We talked to Manish Chauhan, co-founder of Panache Softech, about software development, and this is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Manish Chauhan: Masks and limited outings are the new normal. We have not exposed ourselves to public places very much. We rather use this time to spend more time with our family back in Bihar. By God’s grace we all have been healthier and peacefully passed this pandemic, hopefully.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Panache Softech.
Manish Chauhan: I graduated as an engineer, just like most guys. I, almost, never liked the idea of 9-5. I always had this zeal of starting my own company which can bloom into something big, with time. So, I with my dear friend, Durgesh Mishra who is the MD as well, founded Panache Softech Pvt Ltd. in 2013.
How does Panache Softech innovate?
Manish Chauhan: We always include a new line of services as part of innovation rekindled through our subsidiaries. Keeping the consumer experience at focus, we have always aimed at bringing value to businesses. Like we include monthly “consumer feedback structure” to our business model where the business will share their feedback on our service delivery and how well they will recommend us to their friends and network. Another thing for innovation is our digital marketing subsidiary HikeMyTraffic. With time, we realized that “marketing” without “digital” is like phones without the “smart” in them. We use creativity and digital tools to bring value to our clients. Also our email marketing subsidiary DigitalAKA also provides our clients a state-of-the-art server that helps them in promoting their products and services through drip campaigns.
Innovation is the key. Without it, we won’t exist. Without it, no business will exist.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Manish Chauhan: I think the COVID-19 pandemic affected all businesses to some extent. So we were affected as well. We were doing fine in the first quarter of 2020 but it came down on almost all industries. As we cater to mostly small and medium businesses, people were affected on the most micro level.
For a few months, until the last quarter, I think, our strength lied in the process when we were strengthening our existing pool of clients. As they say, it is better to manage what you have than lose everything in greed. I still believe that was a smarter step to afloat until the situation normalized.
But yes, the market started resuming its trajectory somewhere around October onwards and has now opened quite much. We like the WFH which is the new normal.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources and what are the lessons learned?
Manish Chauhan: There is a subtle concept that all employers should be aware of- if you slim down now and hire new employees, there will be more time spent on training them and bringing them to the level of work your team was working on. Slimming down should be undertaken on the basis of productivity and not short-term cost-saving.
Our team is quite small and we are really blessed to have people who are proactive to work from home and are just a call or text away. There were not any challenges when it comes to communication and delivery. Challenges were on the front of getting new business on board. But, fortunately, things are getting normal and all businesses are getting back on track.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Manish Chauhan: Our customer relationship has been quite a ride. If we don’t make sure that our clients are happy, we will start doubting our existence. It reminds me to mention, that we still have the clients working with us who joined us in 2014 up to now. It is more of a close-knit vibe with them than professional. We believe, and this is on the basis of my experience if you keep your clients happy by bringing them a substantial value they will never even think of not doing business with you.
Yes, as I mentioned before, we made sure of floating a regular client feedback questionnaire to keep us updated with what they are feeling and if we were meeting their expectations. We mostly used CRM software for managing all those and our server that digital aka offers for email communication from time to time.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Manish Chauhan: Not till Now!
Your final thoughts?
Manish Chauhan: Running your own business is not an easy ride. Every other day seems like this won’t work. And, every other day it looks like “I am on the top of the world”. If someone needs motivation talk while running your own business, don’t run your own business. It is the fire within you that will keep you up and make you leave a legacy.
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