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Published on October 20, 2023
Updated on November 14, 2023
In this interview, we had the privilege of speaking with Andrei Vasilescu, the co-founder & CEO of DontPayFull. He shares valuable insights gained from his entrepreneurial journey, emphasizing the importance of persistence, adaptability, and building a strong team. Andrei also recommends influential resources for entrepreneurs, discusses industry challenges, and reveals strategies for customer retention and staying ahead of industry trends.
Inception and Inspiration
SBS – Can you share the story of how your business journey began? What inspired you to start it?
Andrei – Our business journey began with a simple idea — to help people save money while shopping online. We were inspired by the frustration of constantly searching for discounts and deals ourselves. So, we decided to create a platform that aggregates the best coupons and offers from various online stores. It was our passion for making online shopping more affordable and convenient that led us to start this venture.
SBS – Choosing the right name for a business is crucial. How did you come up with the name for your brand, and what significance does it hold?
Andrei – Coming up with the name “DontPayFull” was a collaborative process. We wanted a name that would convey our core mission — to help people save money. DontPayFull signifies the idea that you don’t need to pay the full price when shopping online; there are always ways to save. It’s short, catchy, and easy to remember, making it the perfect fit for our brand.
Capitalizing on Capital
SBS – Starting a business often requires capital. How did you fund your business initially, and did you explore any unique financing options?
Andrei – Initially, we funded our business ourselves by investing our own savings. We believed in the potential of our idea and were willing to take the financial risk. As we grew, we also secured funding through angel investors who saw the value in our concept. While we didn’t explore any unique financing options, we made sure to manage our resources efficiently to ensure steady growth.
Setting Yourself Apart
SBS – How do you differentiate your products/services in your market?
Andrei – Our differentiation lies in the quality and variety of offers we provide. We have built strong partnerships with a wide range of online retailers, allowing us to offer exclusive discounts and deals that are not available elsewhere. Additionally, our user-friendly platform and personalized recommendations set us apart. We constantly strive to provide the best user experience and ensure that our customers find the most relevant and valuable savings opportunities.
A Day in the Life
SBS – As an entrepreneur, what does a typical day look like for you?
Andrei – As the CEO of DontPayFull, my day is a mix of strategic planning, team management, and staying updated on industry trends. I start by reviewing key metrics and setting priorities for the day. This is followed by meetings with different teams to discuss progress, address challenges, and brainstorm new ideas. I also spend time networking, fostering partnerships, and engaging with our customers through various channels. It’s a busy but fulfilling day, driven by the passion to make online shopping more affordable and enjoyable for everyone.
Lessons from the Trenches
SBS – Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful?
Andrei – Throughout my journey as the co-founder & CEO of DontPayFull, I have gained insights that have greatly contributed to our business triumph. Firstly, I’ve come to understand the significance of persistence and resilience. Initiating a business is no walk in the park; it involves hurdles and setbacks along the way. However, it’s crucial to remain determined and never lose sight of your objectives.
Another lesson I’ve grasped is the importance of adaptability and embracing change. The realm of business is in a state of evolution, so being flexible and open-minded is essential for staying in the competition. By embracing technologies and innovative strategies, we have continually enhanced our offerings to meet our customers’ evolving needs.
Moreover, I’ve realized how crucial it is to build a supportive team. Surrounding yourself with individuals who share your vision and values plays a role in achieving long-term success. Through nurturing a collaborative work environment, we have fostered a team that’s both passionate about what we do and dedicated to propelling our business forward.
All ventures into entrepreneurship have taught me invaluable lessons about perseverance, adaptability, and cultivating an exceptional team. These lessons continue to guide us as we navigate through both challenges and opportunities.
SBS – What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
Andrei – I’ve found some resources that have had a significant impact on my understanding of entrepreneurship, business, and personal growth. Let me share a few of my favorites with you.
These books and podcasts have been invaluable in teaching me the essentials of building a business. Moreover, they’ve helped me become a leader while also providing guidance on managing my time and energy.
One particular quote from Ben Horowitz’s book, “The Thing About Hard Things,” has always resonated deeply with me: “The only thing that matters is execution.”
This quote serves as a reminder that even the greatest ideas hold no value unless they are put into action.
I highly recommend entrepreneurs explore the books and podcasts mentioned above. They offer an abundance of knowledge and inspiration.
Navigating Industry Challenges
SBS – Can you share some challenges you’ve faced in the industry and how you’ve overcome them?
Andrei – I’ve encountered hurdles in the industry, particularly when it comes to assembling a team from the ground up. Finding individuals who possess both talent and a shared vision for our company has proven to be quite challenging. However, I’ve managed to navigate this obstacle by prioritizing the recruitment of individuals who not only possess the skills and experience but also align well with DontPayFull’s culture.
Another hurdle that I’ve faced revolves around securing capital. Convincing investors to recognize the potential of DontPayFull hasn’t been easy due to our status as a company with an innovative business model. Nevertheless, my persistence and focus on building a team and product have enabled me to overcome this challenge.
Despite these challenges, I take pride in what we’ve achieved at DontPayFull so far. We have successfully built a team comprising passionate and skilled individuals while also developing a product that has the power to revolutionize people’s approach to shopping for products and services.
Tools of the Trade
SBS – What platform/tools do you use for your business? (3rd party tools, software, etc…)
Andrei – I rely on a range of platforms and tools to effectively run my business. Let me share with you some of my choices.
1. Asana: Asana serves as an excellent project management tool, allowing me to stay organized by keeping track of tasks and projects. It’s also incredibly useful for collaborating with my team members.
2. Google Workspace: Google Workspace offers a suite of productivity tools such as Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, and Google Sheets. I heavily rely on these tools for communication purposes with my team and for creating presentations and reports.
3. Slack: For communication needs, I turn to Slack — a tool that allows me to easily stay connected with my team members. It provides a platform for conversations, file sharing, and seamless collaboration on projects.
4. Zoom: When it comes to video conferencing, Zoom is my go-to solution for meetings with both team members and clients. It enables face-to-face conversations regardless of our locations.
5. HubSpot: Managing customer relationships is made easier with HubSpot — a CRM platform that empowers me to efficiently handle leads, sales activities, and customer support tickets.
Overall, I have found these platforms and tools to be absolutely indispensable in running my business.
Using the tools can have an impact on your productivity and efficiency. If you’re not utilizing the tools, you might be unknowingly squandering both time and energy.
Trust and Reliability
SBS – With many coupon and deal sites available, how do you ensure the reliability and validity of the codes you offer to your users?
Andrei – We prioritize the trustworthiness and authenticity of the coupon codes we provide to our users. To achieve this, we employ measures, including:
1. Review: Our team members manually review all coupon codes submitted to DontPayFull. This helps us identify and eliminate any expired codes.
2. Partner relationships: We only collaborate with businesses and coupon providers, ensuring that the codes we offer are dependable and valid.
3. User feedback: We actively encourage our users to share their experiences with the coupon codes they utilize. This feedback enables us to identify and remove any malfunctioning codes.
In addition to these steps, we utilize a range of tools and technologies that aid in verifying the reliability and validity of our coupon codes. For instance, we employ a tool that cross-checks the codes against a database of known expired ones. We also use another tool that constantly monitors code validity status for any changes.
Our commitment lies in providing our users with an experience by offering them valid coupon codes. Through improvement efforts, we strive to enhance our processes.
“Our customers rely on us to give them dependable coupon codes. We take this duty seriously. We make every effort to guarantee that our codes are precise and current.”
SBS – Partnerships can be essential in the deals industry. How do you establish and maintain relationships with retailers or brands to secure exclusive offers?
Andrei – Establishing and maintaining partnerships is crucial in the deals industry. To help retailers and brands reach customers and boost sales, coupon and deal sites play a role. By collaborating with retailers and brands, we can provide our users with offers that are unavailable elsewhere.
Here are a few recommendations for building and nurturing relationships with retailers or brands to secure offers:
1. Maintain professionalism and reliability: When reaching out to retailers or brands, it’s important to be professional, courteous, and transparent about your requests. Be prepared to address any inquiries they may have.
2. Demonstrate value: Retailers and brands are constantly seeking ways to enhance their sales figures. By offering them opportunities to access customers and increase brand awareness, you position yourself as a partner.
3. Exercise patience and persistence: Building relationships takes time within the industry. If you don’t receive a response from retailers or brands, don’t be disheartened. Continue reaching out while consistently delivering value. Eventually, they will recognize the advantages of partnering with you.
“I highly recommend individuals working in the deals industry to prioritize cultivating connections with retailers and brands. This approach offers benefits, such as obtaining offers and ensuring your users have an exceptional experience.“
Driving Traffic and Engagement
SBS – What strategies have been most effective for driving traffic and user engagement to your site?
Andrei – Here are a few effective tactics that have proven successful in driving traffic and engaging users on our website:
1. Content marketing: We publish high-quality content that is specifically tailored to our target audience. This includes blog posts, articles, infographics, and videos. Additionally, we actively promote this content on social media platforms and other relevant websites.
2. Search engine optimization (SEO): Our website and content undergo optimization to improve visibility on search engines. By incorporating keywords related to our business, we make it easier for people to find us when conducting searches.
3. Social media marketing: We utilize social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to connect with our target audience and showcase our products and services effectively. Moreover, we leverage these platforms to conduct contests and giveaways as part of our marketing strategy.
4. Email marketing: Through collecting email addresses from visitors on our website, we implement email marketing campaigns to regularly update them about products, services, exclusive offers, or discounts
5. Affiliate marketing: We collaborate with websites and bloggers who serve as affiliates promoting our products or services. Whenever one of these affiliates generates a sale for us through their efforts, they receive a commission in return.
In addition to these strategies mentioned above, we prioritize delivering a user experience when visitors browse through our website.
It is important to ensure that our website is user-friendly and easy to navigate and that our customers can easily buy our products and services.
“I strongly urge all businesses to prioritize increasing website traffic and engaging users. It is a method for boosting sales and expanding your business.“
SBS – What methods do you employ to retain customers and ensure they come back to your platform for deals?
Andrei – Here are some of the strategies we use to keep customers coming back to our platform for deals:
1. Offering high-quality deals: We carefully select deals from businesses and brands, ensuring that our users are satisfied with the offers they redeem.
2. Creating experiences: By leveraging data and machine learning, we customize the user experience for each individual. This means presenting them with deals that align with their interests and preferences.
3. Enhancing usability: Our platform is designed to be user-friendly, making it effortless for users to discover and redeem deals. Both our website and app are intuitive and easy to navigate.
4. Delivering customer support: We prioritize providing customer support services to our users. Our team is readily available to address any questions or concerns they may have, ensuring an experience.
In addition to these approaches, we also focus on cultivating relationships with our customers. We maintain communication through email and social media channels, keeping them engaged and informed about the updates. Moreover, we organize contests and giveaways as a way of showing appreciation for their loyalty.
Through implementing these methods, we have achieved success in retaining customers who continuously express their satisfaction with our platform.
“Keeping customers is equally essential as attracting customers. By maintaining a customer base, we can ensure that they keep returning to us for deals.”
SBS – Looking ahead, what trends or shifts do you foresee in the online deals and coupon industry, and how are you preparing your business for them?
Andrei – I am closely monitoring the trends in the deals and coupon industry that will shape our future. Here are some noteworthy developments to consider:
1. Increased personalization: Nowadays, consumers expect experiences in every aspect of their lives, including deals and coupons. It has become essential to tailor deals according to needs and interests.
2. Growth of mobile shopping: The prevalence of mobile shopping is significantly impacting our industry as more and more consumers rely on smartphones and tablets to discover and redeem deals.
3. Rise of social media: Social media’s role is expanding as a player in our industry. Consumers now use platforms to discover, share, and review deals, highlighting its growing influence.
To prepare DontPayFull for these trends, we are focusing on the following areas:
1. Personalization: By leveraging data and machine learning techniques, we are customizing user experiences by presenting them with deals that align with their interests.
2. Mobile optimization: We are improving our app to make it more convenient for users on smartphones and tablets to explore and redeem great deals.
3. Engaging through social media: We actively utilize media platforms to interact with our customers by sharing deals, running contests, and offering giveaways.
By prioritizing these areas, we are confident that DontPayFull will maintain a position in the evolving landscape of online deals and coupons.
I want to highlight how important it is to stay with the changes happening in our industry. I believe that the online deals and coupon industry is always evolving. By keeping up with the trends and shifts in our field, we can guarantee that our business will continue to thrive for years to come.
Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs
SBS – Any advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
Andrei – I highly recommend that all entrepreneurs maintain a sense of determination when chasing their dreams. It may not always be a journey. The rewards are undoubtedly worth it.
Additionally, I believe it is crucial for entrepreneurs to embrace humility and remain open to learning. None of us possess all knowledge. There is always room for growth. Be receptive to feedback. Be prepared to adjust your strategies if needed.
Unlocking the World of Deals: CEO Andrei Vasilescu on DontPayFull’s Evolution
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