The site of Belgorod in September 2015 turned two years old! This, of course, is not a very long time, quite the contrary, but a lot has been done during this time. The site has become a leading urban resource, uniting both indigenous citizens and visitors. Today it is the main information poster in the region. Using, hundreds of people get to know the news, look for the companies they are interested in, learn about the weather and prices, and plan a day off. We interviewed the head of the site Pavel Antyufeev and tried to find out what the success of the portal was for him and what prospects his management saw for it.

- We believe that, first of all, we must make the resource accessible and useful to a wide range of Internet users. Today, 16 people work in the state. Nevertheless, the coverage of our advertising campaign is comparable to the advertising campaigns of leading mobile operators.

Having entered this business, we already had advertising experience, and therefore the vision of the development of the project was almost the same for everyone. Belgorod needed a unified, qualitatively new infotainment site that would provide information for all categories of citizens. Judging by the success of our resource, we understand that we were not mistaken at the very beginning. Now we can offer the population exactly what is needed - timely and correct information on topics of interest.

- Why did you decide to focus on a franchise, and not on your own new business?

- We started working on the idea much earlier. During this time, negotiations were held with various players in this market, including those offering franchises. The option to start your own business was also considered, but then was discarded. This happened primarily because the costs would be many times greater. Our economists estimated the amount of money needed to develop, promote and maintain their own website, as well as how much time will be spent on all this. Then we compared these numbers with those of franchisor companies and opted for a franchise. Having studied many possible partners, we agreed that it is with CitySites that the most bright future awaits us. The company has already managed to work long and successfully in many Russian cities, which prompted us to such a choice. CitySites also offers customers mobile applications, so indispensable in the modern world of new information technologies. For our editors, this is a convenient platform with a simple interface, and for management, a full-fledged business model. With its help, beginners will be able to circumvent many sharp corners, avoid stupid mistakes at the very beginning of the journey and save an impressive amount, not spend effort on growing a new project from scratch.

- Tell us about your investments in the franchise CitySites, and how soon were you able to get your money back?

- I’ll say directly: how well you invest in your project, and the pace of its development will depend. The minimum amount that you have to pay is, of course, a lump-sum payment, in other words, a fee for entering this business and receiving all the necessary materials from the franchisor. For example, for us the costs were quite feasible, since we already had our own advertising bureau in the city, which helped to advertise the portal. The efforts were not wasted, and now you rarely meet a person in the city who would not know about the existence of our site. But only two years have passed! Speaking of profit, I’ll point out that a clear positive trend was noted a little more than six months later and after nine months we received the first profit.

- What were the difficulties along the way?

- From the very beginning, we understood that in such an activity you can’t do without difficulties in any way. In the first months, these were fixed costs that did not pay off, then competition in the advertising market and the absence of a professional team. After a bit of time, we selected the right people who can think creatively, work creatively and with enthusiasm. They led us to success all this time. Already now we are working so closely in all areas that in some places we were able to almost completely supplant even the most powerful competitors at that time.

- Please tell me what exactly are your responsibilities under this project and what does the franchisor do?

- The franchisor fully provides us with technical and consulting support. Well, it’s my responsibility to ensure that sales grow, and the portal itself is filled with content. I also try to pay attention to improve the quality of work of our designers and managers.

- Tell us about the size of your average check and cash flow.

- Recently, the Premium package has become very popular, which is an alternative for the client site. Thus, the client simultaneously receives several significant advantages: a unique address for his page with a high rating in search engines and a recognizable brand in the subtitle of the site. We also offer a number of additional services that can increase the check. Every month, sales managers successfully sell about 20 Premier packages. In addition to it, we offer packages "Standard" and "Suite", as well as banners, individual news within the site or in social networks. In general, a good amount comes out, allowing the resource to move on and develop rapidly.

- Do you communicate with franchise partners, representatives of other cities?

- Naturally, we keep in touch. We constantly share our best practices, specific experiences. In one of the social networks, we have our own group, through which information is exchanged among the partners of the CitySites network.

- Who is your team today?

- We understand how important the team is, for us it is the greatest value. With professionals, it is always easier to achieve success. Now we are working with one designer, six journalists, eight sales managers, four photographers and one supervisor. These are mainly young people. We try to select people, paying attention to their education, level of intelligence and creativity, as well as competent speech.

- Advise something to people who just want to get into this business.

- Firstly, pay attention: if you already have your own advertising business, then joining the CitySites project will take you three times less money, since initially you will already have an office. Secondly, strictly observe all the rules and follow the instructions of the franchisor. Thirdly, start by organizing a sales system well and pulling a team around an idea. Well, and the last - be patient!