The Talk With Kuba Zwoliński: “I Can Honestly Say There Are Many Ideas For Online Businesses in Poland”
A world without borders makes it easy to spread the popularity of eCommerce businesses like fire. Just imagine – you can build a website from scratch and start selling novelties on it regardless of where you are from (though, you are dependent on local legislation and Internet connection quality). The same is true for developers: if they specialize in eCommerce development, it automatically means they are demanded throughout the globe.
Seeing how Magento expands further and further, I can’t help thinking of other corners of the world and their possible response to Magento invasion. For this purpose and also to learn how difficult/prestigious/risky it is to build eCommerce businesses in particular countries, we cover them step by step in our blog:
This time I virtually move to Poland to meet Kuba Zwoliński, a founder of Snowdog company (we are glad to have Snowdog as aheadWorks official partner!), Magento eCommerce consultant and organizer of the First Meet Magento Poland. We talk about his acquaintance with Magento, Polish eCommerce in general and the way he worked on Meet Magento PL.
…about Kuba’s Start with Magento
“I Realized There Was No Need in Reinventing the Wheel”
Couple years ago I was looking for a new eCommerce platform we could use for our customers. We had experience with building custom solutions, but at some point realized there was no need in “reinventing the wheel”. That was the time of Magento 0.9, very early version, but stable enough to start new projects based on it.
At the beginning it was really hard to work with the platform.
Lack of documentation, growing but still small community and complicated structure was enough to spend many days and nights on learning the code and features.
However, even back then it was so powerful platform that we decided to put more and more effort into it. Discovering secrets of Magento with every new month, we became more convinced that it was the right choice. The key factor was that Magento is not only an eCommerce system, it’s rather a complete transactional framework that can be used for any type of online trade.
…about How Magento Stands Its Ground in Poland
Polish eCommerce industry is growing very fast. Most of economists claim that all the best is still to come. That’s why Magento’s position is also becoming very significant in our country.
Magento seems to be the perfect solution for many online businesses and this is how we came up with the idea of opening this growing eCommerce world to merchants. What I like the most about Magento is its level of “self-development” if I can say so.
…about Online Entrepreneurs and Recommendations for Them
“The most difficult is multi-tasking and multilevel-thinking”
Today is a great moment to start a business in Poland. Maybe I am a little bit subjective, but from my perspective I can honestly say that Polish guys have many great ideas for online businesses, not only e-shops. Not to mention many EU programs and co-funding possibilities…
You may wonder what difficulties newcomers can face. Well, beginning is always the hardest thing, as they say, so I think the most difficult for those who start their e-business is some kind of multi-tasking and multilevel-thinking.
Let’s assume that you’re great at sports equipment: you know the gear, prices and your customers. But you’re not always a specialist when it comes to servers, configurations, SEO, social media or online payments. Of course, you can always hire people if you can afford it, but – as I know from our clients’ experience – at the beginning you are usually not 100% sure what you really need.
So many try to do as much as they can on their own and, if they take all of it, they can get lost somewhere out there.
On the other hand, if you are a beginner and hire an agency without a plan, it may be a financial disaster.
So I would advice – talk to many around-business consultations and learn new things as much as you can, especially building a right budget for your current needs (e.g. start from SaaS platform and migrate to standalone solution when your business is more mature).
…about Polish Hubs for Growing Businesses
It depends. If you have a stationary business like a regular shop on the street or offices in the city, you should be aware of your business parameters – who your customers are, where exactly you should locate your business, etc. By default Warsaw, Poznań, Kraków, Wrocław and other big cities in Poland seem to be the best places, but I would be careful with such declaration.
When it comes to online business, well, it doesn’t matter at all where you run it (as long as you have Internet access). In online world “where” means “how high in Google search you are” or “your presence on social media platforms”.
…about The First Meet Magento Poland
Everything was “for the first time”
I always knew that it would be good to meet all these people in person I usually worked with via e-mail/phone. People I knew from other e-business conferences, people I knew they existed, but I never had a chance to shake their hands since our business ways never intersected.
During the first Magento Imagine in LA I met Thomas Fleck, who started the Meet Magento idea. Quickly I began thinking about organizing something similar in Poland. There were many meetings related to eCommerce, but the truth was that we missed special Magento-oriented events.
It took more than two years to organize the first event in Poland. The final result – the first Meet Magento Poland you already heard of.
I guess the biggest trouble-maker here was the fact that everything was “for the first time”. Magento was relatively new to Poland and it was a big challenge to attract the audience. We managed to focus media and sponsors’ attention, but it was some kind of a bid deal.
Most of all we wanted to promote Magento among merchants and eCommerce agencies. In next editions we will try to continue this trend by splitting presentations into two tracks: technical and business-oriented. There are many potential users of this platform in Poland who are even not aware of Magento existence.
Next thing will be the enforcing great beginning of Polish Magento society which actually exists, but has no such power as similar societies abroad. We can cooperate and move forward much faster if we work together.