I sat down with Ragnar Saevarsson, managing director at Red Apple Apartments, to discuss how he has built and continues to build a business and how he has used the internet to make it successful.
Kevin: Could you tell me a bit about you and your wife who started Red Apple Apartments, and about the project itself?
Ragnar: We both come from Iceland and decided to come to Lund to study International Marketing and Brand Management. After the program I decided to start my own company and at that time LU [Lund University] announce this new program of Entrepreneurship so I really could not ignore it. I decided on the project in the beginning of October couple of days prior to our final decision day for selection of the project.
The project itself developed quite quickly as we started full web development in the beginning of January. All legal documents, first signed contracts, the website and the overall concept was ready in May and after a testing period we opened up in the beginning of June. We received our first booking couple of days later.
Kevin: You talked a bit about your domain name selection experience, could you recount the story again and perhaps elaborate on what you would do differently now?
Ragnar: I asked my friends, family and fellow students to come up with suggestions for a company name and offered two cases of beer as a reward. I received so many great suggestions but most of them, at least the better ones, didn’t have available domain name to go with the company name. As this was a boot strapping endeavor I ended up with a very long domain name www.redappleapartments.com and if I would have had the money I would definitely have bought a decent domain name. At the time I figured that since we would be primarily be going for Google Adwords the length of the domain name would not be so important. However, today I can see through Google Analytics that we receive many visits through Google natural search as people are typing in our company name/domain name incorrectly in any number of ways.
Kevin: I recall you both have marketing degrees, correct me if that is wrong, could you talk about what you learned and how you applied it to marketing red apple apartments, specifically did you learn about online marketing? Any tips or tricks you would like to share for other entrepreneurs?
Ragnar: I must say that I am very content with the overall experience of the Master program of International Marketing and Brand Management but I missed not having classes on Online Marketing as the field of Marketing is changing ever faster.
Kevin: How do you see your marketing efforts changing in the future?
Ragnar: I see many changes. In the near future the marketing activities will become more automated and the increased flow of instant feedback will continue to make marketers happy. Couple of years back you would even have to wait for weeks for the feedback from your marketing campaigns, today its seconds and much more precise.
Kevin: How do you get work done or is it ever hard to find motivation to keep going or focus?
Ragnar: In my opinion the most difficult think about being an underpaid and understaffed entrepreneur is the constant lack of time. You finish one important projects and three new emerge. I guess the biggest motivation comes from the happy customers and suppliers. That is probably be the most rewarding part of the whole business, together with believing that it will be financially worth it some day.
Kevin: Do you think internet entrepreneurship is something everyone should participate in or is it limited?
Ragnar: I definitely think that internet entrepreneurship is for everyone. The entry barrier is much lower on the internet than in the old economy. You can achieve much more in lesser time.
Kevin: What is the best piece of advice you can pass along to aspiring internet entrepeneurs?
Ragnar: It always seems more complicated before you start. I think that the most valuable thing I learned from the Master program of Entrepreneurship is… Just do it – but do it well!
I just want to thank Ragnar for taking the time to discuss his business with me and allowing me to share this information with everyone. I wish him and his company luck in the future! I also hope to hear more stories from other entrepreneurs. If you would like to share your story please contact me. If you would like to contact Ragnar, visit http://www.RedAppleApartments.com