In my last article – Excel and PPT Entrepreneurs , I spoke about the challenges that we face in the start-up world. In that article, I had promised to explain on the basic rules that we followed at AcTouch.com and how we survived last 3 years.
Let me give out my secrets on what we did right (after multiple trial & errors, we arrived at a Survival formula)
A. Clear focus – Customer Delight, it means everything to us.
- How we can help the Customer to make their life easy? – “Customer delight” is part of AcTouch.com’s DNA. It starts from top management to lowest level. In reality we do not have any layers and we are all equal in front of customers and we are proud of that.
- We support our customer from morning 7 AM to 12 midnight -It starts from CEO onwards. Many times, I skip my dinner and speak to customers so that they complete their work.
Now a days when a customer calls me, his first question is “Hey Nitya, have you completed your dinner?” My answer is “Don’t worry, how can I help you?”
B. Hire “Class A” people
First statement from me to all our joiners at AcTouch.com is “You have the right to FAIL and right to make MISTAKES”. We give them freedom to FAIL. But road to this stage was not easy…
- Initially when we did telephonic interviews and gave appointment letters, we started seeing many bad apples. There were cases people took offer letters and never turned.
- Some cases few candidates initially agreed to our conditions, but when time came to issue an offer letter, their dialogues were “My Brother / Father / Mother doesn’t agree to this etc”. We said “Thank you and door is this way”. We don’t need people with less integrity.
- Immediately we changed our selection process. Now we follow every step religiously. This is because of 70% fake CVs in the market
- HR Interview
- Written test – Technical and Aptitude
- First round Technical interview
- Second Round Technical interview – Here we focus more on ability to learn quickly, attitude and unlearn fast. Does the candidate think out of box or not?
- Final HR round and issuance of offer letter
We found a great success in following simple rules.
Today, I am very proud to say that my team is of highest level of integrity, commitment and importantly of good attitude. I see them as my next group heads as we grow across world.
C. Keep listening to market –
We are very lucky to be guided by our customers who wanted us to develop new products. We keep focus on future and how we can help customers. This attitude helped us to ask right questions to customer and develop new product.
“On the hindsight, I realised that being honest to customers helped us to get new business. We do not lie to prospects / customers and this helped us to get few large deals”
Based on our customer feedback and our observation, we changed our Product strategy and developed new features, Reduced product Trial period, spent time to understand and identify customer pain points, stood in customer counter to see how they do sales. Result,
“Our sales cycle is reduced from 3 months to less than a Month”
D. Money was spent carefully
One of my INSEAD classmates frequently says that ours is a GARAGE Start-up. He has seen our first office and the location and how we have grown. I can assure you that 90% of you will never choose that location. But it was cheap and good for development and we didn’t had much money.
We did not spend money on new office setups, glass doors and we do not have any receptionist.
But we have an office that’s open 24 x 7 x 365 and customer can walk-in any time to meet us.
But we give a decent and good salary to our employees. We pay our employees by the last day of every month and 99% of the time we met them. We are proud of that.
E. Identify the right set of Advisors and who have same vision like yours.
I have multiple advisors (AK, RK, SP, SM, DH) who guide me on Finance, Funding, Technologies, Cloud & DB, and Legal. These are all such a wonderful and committed people that I can speak to them any part of Day.
Proud to say, they never mislead me. They stood by me all the time.
I forgot to tell you, none of them receive any financial benefits from me, but believe in what we are doing.
F. Happy to let go off people easily. We never stopped anyone from leaving us.
Initially, we roped in our close friends from Industry who promised and committed to make changes to the world. But slowly their enthusiasm went off. At our needy hours their mobiles were either switched off or they are in important meetings.
So we never stop anyone from leaving us as many times we too feel that this person doesn’t fit us. So it’s a mutual feeling.
G. Angel Investors on board and focused on Revenue – Today, we have 2 Angel investors from Singapore and One from Malaysia. This helped us to vet our business idea and ensure that we are on the right track. Now a days we focus more on Revenues and Cash-flow.
Recently we started saying “NO” to customers where we do not have expertise or areas that we do not want to enter, but not able to DO it with confidence.
This will give you an idea on what we are doing wrong NOW.
As usual love to hear from you and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Call Us: +91 80 2662 9236 or Email Us: email@example.com.
AcTouch – Cloud ERP Solutions.