Hashtag studio is a cafe, bar, and comedy club based in Bulgaria. It started its journey in 2017. The founder, Mr. Iliev is a passionate and ambitious entrepreneur who aims to create a unique business model and keep growing. He shares his experience with Loyverse in a short interview pointing out how Loyverse helped him in his entrepreneurship journey.
When did you start your business?
The business, where we are using Loyverse, started in 2017. We are dealing primarily with the entertainment segment. We own a restaurant franchising which is more bar and finger food rather than a full-service restaurant. We currently have 3 restaurants and one seasonal. We are using Loyverse in 2 of them. We want to expand in the other 2 as well. We are trying to develop a custom integration to our own system which is a CRM/ERP.
Why did you decide to become an entrepreneur?
I don’t like mundane tasks like doing the same thing every day. Being an entrepreneur makes you face new challenges every day. Each day is unique, and this is, maybe, the purest way to grow to your full potential. Either you fail or you succeed, it is YOU that failed or succeeded.
Did you have other entrepreneurs in your family that you looked up to?
It is a difficult answer because my parents witnessed the change from communism to democracy and I believe that every business venture that started in the rise of democracy must be considered entrepreneurship because it is a whole new way entirely. But, if you ask if someone in my family thinks on that scale, I mean to sell to the world and grow things perpetually, this is what I aim for. I don’t settle. I don’t settle for income, for growth. I think entrepreneurship has a mindset that is never enough. Usually, I aim higher in these terms. I would say I am the first entrepreneur in my family. My parents are OK with what they have and I am never OK with anything.
How do you advertise your business?
About 60% of the budget goes to social media, but we are also going outdoors and radio as well divided into local and international. We also set brochures in magazines and tourist maps and such. We are thinking of expanding our advertisement and maybe this summer we will do it using TripAdvisor and Google Maps.
What is unique about your business that makes it stand out from the competition?
We are in a market where most of our competitors are legacy business owners that don’t believe in the advertisement. They don’t manage the personnel in a modern way. I think our franchise grew that much from around 30 seats in our first venue which opened on 21 of July 2017 and we are now turning over around 1 million euros per year and have around 600 seats or more depending on the season. I believe entrepreneurship is like the wild west: You go inside the bar, you see the biggest guy and you take a swing. We don’t compete with the local competition. We compete with the best in the market and try to be the best in the market. I believe strongly in the saying: You have to wear the clothes for the job you want. This is why we manage our business like it is a multi-dollar company and we manage it with the same strictness and drive that should be there. We try to be the best and we try to meet all standards worldwide.
How did you first learn about Loyverse?
I found Loyverse when you were in the first steps and I have translated around 80% of the app in the Bulgarian language. We tested other points of sale systems before opening the business, but since the moment the business was set live, we have used Loyverse. The reason why we choose Loyverse is mostly because of its modal apps.
What feature of Loyverse do you like the most?
Well, it is very difficult to give a fair answer to that question because we have multiple people in management personnel. They use Loyverse in all types of situations and different functions are useful for them. I, personally, would point out the report section in the Back Office and have graph statistics for the reports. This is because I do most of the analysis of the business and am not very near to the sales part. I am more of a prognosis guy and just business direction management. I think that the reports can be improved more but just having them on display is something worth being charged.
What do you want to see in Loyverse in the future?
I would like to see the graph for my selection of parameters. For example, when I open the sales summary report, I can filter by date, time, store, and employee. I wish to have the possibility to filter this report by category so I could see a graph of the sales by category. I would like to have this option because in our type of business we have a lot of categories. We are not only a venue, we are also a network of live stages. We also produce artists. We can consider our business as something between a restaurant and a theater. During the summer, we have around 25 events per month which are more than the local theater. We sell a lot of tickets and we sell them through Loyverse and I would like to filter my statistics for my ticket sales and I can’t do that now. I can see the numbers in the Sales by category report but I can’t see them charted. Currently, I export the report and create the chart with another system. This is also something that we are trying to manage using Loyverse API. This would make a huge difference in my usage of Loyverse.
What would be the advice that you would give to young entrepreneurs?
Be prepared to fail multiple times and be prepared to get up each time because the demise is the day when you don’t get up from the failure. And, you will fail. I think this is what sets the enterprise apart: the ability to get up and start everything from the beginning all over again. You need to be able to get up from step one at an uncountable time.
Thank you for your time!