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Meet the Startups in Area 31: Fik Stores

Escrito el 10 Abril 2014 por entrepreneurship en emprender

logo-fikstores

Author: Bill Murphy

Where did you get the idea?

I’ve been helping companies establish their online presence, or grow their already existing presence for a number of years on a per project basis. From well-known Internet companies to small startups with no computer knowledge. Marketing wise, strategies for large companies can be replicated in small companies and vice-versa. From the technical point of view, they all have similar needs, fast, cheap, professional and scalable projects.

Developing a site for a customer, teaching the customer how to use the site, keeping the site up to date, helping the customer grow their business was a lot of work but not very scalable. Contracting people to do the job or referring customers to other colleagues when I was busy became a work of its own. The number of clients asking for online stores has been growing fast over the past five years.

My brother likes programming as a hobby, he’s also really good at marketing. He started a few years ago to develop a system where he could open his own online stores with ease. Thinking of all the problems I had as a freelance developer, I got into his project, giving it a larger scale. And that’s where it all started.

How does the business work?

People who wish to sell online can sign up for an online store at Fik Stores, they can upload their products and configure everything. If they need any extra services, like a customized design, content for their blog, photos of their products, a marketing campaign, they can contract those services through our marketplace.

What is the business model?

Fik Stores is a platform, or two-sided market. On one side we have our stores, business owners that want to sell online. On the other side we have our partners: Internet professionals, payment gateways, logistics services, and anyone who can offer services to online stores.

– For store owners, we have a subscription model, charging a monthly fee.

– For partners, we offer a marketplace where they can offer their services.

What kinds of investors does the company have?

We started with private investment from the founders, lately we’ve been bootstrapping and looking into public loans offered by Spanish government like ICO or Plan EMPLEA and ENISA.

What is the stage of project now?

Our online store platform is already working; we have very satisfied costumers in several countries. We are now working and focusing on our partners, creating tools and enabling them to better communicate with our stores.

What role do the members play in the company?

Minaya Serrano is our tech head; he provides the in-depth technical knowledge.

Natalia Sánchez-Herrero is our in-house designer and customer support.

Bill Murphy is the product manager and CEO.

* We are looking for a Business Development Director; get in touch if you’re interested.

What have you learned from your experience as entrepreneurs?

I’m constantly amazed by interactions with people I meet, people I know and people that surround us.

Opening up, talking about your worries and the lessons you learn makes you learn even more.

What are the most excited about the project at the moment?

We are receiving a lot of positive feedback, new customers are reaching us in a viral way, we are negotiating with partners and large companies are talking to us and asking for updates and following up on company progress.

What are the most difficult of entrepreneurship?

For me it’s balancing your personal life. I guess it’s harder for your family and partners. Your friends also see you less than what you would like to.

In your opinion, what are the most important personality traits to be a successful entrepreneur?

Being relentless, also being able to minimize the emotional roller-coaster, willing to take risks and not afraid on the new.

Is there anything you would go back and do differently if you had the chance?

If I had to say something, probably letting go faster, keeping assets or people in the company when they are not necessary usually is just a burn.

What new understanding since you started has had the most impact on your original plan?

Building a platform is very hard. The model works very well at scale, but starting is slow.

Limited by resources, you have to focus on one side of your market at a time. Get stores, find partners, then build better experience for our stores, then a better experience for our partners… step by step, lean, bootstrapping.

What advice would you like to give to potential entrepreneurs?

Believe in your vision, talk to people, listen to what they have to say, be open-minded.

Sometimes it gets difficult, but keep on going. Never stop looking and working for your clients.

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