RecApp — Persistence and Dedication in the Face of Uncertainty
Sarajevo.tech exists to tell the inspiring stories of entrepreneurship and success in Bosnia and Herzegovina. While the road to growth may sometimes be rocky, persistence and dedication go a long way. That is the story of our interviewee Izeta Salihefendic.
Hailing from the Bosnian town of Jajce, three members of the Salihefendic family are growing a startup helping the online sales giant Shopify optimize their process. Having started their business in the midst of the pandemic, they defied the odds and are now successfully offering their product to the global market.
Read more about their entrepreneurial path below!
Hi Izeta, thanks for taking the time to answer our questions! Can you tell us a bit about your startup, what do you do, how did you get the idea, how did your path look like until now?
The company was founded by 3 founders, apart from me and my husband Munib, there is Munib’s brother Amir Salihefendic.
Since we have worked in the IT sector for years and have a certain expertise in this field, our goal was to create a new company with a wish to realize our own ideas and projects, something viewed from our perspective and present it to the public.
Initially we were not planning to create an app for Shopify. However, in the beginning of our work, COVID started and we could not continue with our progress, for a while we were stuck at home and could not access our offices. That is when we decided to use the situation and turn it to our advantage. We noticed a surge in online sales and decided to create a Shopify application since Shopify is one of the fastest growing platforms for online sales.
Shopify is one of the most popular e-commerce networks in the world, enabling online shop owners a complete solution for sales and promotion of their products and services.
After a year of work and struggle with COVID, which made things very difficult for us and slowed down our plans and projects, we stand behind a success story — first Bosnian app created for Shopify — RecApp.
With this app we reached the global market and we offered RecApp to the users of this platform, as one of the sales solutions and ways to recommend items to shoppers.
RecApp helps owners of Shopify stores to recommend their buyers personalized recommendations in real time.
What it means in practice is that owners can offer their shoppers the most relevant products that they may be interested in and offer items while the user is searching for products to buy. Also we have a trial period during which the owners can install the app for free on the link (https://apps.shopify.com/recapp) and try it in real time directly in their shop.
We are currently adding new features to the app, and we plan to create more apps for Shopify.
The company started with Shopify, but we will definitely not limit ourselves but expand our work into other segments of informational technologies. Our work can be followed on our web page https://smart387.com/ and on social media.
What is your opinion of the BH startup system? How do you see it evolving and growing in the years to come?
The regional startup ecosystem has begun to grow actively, but I believe it is still not enough and there is significant space to develop and improve. What hinders startup growth is the lack of stability and I know that it is difficult to decide to start a business given that circumstance. I feel like the young people need to be educated and encouraged more to start their own businesses, open their horizons and be shown the way to personal and professional growth. I started my own business relatively late, before I did not have the knowledge or experience to see that yes, I can do that, and I want to, I was not prepared. For this reason, I would like our young people to not wait for graduation and then think what they will do next. As a society, and our educational system too, we need to help them in this regard, because what counts in the end is — are you working, what are you doing and are you happy with that.
I think it is commendable that international organizations help the development of BH startups, encourage the growth and development of small businesses.
I can use my own example to say that we (BH startup system) have potential and that we will soon reach an understanding and support needed to get to our goal, which is self-sustainability and profitability. Thanks to those of you who tell positive stories, young people can be more motivated to build their own businesses and expand in the market. It is not easy, but the satisfaction is in doing something you love and sharing this experience with others.
Where do you see your startup in the following years?
Last year was very challenging for us, we were faced with various difficulties in business, and today a lot of it is behind us. In the following years, our goal is growth, expansion and stabilization in the market, reaching many happy customers, and hiring many young people who will want to work locally, on a global level.
Your advice to people building their startups in BiH?
From personal experience, I can advise everyone to be committed and patient. Even though we all want ‘overnight success’, we need to be realistic and know that work and persistence lead to healthy success. I always progressed when I was outside of my comfort zone. For me this idea is very important — everyone who is thinking of developing their idea is faced with a new experience and new area which is yet to be explored and they are yet to find their way in it. Leave your comfort zone and allow yourself to succeed. Life around us is dynamic anyway — encourage yourself to participate in this dynamism, discover your talents and rid yourself of the discomfort, which more often than not, we create for ourselves. I believe this is one of the ways to develop new skills and grow as a person.
Thanks for following Sarajevo.tech. We have more inspiring stories about BH startup ecosystem coming up, so stay tuned!