Karl Lillrud is a Swedish entrepreneur with 19 years of experience in the IT industry and broad expertise in such fields as Telecom, Media, E-Commerce, Retail, Web startups, Pharmaceuticals, Government. Karl has always worked with interest for personal development. This has been done through the diverse challenges he had solved working on different tasks in various fields. Karl is a skilled troubleshooter and likes to go into the depth to systematically find the best solutions to the challenges and problems that may arise, regardless of system solution and infrastructure. Currently, Karl runs Pricelizer, an automatic price monitoring and alert tool.
Magazine MN caught up with Karl to talk about his entrepreneurial journey, lessons learned along the way and to find out more about Pricelizer.
Magazine MN: Tell us a bit about yourself. Why did you choose an entrepreneurial journey and what is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Karl: From an early age I realized that I did not handle problems the same way as my friends did. When they saw a problem they got limited in action and often gave up on the initial goal. I always looked at the situation and tried to work on an alternative solution to the obvious one. Instead of being limited by the problem, I got focused and always found more than one alternative solution. My another strength was that I did not give up. These two “tools” made me what I am today. I don’t even call problem a “problem”. It is just another challenge. And the challenges are what makes me grow and evolve.
Magazine MN: What is the greatest business lesson you have learnt so far?
Karl: Do what you do, believe in what you do, but don’t do the things you are not best at or don’t enjoy. It is always hard to act this way when you run a startup, especially in the beginning when you need to do everything. But having this as a goal rather than a strict rule will take you where you need to go.
Magazine MN: How do you keep yourself motivated in difficult situations?
Karl: Focus on the goal! I learned it during the year I spent swimming outdoors during all seasons in Sweden. Yes, swimming outdoors wearing only swimming trunks in the water at about +2°C and about -18 °C in the air on average during the winter season. This is what most people would say is impossible to do, but I saw it as a challenge, something that can be done, but you need to keep testing and learn along the way, and always focus on the goal. When I jumped into the water, the only goal was to swim to the edge of the ice, and when I reached that goal, then a new goal was added. And the new goal was to swim back.
Magazine MN: As an entrepreneur, what is your favorite productivity hack?
Karl: The first and the most important one is to learn how to hack time so that you use every second. I listen to a massive amount of business audio books whenever I have idle time - like being in an elevator, in a car, in any transportation situation – basically, where it’s hard to be productive in other ways. And I always speed the books up to 2x the speed to save time and increase my focus.
Always try to do two or three things at the same time. When you do new things, do them “in duo”. For example, have two teams that develop the same thing and see which team builds the best solution, or when the two teams finish working on it, merge them and have them rebuild a third solution together based on their new experience.
The way you live your life is now more important than ever as you will push yourself to face new challenges every day. This is a marathon, so think about what you eat and when you eat. Do you get all the things your body needs to perform at an optimal level?
Magazine MN: What is your best piece of advice for the first-time entrepreneur?
Karl: Be prepared. It’s going to be hard, but it’s going to be so much fun too.
Failure is not failure if you learn from it. Practice just like you were a kid who has just learned to walk. You did not start by running. To succeed you must accept that things will not always go the way they were intended to, but this is when you learn the most. Remember to reflect and analyze your success and failures. Believe in your gut feeling. It is almost always right. Understand that your brain might lie to you, so you need to identify when and why it happens. Learn from every step you take.
Magazine MN: Tell us more about Pricelizer. What is the mission of Pricelizer?
Karl: Pricelizer will increase the revenue for any e-commerce site. Our mission is to improve the situation for the merchants as well as for the customers. This is what you would say is a true Win-Win situation.
Magazine MN: How does Pricelizer work? What kind of solutions does it offer?
Karl: We have two different products, one is our consumer solution and the other one is our business solution. Both of these solutions do complement each other and give the two parties, the customer and the merchant, what they want.
What would you say if I ask you this question, “Have you ever put some products in a cart online and then ended up not buying the things?”. Most people reply, “Yes. I do that often”.
So, I thought how would one feel about receiving the simple question in the process, “Would you like to know when the products in your cart drop in price?” and along with that one would be able to choose between options Yes/No.
If you click “Yes”, the products in your cart are being added to a monitoring solution that will alert you by email when the price drops on these products. It’s simple as that.
The example above shows how our Consumer solution works.
As you window-shop online finding things you like but don’t buy, simply click on our browser extension and we will auto detect all details we need about the product and then simply alert you when the price on that product drops. It’s free to use and it works on all e-commerce stores globally with any currency and in any language!
Magazine MN: What makes Pricelizer a game changer?
Karl: Pricelizer does what no one else does. We have identified this great problem that no other company was able to solve until now. And with our “Guaranteed increased sales”, where we don’t charge the merchant if we have not produced any sales for them, it’s an incredibly simple choice. Basically, who would not like for a” no cost re-attract your lost customers back and convert them from visitors to customers”? So if the use of our solution doesn’t result in increased sales, we don’t charge you."
Magazine MN: How did you come up with an idea of creating Pricelizer?
Karl: As an early e-commerce site owner, I experienced this exact problem of abandoned carts and have been working on the solution for many years in my head at first. In 2013 we started the development of the product which was launched late in 2014.
Pricelizer website: http://www.pricelizer.com/
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Karl Lillrud was interviewed by Natalie Myhalnytska
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