All in one — is it possible?
Andrey Svyrydov and Isabella Capsuna established partnership for developing a custom system for AIOP business. Andrey and his team developed blogging system and educational documents management system following best practises of the Agile iterative approach resulting in rocket-speed delivery.
After years of successful work, we are sharing and interview abstract with Isabella, that was part of the discovery phase when we only started our cooperation and wanted to get to know Isabella and her business deeper.
[Corpsoft.io] What was the inspiration for you when creating AIOP system?
[Isabella] Frustration with existing systems — Either were too expensive, difficult to duplicate, failing, or frequent change of business model that disadvantaged the customers. So, we thought to create a system that placed the People first, resolving most of the issue we encountered in our own path. Remember, we had been marketers ourselves. Despite all efforts, it was not easy to translate our success to every member of our team, for numerous reasons, not only limited to inefficient business building tools or poor business practices by some companies. Hence, we created the company, the system, the solution that we, as marketers, wished to have found it, when we needed. Is that feeling that you see it, you know you can achieve something, but the outcome still slips through your fingers. And you know the reason is not you, but what you are offered upfront, only to find out that what is at the backend is different. Then, you decide to roll up your sleeves and build it right, with all transparency, yourself. When we started this project then founded the company, we believed that we can create something good motivating people to follow us, buy from us, work with AIOP and building for themselves a business. To meet up with, and accommodate increasing demand for our tools and services, we we founded the company, so many can follow us, work with us (AIOP) and building for themselves a business, just like we were doing. Makes sense, as Simon Sinek, an expert in leadership explained in his “The Golden Circle” concept, people buy not necessarily by What you do …but Why you do it! And what you do simply proves what you believe in. This inspires people to follow you, work with you and inspire others to follow them.
As an online marketer and entrepreneur, you need at least the basic web services. Either the companies providing such services designed the systems for their own benefit and not for the client benefit, or they were less accessible, lack of automation and less cost effective for the average entrepreneur and marketer. Trying to help yourself while helping others, without the desired outcome, left us with some negative feelings and we also identified a handful of other frustrated people too, and all that compelled us to stay the course. When more people came to us with the similar problems and frustrations, it became obvious that we needed at all cost, to stop running all over the internet to get the services we needed.
Frankly speaking, when we started, we did it from our heart and with people at heart. We didn’t even realise the impact AIOP was to have over the years. Our clients and affiliates are not just our customers, but we consider all as one big family, and despite all the challenges, together we made a difference and making a significant progress.
[Corpsoft.io] What was the most valuable and educating mistake that you’ve made when working on it?
[Isabella] On this, I can speak volumes. There is one great fundamental mistake I do not regret, from which we have also learnt a lot.
We had the great vision, the motivation, knowing what we wanted to achieve, but we jumped in with too much enthusiasm without a well thought of long term plan. So, it has been an ongoing process, and somehow, all the mistakes we have made along the way over the years have, helped us build the strongest parts of our system. Placing the people first while building the company, in an effort to replicate and spread the “good”, we ended up giving the people too much for almost nothing, and we can not take it back anymore. So that we had to learn from this, and the most simple solution was to add advanced features with a bit higher cost.
[Corpsoft.io] What is the most unwelcome thing in a digital startup? Smth you definitely wanted to avoid in the past, and keep avoiding in the future to be successful?
[Isabella] I would say the most unwelcoming thing in the digital world would be to talk before you do: Most preferable would be to plan first, set one or two year targets, and do not talk about it until it successfully well tested and ready to go live.
[Corpsoft.io] Did you have moments thinking “I should stop all that…”? How do you overcome such thoughts?
[Isabella] Definitely! There are moments when I got fed up with unreasonable customers, rudeness, arrogance, lack of honesty and integrity. “The customer is always right” is not always applicable or justifiable, but most think it is their right to say or do as they please. Yes, that can really be frustrating and sometimes disheartening, and one gets the feeling like to throw everything away. The easiest way to overcome such moments is to not take it personal, take a deep breath and look at the bright side of things. Most often, thinking about the value and positive impact our company offers people doing business with us, has been the best motivation to overcome such thoughts.
[Corpsoft.io] When telling people about new digital startup and blogging system, what was the key objective you needed to overcome most often?
[Isabella] We did not say anything until we went live with the new addition. Yes, we learnt from our past mistakes over the years. The key objective was to fully test all possible aspects of the service, which meant, we had to think and act like an user, so as to improve the user experience as much as possible. Mission accomplished.
[Corpsoft.io] What do you value most in the new type of business (like digital business) and new type of economy (shared economy)?
[Isabella] The continuous challenges: the Internet technology is evolving very fast, the global financial markets are reshaping the way people do business. The human interaction: with an international digital business, we learned about people in just few years, more than in a lifetime and this helped us scale and shape the business for better results. Nonetheless, the freedom of working from anywhere with just a laptop and an Internet connection.
[Corpsoft.io] What would be you major advice to those, who start digital business or change established business through digital transformation?
[Isabella] Take it seriously and treat it at such. Do not start just for trying purpose, with an option to quit. Establish a long term plan — like a five years plan, build a solid foundation first, before deciding to scale and expand the business. However, one thing will always make the difference: treat your customers and partners the way you would like to be treated. Also, communicate, find out what they need and strive to offer it to them, because a business with no clients is no business.