At his 30, he has already started 7 successful organizations and can boast with a variety of achievements. His last project is Ometria, a technology company with an e-Commerce intelligence platform. That’s why Cart2Cart made a step forward and tried to find out more about a brilliant experience of young and successful entrepreneur. So, let’s discover tips and tricks from infant prodigy - Ivan Mazour.
Ivan, you are young and successful, motivated and awash with plans. After setting up a couple of companies, you have proceeded to an e-Commerce business. What are the reasons and what are the matters Ometria deals with?
I've been starting companies for over a decade now - learning about various industries and identifying opportunities within them. A few years ago, I noticed that ecommerce was booming, but with so many new online stores starting each year, it was becoming more and more competitive, and harder to succeed. Looking into this further, it became clear that the software available to online retailers was not built for them specifically, and that many were trying to use generic tools and apply them to a very specific business model. It was this that led to me starting Ometria - a predictive marketing platform built specifically for ecommerce, that helps retailers build 360-degree profiles of their customers, and use that data to automate their marketing and drive clear additional revenue.
In your opinion, is entrepreneurialism something that is in your blood? Or is it something that can be learned?
I definitely think it's a combination of both. I had an element of it in my blood, when from school I was already reading books about starting businesses, and thinking about how I would do it when I grew up. But I've had to learn a lot of skills, through reading, practice and experience, and that element definitely needs to be learned through a structured approach. Starting a company is easy - it takes about ten minutes. Building a business, however, is not easy at all.
Were there any challenges that almost made you stop living out your plans? Do you have the suggestions for coping with set-backs, negative experiences?
There are always challenges. The hardest, and most important part, is building the right team, and the biggest challenges come when you've hired the wrong person, and they are affecting the way the rest of the company operates. We've had this a couple of times, and each time it led to a lot of pressure on me, as I looked for the right way to resolve it. My personal approach to this is that there is no such thing as a set-back - we cannot expect things to always go in the right direction, to get better and better. There are steps forward and steps back, and these are part of the path - they are not a set-back, they are just simply one more step. If you see things like this, then they affect you to a much smaller extent, and it is easier to resolve them.
What advice would you give to a young entrepreneur setting up their first online business? What is the best advice you have ever received?
The best advice is definitely to find the right people to start the business with. If you want to go big, if you want to build a business on a global scale, then doing it on your own is very hard, but doing it with the wrong people is pretty much impossible. When things get hard, and don't go the way you expected, you need people to bounce ideas off, so you can come up with how you will put the business back on track. If you don't have people to do that with, or if those people give up at the first sign of difficulty, it will be very difficult to succeed. There's an old Russian saying that you should measure seven times, and only cut once. I always apply this saying to starting a business - you should spend so much longer searching out the right finding team, than actually jumping in and getting started.
As Cart2Cart is deeply connected with e-Commerce, we would like to know your thoughts about the current state of things there. What platforms you consider as the most powerful and able to meet merchants requirements?
There is a wide choice at the moment when it comes to starting an ecommerce business. Ometria integrates directly with Magento, Shopify, Spree and Hybris, as we've identified these to be the ones with the largest traction in the market. We've seen some great businesses built on Shopify, turning over many millions each year. But Magento remains the main shopping cart for us, and for our market - in the UK just under half of the retailers we speak with use it, and there is a strong ecosystem in place which helps people find agencies, developers and solutions for any problems they have.
Have you ever dealt with data migration from one shopping cart to another? If yes, do you think an automated transfer is a convenient method to change the solution?
Absolutely, we deal with this on a regular basis, and it is a huge problem for online retailers. When they are ready to step up to the next level, and need to replatform, the biggest challenge is always data migration. Typically we find that retailers don't actually succeed in doing this, and their data is lost in the process. Ometria's product is built on the fact that customer data is so important to a retail business, so when we see an online retailer throw that data away, it is a huge shame. A solution that helps retailers avoid this - that lets them keep their data even as they move onto a new platform - is genuinely valuable.
Have you any plans (personal or business) that you can share with us?
Well I've recently got married, so on a personal level I'm enjoying this new period in my life. In terms of Ometria, 2015 will be spent making our product even more advanced, and even better able to help online retailers drive more revenue. We've built some even more advanced predictive models, and some new automation capabilities, and so I'm looking forward to incorporating these into the commercial version of our software so retailers can start to use them.
Cart2Cart team is very grateful to Ivan for sharing some of his rich business experience with us. Stay tuned to our blog to catch much more of useful e-Commerce articles, along with the interesting interviews from the most reputable e-Commerce experts. Good Luck!