Dragos Badea, founder of YAROOMS tells us about how they offer desk and room booking, digital signage, and visitor management solutions.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Dragos Badea: We’re doing good, thank you. The girls and I have managed to stay Covid free by maintaining the recommended distancing and guidelines. We should make the most out of anything, so we can say we got more quality time together as a family since we’ve isolated from a lot of potential interaction.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded YAROOMS.
Dragos Badea: I founded YAROOMS 10 years ago while working as a software engineer for a digital agency. Back then, we aimed to digitize offices, and we started by offering a quick and easy-to-use meeting room booking tool. In the meantime, we evolved into a full-fledged workplace management solution, and we are an industry leader (according to G2’s latest report) in this segment.
How does YAROOMS innovate?
Dragos Badea: We innovate by creating tools that help our clients create cutting-edge workplaces and employee experiences. We are agile and understand our industry very well. Just 2 examples of innovation delivered in an agile way are:
- When the pandemic struck 2020, we understood that hybrid work would be the norm even after the pandemic. So we repositioned to help our clients implement hybrid work.
- For the buffer period when offices are only partly open, we created new functionality to implement a safe return to the office (covid questionnaires, social distancing features, capacity enforcement, etc.). This helped our existing customer base as well as a whole new type of client that hadn’t even looked for workplace management before the pandemic.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Dragos Badea: Finance wise the impact was positive overall (after a year), mainly because we offer a solution to manage the current situation as well as the post-covid office. At the start of the pandemic, the impact was brutal, though. We lost 10% of the SaaS clients in a single week when the lockdowns started because they have shut down their offices, and there was no visibility if that is to change soon. These were mostly small businesses, badly affected by the uncertainty. The decline in revenue continued for a bit, and then we took a positive turn as we repositioned our offering to help implement hybrid work. We then ended 2020 with a slight 12% increase in revenue.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Dragos Badea: Yes, initially, after losing 10% of clients in a single week, we had to make some changes to the team and optimize for a “hard landing,” as we called it. We had to make some difficult decisions to ensure a longer runway with declining revenue and overall uncertainty in the market. I’d say the decisions were the right ones with the info we had back then. The most important lesson we learned is that the climate can change really fast, and you have to have a worst-case scenario plan, even if you hope not to need to execute it, ever.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Dragos Badea: We use a bunch of tools, lead by the mighty calendar. I’m a bit of a calendar maniac. To be honest, everything I do needs to be on the calendar, or else it doesn’t exist. This mantra propagated to the rest of the team as well. We use Hubspot for our CRM, so a lot of the client relationship starts there, but at the end of the day, these are just tools for an actual relationship, and I’d say the main change in the past year was in how often we communicate directly with the clients. Going up in the mid-market with our target company also requires a much-involved sales process and a tighter relationship with the clients.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Dragos Badea: No, we never used any government grants or reliefs.
Your final thoughts?
Dragos Badea: As with any disruptive event, the pandemic was a shock to almost all businesses, and I think the most forward-thinking leaders turn such a high volatility moment in their favor. There is no better moment for positive change than that when everything is changing.