What do you get when you combine all the best features from Yammer, Dropbox and Zoho? A new project from Bitrix24, solving small business problems with communications, time management, reporting, working in teams, document sharing, CRM, etc. We caught up with Bitrix CEO, Dmitry Valyanov, to find out when he gets the best ideas, kid alarm clocks and the difference between entrepreneurship in Russia and the US.
Tell us about your new Bitrix24 project.
Based on our experience with CMS and Intranet products we’ve started a new Bitrix24 project that combines best features of different existing products on the market (Yammer, Dropbox, Zoho). But it was created with SMB needs in mind so all the tools are intended for solving small companies problems with communications, time management, reporting, working in teams, document sharing, CRM and etc.
We think that this is our best project. It helps us to grow even faster when we’ve used to. We started it on several markets and we already have 8 000 clients involved in three months. We have very valuable feedback that we use to improve our other products as well.
What are the differences between entrepreneurship in Russia and what you see in the US?
I think there is no much difference between our countries. But you still can find some.
Russian entrepreneurs try to start their business with own money. Finding a kind of investors or Venture Company is not a common way of launching business here. We know a lot of Russian IT companies that invited an investor only when they started their international business expansion.
In Russia we still do not have per-hour rates for specialists and services (e.g. lawyer or tax consulting). It helps to keep the cost of the produced products quite reasonable. We hire highly experienced developers here and we are still able to grow in quality and keep the price for our products low.
On the US market we see a lot of competitors with a lot of money involved. But we also see a lot of opportunities here because of the growing economy and growing number of businesses. We see that to start such business here would cost us much more money.
Hope we will be successful on the US market as well.
How long have you been involved with the Internet?
We got together as website designers in 1998. Russia was behind the curve in computer adoption, but my first computer was a PC XT with Windows OS installed (1992). In 1998 I worked on Pentium processor and used Mac for some designer needs. My work with WWW started in 1995 with Netscape Navigator 2.0.
What time do you usually start work each day? Do you have an office or work at home?
Morning happens when a kid or two wakes me up. The office is a straight shot down one of the streets, so I take a bus, usually. At 8:30 I start my day at home. But then I move to the office at 9:30.
What’s the first thing you do when you leave the office at the end of the day?
If no one is home, you’ll find me reading, but that doesn’t happen much anymore.
When do your best ideas come to you? In bed in the morning? During dinner? After working for 16 hours? While out jogging? On your third beer?
If we make a scale with a 16-hour day on one end and a third beer on the other end, the peak of idea-generating would be closer to the beer.
We want to know about where you spend your day! What’s on your desk right now?
A Mac, a coffee cup that isn’t mine, one that is, and very little paper. Don’t like paper.
Favorite book? Author?
The Complete Monty Python’s Flying Circus.
A lot of people have big ideas. What gave you the confidence to actually put your life on hold and realize yours?
There wasn’t much risk involved, given what the job market was at the time. Not to say it wasn’t stressful, but we knew we had skills would be best used if we were on our own, rather than following someone else’s instructions.
What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs struggling to get their business off the ground?
There’s no formula, because the situation is always unique. But one thing that will NOT work for sure is maintaining all the other pieces without addressing that big problem head-on. Oh, and start communicating – find friends, ask them for more friends and share your ideas.
4 people you recommend we follow on Twitter?
Can you share some numbers with us?
We’ve got 100 people now, with 30 of them having come on in the last year. Each year we grow up 30% in sales, even in crisis.
We work with 7 000 partners worldwide. More than 60 000 projects were created based on our products. We try to release a new product or launch a new project every two years. We are still a self-funded company.
Where can our readers reach out to you?
I’m on Twitter.
Thanks, Dmitry! If you’re looking for small business solutions, check out Bitrix24 and also help the company break into the big, bad , blowin-up CMS market in the US.