In 2013, the famous photographer Brandon Stanton published photos of urban space and the Iranian people on his website and his famous Facebook page, Humans of New York, which became very popular. The views of people in cyberspace were shocking for "Silk Road Solution" founders, "Are there large shopping malls in Iran?", "Why are people dressed up like us?", "On which continent is Iran?" and ...
These views showed that because of Western media boycotts about Iran, most people in the world do not have the right image of Iran, if they want to travel to Iran. This is the motive for the formation of the "Silk Road Solution" and its mission, showing the real world to the world and facilitating travel to Iran.
We began with a dream in mind to make a product that revolutionized Iran's inbound tourism, and we soon realized that there are so many things we do not know. Each start up begins with a few problems and a solution to those problems, of course, many of which are assumptions of the founders and must be verified in practice.
We knew that there were various problems, marketing in the inbound tourism was very weak, and industry activists did not have much to do with cyberspace and according to the observations, we had at the roundabouts of Tehran, and the conversations we had with industry activists. We assumed that tourists except for the tour, they would not travel to Iran in any other way. Therefore, we started with “Bus and sell” the tours' agency design and sales model with outsourcing to tour execution agencies.
Soon we realized that this model was not scalable, so "Silk Road Solution", instead of being handmade in the design of the tour, turned into a platform for selling tours on the market.
After the first boom, the sales situation had improved, and the year 1394 ended, but we knew there was a problem somewhere. After reading a report on Google called Traveler's Road to Decision, we guessed that the main problem is the tour itself. In fact, we found that most tour customers, elderly European-style, do not buy online and are more likely to trust their local agencies in Europe. Accordingly, after one year, "Silk Road Solution" did its main turnaround to the Online Travel Aegncy model, which actually sells tourism services in the form of separate services and not tour. This was the "Silk Road Solution" launch switch, which caused 1500% grow of the "Silk Road Solution" annual sales.
However, that was not all, and the path was more challenging than what we thought. Closed sales, team dissolution, and 9-month stops of business operations and legal issues are just part of the "Silk Road Solution" challenges. If one lesson is learned, then it is that perseverance and firmness are the most important features that an entrepreneur must have.
The description of the details is not included in this article; in short, we continued, we revived the business and gotten much stronger than before. Today, "Silk Road Solution" has a fantastic record, a 12-month growth of more than 30% in sales and an upgrading number of customers, a record that very few startups can reach.
A brief summary of the "Silk Road Solution" 4-year lifetimes:
- Bahman 1393: Starting a Business with $ 30,000 Initial Capital Mortgage
- Ordibehesht 1394: Launch an initial product with the Tour Sales model
- Shahrivar 1394: Turning on the Tours Marketplace
- Bahman. 1394: Turning to the Online Travel Agency
- Shahrivar 1395: Attract $ 60,000 from Angel Investors
- Dey. 1395: Received an international payment port
- Esfand 1395: The completion of the year 95 with 1500% annual growth
- Farvardin 1396: Closing the payment port and blocking sales due to sanctions
- Khordad 1396: Stop the operation and disband the team due to the completion of the capital
- Mehr. 1396: The release of most of the funds that was blocked
- Bahman. 1396: Registration of companies in the EU to resolve legal problems
- Esfand 1396: Barkat Ventures invests $ 250,000
- Ordibehesht 1397: Create a new team, rewrite the product and start the operation again
- Ordibehesht 1398: 12 months of continuous monthly growth and attracting more than 2000 tourists
We believe we are just at the beginning of the way. Now "Silk Road Solution" thinks of globalization. The "Silk Road Solution" perspective is becoming the reference brand for traveling to new and lesser-known destinations including Iran, Oman and Azerbaijan, and the countries of the Silk Road.