We talked to Alin Merches of Mobiversal on how the full-service mobile agency is operating during the pandemic times.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Alin Merches: Thank you for asking that. We are doing fine so far, chose not to be influenced by fear, and try to live our lives as normal as possible, with the required precautions. But overall, everything is ok.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Mobiversal.
Alin Merches: I was passionate about software programming in high school, and there I met the future co-founders of today Mobiversal, Flavius, and Cristian. We co-founded Mobiversal in 2011, after previously we co-founded other companies, as well. I sold some of them, some of them were not doing well, etc., but I had many startup attempts.
Personally, I identify myself as a serial entrepreneur, and Mobiversal is the most important venture where I was involved so far.
How does Mobiversal innovate?
Alin Merches: When we started the company, we had in mind to focus solely on mobile apps. In 2011, it was something new and innovative to design solely mobile apps because most of the companies tried to make a large range of services, not being focused on something specific.
In the meantime, we developed our own apps as well, and they are out there on the market (Appointfix.com and FieldVibe.com) being downloaded by hundreds of thousands of small companies or entrepreneurs in their specific industries.
The innovations come from the way we design and implement the features in these apps or the apps we develop for our customers. We always look at implementing new things more creative, more innovative, optimizing more, and digitalizing that process or that procedure. We are ahead with the UX/UI techniques, etc. Lately, we have started to implement voice-command features that are very helpful to our customers.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Alin Merches: We work in various markets worldwide and domains. Some of the domains were more affected than others, of course. For example, in March-April, most of our clients from the beauty industry saloons were shut down by the governments. So, of course, if they were affected, we were also affected. But in other industries, they were not closed. But since the summertime, things started to get back to normal. The only reason why our business would be more affected is if this pandemic situation and lockdown periods get prolonged. But in this scenario, I suppose everyone will be somehow affected. In conclusion, so far, overall, we are doing good, thank God, and if lockdowns are not going further, we are looking optimistic into the future.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Alin Merches: For a month, we decided together with the team to cut down the work schedule a little bit, and accordingly the wages as well, because we wanted to be prepared for the worst. After a month, things got back to normal. We didn’t have to make any more difficult choices more than in another “normal” year, as I said, we haven’t been in a very affected domain. I definitely encouraged all my colleagues from my management team to have 1-2 backup plans all the time to try to react very quickly in front of any possible situation.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Alin Merches: For me, it’s not difficult because, being a startup entrepreneur for about 20+ years now, I developed a “protection shield” against stress and anxiety. I had worse years than this one in my life, and our country, Romania. We are used to always adapt and fight with the situations because we were an ex-communist country, and that period paradoxically trained people to adapt to the worst possible situations. Also, I am a faithful person, and my core belief is in God and in the fact that He is in control at any moment, even if things seem like falling apart. So, yes, I try to be prepared as much as I can, but I also know there is a limit on which I can act because if a specific thing has to happen, it will happen (especially on a planetary size). This thought gives me peace that I cannot influence everything and that I am not necessarily called to intervene and control every aspect of my situation.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Alin Merches: Our competitors are all the companies which are designing and developing mobile apps – this is for the service business/department. For our mobile apps products, we also have in each segment tens of very good competitors. So, yeah, we have a lot of competition 🙂 And we don’t mind, having competition have its own advantages. We are looking at how WE perform, and we compare our results with our own previous results. We don’t really care about how our competitors are doing, only for general reference, but we are not focused on them. We wish them all the best, but we have our own path, our own vision, and strategy. We are here to transform people’s lives for the better, one by one. And so far, tens of thousands of small entrepreneurs and solopreneurs have chosen our solutions. They were happy because we have very good experience in a specific niche: how to improve people’s lives by digitalizing and building mobile apps for their activities. We are very good at this. So far, people noticed this, and until we get things done very well, I think we will stay in the game if we are constantly improving, no matter how other competitors are doing.
Your final thoughts?
Alin Merches: I want to thank you for this opportunity, and I hope I can bring positive vibes and optimism to your readers, and especially for the ones that are affected and that don’t see the “light” yet. Just as a short encouragement to see how things can be possible even in these times: in the summertime of this year (2020), we sold a software product in the hotel industry, exactly in the most affected domain, and we succeeded to make a long-awaited exit. That means there is still hope, and entrepreneurs will always face challenges and problems. You should expect that, but the successful ones are those who are resilient and stay optimistic.