). At the same time, Reid Hoffman did not leave the job with LinkedIn, improving services and gradually increasing the number of subscribers. He was able to keep its audience and is much ahead of major competitors such as Xing. Was chosen as the most opportune moment to go public: while growing expectation of IPO companies by Groupon and Facebook, LinkedIn’s stock price soared more than doubled.

Hoffman had burned to the startup in 1997, when a wave of the Internet boom. He decided to start a business, having worked at Apple and Fujitsu. “In the summer of 1997 I began to get nervous. I thought I needed to set up his own company as quickly as possible, when the Internet market is really warmed up, but it could not last long, “- said Hoffman for the Wall Street Journal. He calls SocialNet.com, a company that is open to them at that time, the “ordinary history” Project for the Silicon Valley. Hoffman went out of business in 1999 when it became apparent that success will not happen. This experience, coupled with losses brought him to an important point. “I used to think that the best way to establish a company in the economic recovery. But then I realized that you need to begin to decline. It is easier to pick a team and partners, and competitors will come later. ”

After a failed startup Hoffman began working with Peter Thiel at PayPal, and after a short time became its vice-president. From PayPal came more than a dozen investment professionals and start-ups, they are called “mafia PayPal» – Steve Chen, Jawed Karim and Chad Hurley, founders of YouTube; Jeremy Stopplmen from Yelp, Max Levchin of Slide. “The leader of the Mafia,” is Peter Thiel, who became a billionaire by Facebook – he invested in many projects, particularly in 2003 appeared in LinkedIn. To collaborate Hoffman invited colleagues from PayPal as well as from his first startup SocialNet.com.

The creators of LinkedIn from the beginning focused on the consumer segment, which differ from clients MySpace or Facebook, suggesting that young people are easier to draw, but also easier to lose, as shown by the example of MySpace. The audience of professionals who use LinkedIn to purely utilitarian purposes, grew at first rather slowly – 2-3 million subscribers a year, but still they were loyal customers.

LinkedIn itself announced that it is not necessary to wait on them a sharp rise in profits. They planned not to go, plus in 2011, as gathered to invest in technological development and business expansion. During 2010 the net profit stood at $ 15.4 million, compared to other social networks is a little bit, but advertising is not for the sole source of income LinkedIn, like Facebook. Provide a permanent revenue (which is $ 243 million, or $ 2.4 per subscriber) enterprises that use LinkedIn for recruiting (49%), advertising (almost 30%), as well as those who are connected with charge accounts (15%).

But despite such is not particularly impressive financial performance, Reid Hoffman, it seems, still enjoys the confidence of investors. The company is estimated at 37 proceeds ($ 243 million in 2010). Hoffman is definitely not in vain for so long, “worked hard” on this project.