The coronavirus pandemic has forced entrepreneurs to awaken all of their creativity and imagination. In just a few weeks, many have completely rebuilt their business into new specific areas that are in high demand. New branches generate huge income and help save you from ruin.
The crisis accompanying the pandemic leaves businesses no choice. If the sphere allows you to go completely online, then this does not bring such global losses and the company remains afloat. But what should those entrepreneurs who do not have such an opportunity do? They either suspend their business, hoping to recover after the lifting of quarantine, or they begin to master new, sometimes extremely unexpected areas for themselves.
For example, a supplier of smart stands for shopping malls (which are now empty) began manufacturing antiseptic sprayers, and a manufacturer of anti-rust solutions in pipes was retrained as a manufacturer of sanitizers. We decided to tell you about the story of one such entrepreneur, whose fantasy saved his business from ruin.
Kiosks for “Domodedovo”
During the quarantine period, many familiar things have lost their relevance, they were replaced by masks, gloves and antiseptics. The founder of Zorgtech, Maxim Pulov, decided to add a beautiful design to everyday things. His production of touch-sensitive kiosks for shopping malls became useless, but he did not get confused and replaced them with the manufacture of automatic sprayers for sanitizers. Their design looks more like a brand new Apple gadget than an antiseptic box. The incomplete two months of such supplies brought more than 4 million rubles and saved him from ruin.
Initially, Pulov wanted to become a programmer, but after a while he dropped out of the university and started making money on freelance, constructing simple websites. Gaining experience, he moved on to more complex projects. For ten years he worked in this mode, and then, having gathered the necessary knowledge base, he decided to create his own production of interactive kiosks. This is how Zorgtech entered the market in 2011. The stake was made on information and educational kiosks, which turned out to be in great demand. In 2019, the company’s revenue and profit amounted to 105 million and 21 million rubles, respectively.
Like an iPhone, but with alcohol inside
Around the end of March, the first alarm bells began to appear – shopping centers began to empty, and, accordingly, the number of orders halved. Many of the regulars started to carry over deals.
Pulov, who went through the crisis of 2014, knew for sure that a collapse was imminent: “Even then I learned that I had to have a spare product, for which demand could grow even in times of crisis”. Then his friend, Alexander Zuev, gave him a very good idea for a startup. In one of the Moscow polyclinics, he saw a contactless hand sanitizer. “Max, look what an interesting thing there is. I feel that there is a great demand for it now,”Pulov rereads Zuev’s message from March 30.
Having looked for information on the Internet, Maxim found many foreign companies with a similar direction and only a few in Russia. “But they were doing something more like trash cans or QIWI terminals with outdated designs,” the entrepreneur recalls. “I decided that the niche was free, and the emphasis should be on a modern look in the spirit of the iPhone – geometric shape, smooth lines.”
Together with the staff, they created a rough design, and then proceeded to laboratory tests. Maxim set the welders the task of constructing stainless steel and artificial stone housings with tanks for 5, 10 and 15 liters of antiseptic solution, purchased 20 different nozzles (a pump with holes for atomization), several pumps, fluid supply hoses for experiments with spraying. The result is three steel cases with hand windows and built-in nozzles for spraying an antiseptic. A team of programmers has developed a technical filling – control systems based on motion sensors and a microcomputer that monitors the volume of the sprayed antiseptic (about 1 ml), the flow rate and the remainder of the liquid.
“Everyone was doing something that looked more like trash cans. And I decided to focus on the modern look in the spirit of the iPhone. “
By mid-April, several options were created at once: a tabletop disinfector for cafes and small offices for 5 liters and a floor disinfector for large factories, for 10 and 15 liters. The large disinfectors had a flow rate alert and a touch screen. Also, a nice bonus is the ability to place advertisements and other useful information. The creation of new positions cost for Maxim 300,000 rubles, and he spent 200,000 on advertising a new product.
Literally in the week during which Pulov announced the start of sales on the social network Facebook, he received more than 100 applications. As a result, about 10-20 people made the purchase. “Most wanted to be curious about the price, and when they found out that this was an expensive industrial solution, they lost interest,” explains Pulov. Among the first buyers, for example, were the Arkhangelsk Pulp and Paper Mill and the T Plus Electric Power Company. The smallest 5-liter model cost 55,000 rubles, the middle one – 75,000, and the large one – 125,000.
Several large orders have been completed for shopping centers. Development Director of Zorgtech Alexey Bogdanov is sure that design played an important role in the successful start of the project. “The owners of shopping centers called us and said: “We have not a simple store, but a modern shopping center with expensive chrome and glass finishes. We liked that everything looks so modern here,” says Pulov.
In total, since mid-April, Zorgtech has made a profit from disinfectants of 4 million rubles and closed the month “with a small profit”. If not for the new project, the company would have suffered losses, the entrepreneur is sure.
“I cannot say about the production of disinfectants as an option to save the business – we do not practice this. But not to give up – the decision is right,”says Yuri Gussamov, General Director of Touch.ru, a manufacturer of touch-screen kiosks. However, Pulov appreciates the project, first of all, not for the extra earnings, but for the “sense of a startup”: “Our business has already matured, and here we had to try on the role of a startup again. This is a good kick to keep changing and launching something new in the future. For example, we intend to produce disinfectants after the coronavirus. “