Erica Silva, Negosentro | This is an interview series conducted by the salesmate.io team to help other businesses thrive amidst changing times.
In recent years, the startup scene has evolved considerably and this interview series aims to help entrepreneurs find their footing in an increasingly challenging business environment. Successful startup owners share what drives them, their unique challenges, and success secrets.
Designation: Co-Founder & CEO
- What is your company in 2–5 words?
Marketing automation for e-commerce!
- What made you choose this path of startups instead of a 9to5 job?
I had few jobs 9to5 but I wanted more from life and more from me. Also I am coming from a family where entrepreneurship runs in the blood.
- Have you invested your own money? If not, why not?
At the beginning I invested my own money, for the first 2 years, but during the next 3 years I had several investments in the company from angel investors and from investment funds.
- If you were an investor considering an investment in your company, what is the biggest hesitation you would need to overcome?
The technical part is somehow very hard to manage and to understand and from an investor point of view it may be a critical part because one bad technical decision can ruin the business.
- If you were your own mentor, what’s the most important advice you’d give yourself?
Try again and again and again until you accomplish what you desire!
- What do you enjoy most about the day-to-day management of the business? What do you enjoy least?
I really enjoy the schedule because I can work whenever I want and also I can work remotely. I enjoy the least when I need to check if my colleagues and employees are doing the job that they are paid for.
- How do you plan to manage the shift from a small business to a scalable company?
We are exactly at that point right now and I must admit that is not easy. We need a lot of patience, a lot resources and a lot of confidence in people. The only way we can make it work is by sharing responsibility.
- How big is your addressable market and how did you determine that?
We are targeting e-commerce business worldwide with more than 10.000 visitors/month that means we have 2 mil possible customers. We have around 50 companies in the world that do what we do and in total there are 50.000 customers that already use a software similar, that means only 2.5% of the market, so the possibility to grow is huge! This is the reason we are very appealing for investors.
- Your current competitors have more money and resources. What prevents your current or potential competitors from pivoting and doing the same thing?
Our competition indeed have more money and more resources but we are more creative than they are. We try to do new things and simpler things and some of our competition is trying to copy us. We are not looking what others are doing, we are always looking at what customers need. Pay attention, not at what customers ask, but at what they need. If we start developing things that customers ask, until we finish developing those things, the customers will require something else.
- Why are you the right CEO (or other role you hold)? Do you plan to continue in that role in the future?
I am not such a good CEO, but as a founder I know all the secrets of the business and I put a lot of passion in what I am doing. And yes, even if I sell the business, I plan to stay here for quite a long time.
- If you weren’t building your startup, what would you be doing?
Probably I would have a small restaurant/bar/pub. I think that someday I will do this, also
- Where do you see your startup in coming five years?
We want to be the biggest marketing automation software in eastern & central europe and in top5 players on this niche.
- What obstacles have you faced trying to reach your goals and what steps have you taken to overcome them?
The main obstacle in our line o business is the human resources. There are a lot of big companies that hire developers for huge amounts of money, money we can’t afford to pay, so I am trying to keep my colleagues in the same boat by having a good atmosphere at the office and by acting as a team and as a family.
- Who do you look to as a role model?
There are several people in my country that I follow and take them as a role model, Alin, CEO@FashionUP, Marcel, Director@Mobexpert, and others. These people are people from whom I can learn a few things, not only in the e-commerce business but in business in general.
- Can you give an example of a career goal that you set and how you went about meeting it?
There are several examples but I will stick only to one. I wanted Retargeting.biz to grow from startup to market leader and we, and I mean me and my team, managed to do this in Romania, Bulgaria and now we are setting the same goal for Hungary & Greece. The goal was accomplished in a longer period than expected but with hard work and dedication both Romanian & Bulgarian team nailed it!
- What is your work style?
From the moment I wake up until the moment I go to sleep, I am in a constant alert and I always try to be efficient.
- How many users do you have?
1500 users at the moment and with expectations to 2000 until the end of this year and 5000 to the end of next year.
- Are there any product liability risks?
Every product has liability risks and of course ours is not different. We try to minimize the risks by having a proactive attitude towards new things and always test & improve the existing work, although this process transforms us from a startup into a growing business and makes development a little bit harder.
- What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses?
For the product I will name the following:
- easy to use
- no bugs
And for me as a person:
- I can motivate people around me
- I have a lot of creativity
- I can fix problems in real time
- I will stick only to strengths
- What motivates you?
O job well done and hearing a customer speaking nice about our work.
- Are you willing to work holidays or weekends?
I am working in holidays and weekends, although not actively, as in the office, but still working.
- What is your exit strategy?
When we manage to be market leaders on eastern Europe, the right buyer will appear. I already know the company who is going to buy us, even if they don’t know it yet.
- Any advice for newly startup owners?
To try, try, try, try and never give up, because each try is an improved version of their existing product.
Thank you Rares to give us your precious time and shared their resourceful knowledge in our series. If you want to ask for any more questions please drop in the comment box below and I will try my best to get it replies.
ABOUT Erica Silva
Erica Silva is a blogger who loves to discover and explore the world around her. She writes on everything from marketing to technology, science and brain health. She enjoys sharing her discoveries and experiences with readers and believes her blogs can make the world a better place.
Find her on Twitter: @ericadsilva1