First of all, how are you and your Family doing in these COVID19 Times?
Dmytro Okunyev: We are doing just fine. My wife is working from home, and the kids are home as well. It can be difficult to be productive sometimes with an apartment full of people, but we manage.
As difficult as it can be, it’s such a great pleasure to walk to the next room and see my kids every day instead of waiting to come home from work.
Tell us about you, your Career, how you Founded or Joined Chanty
Dmytro Okunyev: I’ve been working as a designer before I launched my first design agency some 10 years ago. Ever since then, I’ve been fortunate enough to launch two more design agencies. Besides those three companies, I launched my first SaaS business, Chanty, three years ago.
How does Chanty Innovate?
Dmytro Okunyev: We listen to our customers. There is nothing more important than being there for the people that pay you. We launch new features, expand and redesign our existing ones, and plan our product based on market research and the customer feedback that we get. Every time we listened to our customers closely, we made our product even better.
How the Coronavirus Pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Dmytro Okunyev: We have been blessed because ever since the pandemic started, there has been more interest in team chat tools than ever before. Interest in our product spiked in March and April, and sales have been pretty crazy. In fact, 2020 might be our best year yet in terms of sales.
Did you have to make Difficult Choices, and what are the Lessons Learned?
Dmytro Okunyev: I had to make quite a few. In fact, one of them was whether to launch Chanty in the first place. It was first just a small app we used internally to communicate, and I wanted to launch it and sell it to people. I was not sure whether it would be a good idea to go head-to-head with a giant like Slack, especially since I had no experience in the SaaS industry at the time.
Three years and 10,000 customers later, I am sure that I made the right decision. However, I could have easily failed just as well – you have to trust your gut sometimes and take a gamble.
How do you deal with Stress and Anxiety? How do you project yourself and Chanty in the Future?
Dmytro Okunyev: When I feel that something is stressing me out at work, I take a deep breath and realize that I surrounded myself with good people, professionals that know how to get their jobs done well. We hire very slowly and carefully, and each hire we make is there to stay with us for the long term.
On a more personal level, when I get stressed out, physical exercise always helps. Before I head out to the office, I visit the gym to break a sweat. Nowadays, I go running in my neighborhood since gyms are mostly closed.
Who are your Competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the Game?
Dmytro Okunyev: Our biggest competitor is Slack, which is highly unfortunate since it’s probably the biggest SaaS application there is. We try to stay ahead by offering better features in the free trial, such as having an unlimited search history.
Moreover, we embedded a project management feature in our app, too, so you can do more from a single app. Finally, we are very competitively priced, and if you have a larger business (100+ people), Chanty is considerably cheaper than Slack.
Your Final Thoughts
Dmytro Okunyev: Don’t be afraid to take risks, but go one step at a time. When I was starting out, my chances looked pretty bad. However, that didn’t stop me from researching my target market, creating something, and running with it.
Always test out your ideas on a small scale, get your product-market fit, and then you can grow. That way, you have proof that you’re solving someone’s problem, and you can sell that product. If you create something because you think that it will help someone that just won’t work.
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