Grigory Eliseev tells us how you can embrace your explorer spirit and embark on the adventure of a lifetime with 12 Knots.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded 12 Knots.
Grigory Eliseev: The idea to start my own business was born in 2010. Back then, I worked in marketing at well-known multinational companies for almost 10 years. That was a great experience and a huge knowledge base. However, who doesn’t want to be their own boss…Do what you think is right, set your own goals, and find your own ways to achieve them.
On the other hand, I also wanted to do something that I liked, which was sailing. So, that is how 12 Knots was born. It started as a sailing school in Montenegro and evolved into one of the leading online booking services for boats headquartered in the U.S.
Do you have small habits that made a meaningful impact on your life and business?
Grigory Eliseev: I always try to do something new and look for new opportunities in both my life and business. We constantly look for new business niches and ways to improve our services and create new features on our website aimed to help our customers find the right sailing vacation while making it as easy as possible for them.
How does your company market its product/services online?
Grigory Eliseev: The list of tools is quite basic for online companies: SEO, SMM, and online advertising. The only difference is how you use these tools. It involves quality content on the website while constantly monitoring and analyzing all SEO and advertising activities and also testing new concepts and ideas. We have very talented Developers, SEO, and advertising specialists who do a great job.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to manage your online marketing?
Grigory Eliseev: To analyze our website performance and website ranking, we use Google Analytics, Search Console, and Topvisor. However, one of our greatest achievements is our custom build CRM system www.charter-crm.com and booking system for the boat owners www.BeMyBroker.net. We have tried several well-known customer relationship management platforms, but unfortunately, none could fully satisfy our needs. These platforms were built for a wide range of businesses and offer very general features that are not always applicable to yacht charters. With this knowledge in mind, our own Charter CRM system was launched last year and helped us significantly improve our sales and responsiveness to the clients.
Additionally, we are always working hard to increase offers to our clients, as well as the variety of boats that they can find on our website. This is why Be My Broker booking platform for yacht owners was launched. All boats listed on this platform automatically appear on the 12 Knots website, but of course, we are not greedy and are willing to share this information via API with other brokers.
What is your hiring policy/process, and how do you retain your employees?
Grigory Eliseev: Trust and loyalty are our key principles. We trust our employees and expect results and loyalty in return. We give maximum freedom to our employees with no micromanagement or work time tracking. They decide when, where, and what they need to do. Most of our employees work remotely, so we set up goals together and track achievements. My fair belief is that everyone should get rewarded based on their contributions to the company.
How are you funding your growth?
Grigory Eliseev: Until now, all our new projects and initiatives were funded from our own profit. It may not be the best option, but I want to keep certain freedom and flexibility in company decisions and do what is the best for the company in the long term perspective.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Grigory Eliseev: There are a number of online booking services for boat charters with huge investments behind them. However, I believe that quality service and groundbreaking innovations are the key elements of success.
Your final thoughts?
Grigory Eliseev: “If you want to go far, go together.” Even though we live in a digital era, where nothing can be done without people. I am grateful for having a great team of professionals and wonderful personalities.