Two partners-entrepreneurs — Semyon and Alexander — began working with the Virtual Encyclopedia with the purchase of the center of St. Petersburg. After 2 months of work, they are already planning to move to the whole city and even the region! We asked Alexander how to achieve quick results and conduct sessions not only in school.
— How did you come to business in the field of additional education? What have interested you?
— This is a very good set of circumstances. We were exploring the franchise market in St. Petersburg and not only there, looking for a high-margin project. My colleague found out about your project from a conversation with Konstantin Urvantsev (CEO of Altair Digital — SCVR note) and told me about it. Literally after 5 minutes of the story I was willing to do this. I saw it as not only money, but also as the mission, interest for themselves and the fact that it is something new, digital. Everything happened by itself.
— Have you had any experience in this kind of business?
— I didn't have such experience, it was a step forward for me. I used to do business, so I have an understanding of the general principles of that. Before that, we were engaged in legal services, buying and selling cars. But we were starting those businesses from scratch, and your project bribed us with the fact that we can work on the already created scripts and cases, that is, to go on the beaten track.
— You conducted Virtual Encyclopedia sessions in the restaurants of the Ginza Project network. Tell us how you organized the show in such a place? What are the pros and cons?
— We found the person who engages such events, it was the art-director of that network. He was interested, we organized a meeting and presentation, held a demo session. All the restaurants of the chain had children's rooms, they were at our disposal on certain days and hours. The operator came and organized a session for children who were already in the restaurant. But sometimes the children were specially brought there to our show. What kind of interaction we had: we completely left contact with money. The ticket price were included in client's check. Due to the fact that the visitors of this restaurant chain belong to the above-average class, we set the price of the ticket at 500 rubles (7 euros). 40% were taken by the restaurant and rest — by us. But there was no further cooperation. The children there were set up for total entertainment. They came there to throw out energy, they ran, jumped and fought with animators, and only younger kids were playing. It was hard to concentrate their attention, plus there was a big age spread, so some kids liked the movie and others didn't. They were not particularly interested in the educational component, they needed entertainment content in the form of a game. While we promoted it as a free session, 5-7 children came to the session. As soon as we set the price for the ticket, 1-2 people began to come. Of course, this work was simply unprofitable. It is necessary to pay attention to the fact that the equipment was exposed to danger. Due to the lack of an authoritative person such as a teacher, children were throwing headsets. We are lucky nothing was damaged. But we put this experience in our portfolio, made conclusions and moving on.
— Where it was more convenient to work: in schools or restaurants?
— Of course, it can not be compared, the school is an ideal place to enter this business. The audience there is a target, there is an opportunity to earn money and to measure the conversion. Since you communicate with both the teacher and the students, there is the immediate feedback. The format is sustained, because we present ourselves as an educational project. This is the best place to conduct such business. It is hard to imagine a place with a greater concentration of so many children.
— Describe the reaction of children. What do they say before and after the session?
— They are always very intrigued when they come to the class: they see the headsets, realising that something will happen now, they experience such a pleasant jitters. We worked with grades below eighth. For example, in the eighth grade there was a case when the student before a session began to brag "Oh, Oculus, well, I have one at home, it's not so special". I immediately established the contact with him and "recruited" him as personal assistant, said that since he understands what this is, he will help us during the session. That's how he was attracted. During the session, all kids are completely immersed in what is happening. After the session, as a rule... If you show too many movies, for example, more than two, the children begin to get tired. Maybe because it was the end of the day, the last lesson. The optimal duration of the session is 30 minutes. Everything needs to be installed and set up, you have to present the equipment to the kids. Sometimes, if it;s neccessary, you can show another small film. After the session, the reaction of children is positive, everyone has a positive attitude, no one was disappointed. We always collect feedback and there were no bad reviews at all. The only thing someone has written is that the his eyes were tired. But still everyone says that the session was very cool.
— How do you see your future in this business? What are the prospects?
— Our prospects in this business... are quite prospective. *laughs*
We have certain plans. There are plans, but there is also reality. There are things we have to do, but we're not doing yet. But in general, the plans are as follows: the end of 2019 — we fully recoupe investments in technology, cost. And the beginning of next year — we buy the whole city. I won't even wait for a big profit to reinvest it. If we see the prospects and feel the impact on the Central district of the city, we will certainly make every effort to buy the entire city and the whole region. I think this is our exclusive opportunity to provide the product on certain territory. If this is all limited to a couple of districts, my ambitions will not be realized. But, as they say, we believe, and God disposes. We are positive to any changes, we develop and we think, proceeding from the fact that any changes are inevitably positive. We have everything to adapt to any situation.
We live in Russia. None of us, that is, me and my partners, lived in the comfort zone. It's always a seismic zone. There's no point in sitting on one ice floe and waiting for it to melt. We are creating the conditions to be able to control the situation. We used to get out of this comfort zone and do everything so that no changes could not force us by surprise. We will conquer the world!
We always welcome the ambitious partners like Semyon and Alexander. Join the team of Altairika Franchise and organize sessions in your city!