In August 2018, we were on the verge of bankruptcy due to a co-founder's exit. Just 2.5 years later, we crossed $1M in revenues.How?
1. Focus: my former cofounder and I were trying our hands on too many different things. When he left, I decided to cut down all those threads and focus on just 1 thing - building great Conversational AI solutions for large financial services companies in India.
2. Hiring: in order for me to focus on activities that take the Business a step forward, we hired some of the best people to lead the existing business. We hired college freshers who grew with us to lead teams today.
3. Being customer obsessed: we never raised any money (aside from small angel cheques). Our focus was purely on solving the customer's pain points. It helped us acquire all the top Financial institutions as our customers. ICICI Group, Kotak Group, State Bank Group, HDFC Group, Aditya Birla Group, Bajaj Group - you name it, we had them as our customers.
4. Selling: I had the privilege of doing a B. Tech in Computer Science and Engineering from arguably the best Institute in India - IIT Bombay. It's natural to expect that I'd be the technology person behind the company. However, I figured out that as the face of the company, I should be spending more time with the customers. While building Technology is an important thing, I couldn't afford to not be in front of the customers and so, I completely moved to the Business side, handling Business Development, Sales, Project Delivery, Support, and Customer Success.
5. Measuring the right metrics: we didn't care about vanity metrics like daily active users, sign-ups, etc. We focused on just 1 core metric - cash flow. I actively tracked our Bank balance on a daily basis to ensure that we made profits from every single deal. The purpose of a Business is to create value for customers and make money in the process. We stayed close to this definition.
Last and most importantly
6. Being Employee friendly: we had practically ZERO employee benefits. No insurance. 1st and 3rd Saturdays working. No special allowances. Nothing. We still had a Glassdoor rating of 4.5 and employees who stayed with us since inception, because we had an extremely open culture. We were ok with people making mistakes. We hired young folks and let them run the show. We gave them full autonomy and people loved it.
Today, we are a strong team of 150+ and growing fast, surpassing all the previous milestones purely because of our strong Customer-focused DNA.
Keep the customers and team members happy and the revenues will follow.