Growing a business from the ground up is not an easy feat for anyone. In fact, it is a major challenge to figure out how to market your new business, where to find clients, and how to make it a profitable endeavor.
That's why we were thrilled to chat with Aparg (http://aparg.com), which is made up of a team of young developers known for various apps to help web developers and Internet enthusiasts.
Arsen Pyuskyulyan took the time to chat with us about how the company gained an amazing 400+ customers in five short years. Arsen shared that they company focuses on both mobile apps and WordPress plugins and theme development. At present, development of WordPress products has the highest priority for the company.
One of the reasons Aparg focuses on WordPress more than on other areas is because the WordPress Content Management System (CMS) is currently the most used CMS in the world. “We have great experience in development in this field and we really appreciate its flexibility and architecture. We deal with WordPress development like a duck takes to water,” shared Arsen.
Interestingly, WordPress development isn’t the most profitable area for the company. However, they invest in this field and are sure it is set to become the main branch of Aparg.
A Brief History of Aparg
To fully understand how Aparg saw growth, you have to know where they started. The company was founded in 2011 by former employees of one IT Company and close friends Arsen Pyuskyulyan and Arshak Aleksanyan. They point to the fact that they value friendship and devotion and that they feel these are the main ingredients to their success.
The main reason the two founded an IT company as opposed to some other type of small business was because Arsen was a web developer by occupation. It made sense to form an IT company and was a good fit.
I am interested in everything connected with new technologies and innovation. I am pretty sure that everything you do with love is determined for success.
In addition, Arsen points out that his lifestyle is strongly connected with IT. “Nowadays, if you show a floppy disk to a teen and ask what it is, she/he will answer it is a ‘save' icon of a program. My experience in IT started from when the floppy disk was the main data storage [available].”
When Arsen was in high school, he took extra lessons on programming. His classmates were 30 years old and he was the youngest one. His love of IT could stem from the fact that he believes IT has already changed the world and will continue to contribute a lot to humanity's development in many areas.
“I get really motivated when I receive positive feedback about our products. Then, I know that it helped someone to solve his/her problems. This motivation really forces us to work hard every day and do our best to provide our clients with the best solutions, which will make our products better.”
Another key to their success was their devotion from the very beginning. Arsen and Arshak didn't just toy around with Aparg in their spare time. They quit their other jobs and devoted their full attention to building the company. This kind of commitment is something that many successful business owners share. Knowing that you don't have anything else to fall back on forces you to get creative and give 110% to the business at hand.
The Shift from Startup to Success
Even though Arsen and Arshak were devoting all their time to building Aparg, success wasn't instantaneous.
At first, we were only outsourcing as we didn't have enough financial resources. After a couple of years of hard work, we understood that we were ready to make our own way in IT development.
Today, Arsen credits the success of having a medium sized company with excellent staff members to two components: great desire and backbreaking work.
“From my experience, I realize one thing if you are a startup and have a great idea, you should not think about the profit at first. The advice is to think only about your future product: work on it, raise productivity, make it better and grow your fans. Believe me one day the profits will increase,” added Arsen.
The first web product Aparg released was a URL shortener parg.co. It is free. “Thousands of people use it on a daily basis. Of course, we are not standing in the same place today, and now the main direction of our work is WordPress products development.”
Additional products Aparg has released include a Slider (their first plugin). It is an image and video slider that works with YouTube and Vimeo. Each slide has the ability to add descriptions. Aparg Watermark and Resize plugin allows website owners to resize images and place a watermark in mere moments. It is also free. SmartAd is a WordPress ad management plugin.
Now, we are working on two more awesome plugins. The first one is a feature rich social plugin and newsletter plugin for WordPress.
- Aparg Slider has 4253 downloads.
- Aparg Watermark and Resize plugin has 1097 downloads.
- Aparg SmartAd WordPress Ad Management plugin has 41 purchases.
The inspiration for these products came from work they were already doing. “Before developing our own products our company was outsourcing for other companies. While working on their tasks, facing some difficulties and not finding proper plugins we were shortlisting the ideas,” said Arsen.
Aparg has also turned an eye to mobile app development to expand their products even further. They offer a full range of mobile and web development services. Arsen shared one success story behind their web development services.
“For mobile development, we use PhoneGap technology, which is the best one from the point of estimated expenses and the results. For, instance we started to work with one huge medical center based in Armenia before their opening. First, we developed a website for this big company. Later we started to work on mobile app for them. We've received great feedback from them.”
One thing you can learn from Aparg is to expand what you have to offer to meet customer demands. If there is a need and you can figure out how to fill it, then you'll find success just as Aparg has.
Solving Problems for Clients
Another way that Aparg has grown since its inception is to focus on the customer.
Some of Aparg clients (source):
“We never treat our clients as a money sack, instead we try to solve their problems. This is what people appreciate the most: feeling that a company cares about your interests. This is how the clients who were satisfied with our small tasks, decided to give us more tasks, then involve in bigger projects. This works like a snowball.”
Arsen is absolutely correct about the snowball effect of word of mouth advertising. About 84% of consumers state they at least somewhat trust a company recommended by family or friends and identify word-of-mouth as one of the key factors in purchasing decisions.
In fact, Aparg doesn’t do a lot of advertisement at all, so that can’t be the reason for their successful numbers.
People like our products because of their high functionality and reasonable price.” He further points out that bloggers often review their offerings, which gives them additional word of mouth advertising.
Another key element is that they offer so many amazing free products, including two apps: Velopark for bicycle lovers and Carpark for car users. These apps are free of charge. The biggest part of Aparg's revenue comes from website development and plugins sales.
Overcoming Growing Pains and Next Steps
Any small company will experience growing pains at some point.
Typically, cash flow will not keep up with growth.
One solution is to find an investor to throw in some cash and help you overcome this problem. As Arsen states, ““If we could establish cooperation with an investor, it would boost our company. Every startup has innovative ideas, but lack of resources prevent them from realizing the implementation of those ideas. Development issues and advertising needs can both be solved by investments.”
Arsen ended our interview with one of his favorite motivational quotes in the hopes that it might inspire other business owners.
Do what you love and love what you do.
A special thank you to Arsen Pyuskyulyan for sharing with us how to start a company with nothing and grow it into a thriving plugin, app, and web development company in a handful of years. Hopefully his story will inspire you to throw everything you can into building your business and to follow your passions.