For entrepreneurs, one of the biggest dilemmas is to choose between building everything themselves or buying technologies that help them in their journey.
While building something from scratch is a common wisdom, Bulgarian entrepreneur Mario Peshev does not see the “buy vs build” consideration to be uncommon.
A serial entrepreneur and e-commerce developer, Peshev prefers to build critical tech himself while buying supporting technologies or services on Flippa, the #1 marketplace to buy and sell online businesses.
He signed up on Flippa more than 11 years ago and calls himself an early adopter who has notched up more than 40 transactions on the platform.
What attracts Peshev to Flippa? He says the whole platform is incredibly useful to an entrepreneur like himself.
Peshev is not alone. With more than X number of transactions being conducted each day on Flippa, this is the platform where businesses are bought and sold before turning into another business altogether.
There is probably no other entrepreneur who preaches the Flippa mantra the way Peshev does but to understand his Flippa journey, it is important to know his entrepreneurial start.
As e-commerce businesses sprung to life during the five days from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday with Americans spending a record $9.8B on Black Friday, per Adobe Analytics, Peshev is one of those entrepreneurs who ensures that the e-commerce wheel keeps spinning even as consumers hit the “buy now” button more often than usual.
Despite his e-commerce pedigree, Peshev is no ordinary web entrepreneur and his use of platforms like Flippa to support his entrepreneurial journey speaks volumes about his own vision.
He first got involved with digital solutions while building his first static website way back in 1999 and after starting the website, he ran a couple of forums and online classifieds over the next few weeks before fully transitioning to software engineering.
“Over the past two decades, I’ve been involved with dozens of high-profile e-commerce brands,” he says, adding, “as an advisor, lead engineer, founder, partner, agency owner, and investor.”
In 2010, he founded DevriX as a European digital tech agency providing growth, strategy, engineering, and data services to its portfolio of clients.
What began as a boutique WordPress consultancy allowed Peshev to “pick up leadership seats with their top partners” and there was no stopping for his entrepreneurial flight.
With a team of 50 people, DevriX is now helping its clients with roadmap development and go-to-market strategy and Peshev notes that some of their clients are marking their ninth year with the startup.
In addition to running DevriX as CEO, Peshev also leads Rush, a Shopify shipment tracking software.
He sees Rush as a unique opportunity to “conquer the world’s largest e-commerce platform.”
When we spoke to Peshev, he and his team were hard at work for the busy shopping season and he called the experience “exhilarating.”
“As an engineer, we’re building the most robust and scalable systems that survive the massive traffic peaks,” he explains.
But as a marketer, Peshev is also getting the opportunity to test out loads of channels and funnels consistently and repetitively to identify the most converting landing pages and offers on the market.
Every bit matters!
E-commerce business is tough and cracking the business process is harder but Peshev says the only road to success is knowing that every bit matters.
At DevriX and Rush, Peshev says they are managing and advising a large number of store owners dealing with different use cases, such as brand development or dropshipping, scaling high-volume low-ticket versus boutique items, scaling multiple channels or growing conversions with FOMO and other classic strategies on the market.
He explains that e-commerce entrepreneurs go through different stages of the journey including production or product selection, building high-converting product pages, establishing growth channels, creating engaging and cost-effective campaigns, handling customer support and retention, and juggling logistics, supply management, and staffing or outsourcing on the go.
Through his startup Rush, Peshev says they are taking care of the post-purchase experience via a flexible delivery tracking mechanism connected to email flows and SMS journeys.
“The app integrates bundles and other forms of upsells on the tracking page, increasing GMV for the brand with no additional effort. It’s flawless and works extremely well on autopilot,” he says.
DevriX, on the other hand, takes a tailored approach by assessing the current user journey, AOV, funnels, campaigns, conversion rates, and all other aspects of the purchasing experience.
Peshev adds, “We dive deeper into COGS and profit margins, supply limitations, return rates, and available resources for ad campaigns.”
In addition to this expertise, DevriX also helps its customers with omnichannel campaigns, email marketing flows, on-site and off-site SEO, social media remarketing, et cetera.
The B2B clients of DevriX also leverage their HubSpot expertise as an agency partner or Semrush flows for content generation at scale.
Meet the Flippapreneur
Peshev embraced Flippa while keeping an eye on different opportunities like blogs, small SaaS projects, and apps.
“My first purchase was a WordPress theme as the owner of an agency,” he says, before adding, “This was a pivot to building a small shop and generating recurring revenue from subscriptions.”
That first purchase led to dozens of other small and mid-sized purchases over the years.
Peshev reiterating on his earlier thought on build vs buy argues looking at whether it is worth launching something from scratch and growing it for a few months or just purchasing an existing solution with some traction or even customers.
While he has made more than 40 purchases on Flippa through his account, Peshev reveals that he has also facilitated sales of five and six-figure properties on the platform.
“I’ve also preached the Flippa model at entrepreneurship and startup events and know of solopreneurs building and selling properties in the process,” he quips.
While the platform offers a number of benefits to an entrepreneur like Peshev, he says the valuation of businesses listed on the platform have always been up to market standards, which makes it an attractive tool for both buyers and sellers.
He says using Flippa’s AI recommendation engine as a market and valuation assessment tool has paid dividends.
Since he works with angel investors, entrepreneurs, and even VC funds, he does see the tool being useful to “calibrate their expectations for sales or acquiring smaller brands or businesses for consolidation or mergers themselves.”
How can entrepreneurs build a successful e-commerce business? Peshev says the best approach would be to save some capital upfront and start being frugal.
He advises entrepreneurs building e-commerce businesses or using Shopify to build their venture to utilise organic channels to the best of their ability.
As social platforms morph into shopping platforms, he also recommends mastering Facebook or TikTok ads to accelerate with a modest daily budget.
He adds, “Incremental improvements can go a long way if you know how to interpret data and produce copy and creatives at scale for your product.”
The decades-long journey of Peshev as an e-commerce and Web 2.0 entrepreneur hasn’t been without its fair share of trials and tribulations.
“I take a stoic approach revolving around continuous learning and experimentation,” he says.
Peshev preaches what he follows and believes his combination of experience and adaptiveness has led to his successful journey as an entrepreneur.
He adds that enough data-driven context on what channels or strategies are available and a continuous A/B testing workflow on exploring and utilising the latest market trends and consumer behaviours can help entrepreneurs.
As an advisor to many e-commerce businesses, he says it always helps to have a trusted advisor who has walked the walk of entrepreneurial life but for those unable to find one, he sees “getting dirty in the sandbox as the best teacher.”
With investors increasingly focusing on profitability over growth, Peshev’s advice can be the difference between success and bankruptcy.
He sees the current investor sentiment not as a market problem but as a cleanup of unsustainable businesses and the need to retain quality ones.
“I’m hopeful that more entrepreneurs would take the gradual approach of slowly but surely scaling stores that last, employing resilient practices and growing healthy brands over time,” says Peshev.
Building a sustainable business
Peshev sums up his entrepreneurial journey as a quest to build sustainable businesses that can be scaled up with the help of platforms like Flippa.
As the largest marketplace out there, he says Flippa attracts all buyers, containing the biggest volume of opportunities for buyers.
He adds that Flippa has designed its tech in such a way that transactions go smoothly every time and find a resolution to his queries immediately.
“The due diligence process is clear and streamlined as well,” he adds.
While he has bought online businesses on Flippa, he sees sellers being able to grow traffic and attract a lot of offers in no time.
Peshev is an excellent example of an entrepreneur who has built businesses but has also never shied away from buying businesses that can support his venture.
He says all entrepreneurs should focus on building a sustainable business that “doesn’t depend on you.”
“Great assets are turnkey machines that work somewhat independently, with little supervision or standard processes,” he adds.
While his advice to keep steady finance data by pulling Stripe records or Google Analytics for transparent reviews is valid at all times, it is particularly useful at a time when investors are being extraordinarily careful before investing.
“Keep your web property well-organised and buyers will come,” he concludes with a clear conviction.