INNOVATORS VS COVID 19
How to Convert the Pandemic into an Opportunity
Ojus Sharma, Co-founder, and CEO at Applify tells us how they make custom solutions that deliver clients’ objectives.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Ojus Sharma: Thanks for asking, my family and I are doing well and everyone’s healthy. We love spending time with each other which had been diminishing over time with our work lifestyles. COVID has impacted everyone’s lives on a daily basis, and for better or worse, things have changed permanently. Luckily, for us, it’s been a good change.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Applify.
Ojus Sharma: I am Co-Founder and CEO at Applify, a digital transformation, and Startup Tech enabling company. We love what we do for our clients and are very passionate to see products from a piece of paper to designs to product launches.
Applify’s origin happened in 2013 when my co-founder (who also happens to be my childhood friend) and I were discussing Tech ideas that could be disruptive. We both wanted to start a tech product company. We stumbled upon a very intriguing idea, and so we set out to look for an agency or a company that would help us get the designs and tech development of the app idea. You see, we were clients once and experienced the dirt of outsourcing companies first-hand. In those days, unethical and un-empathetic practices were at their peak.
Luckily for us, we couldn’t understand why an Indian company can’t make Designs or App experiences that are world-class. So, voila! We set up our own agency with a mission to provide an experience to the entrepreneurs or corporate teams that would make them believe that we are part of their teams and on the same journey with them.
How does Applify innovate?
Ojus Sharma: It’s extremely difficult to keep innovating with Tech looking at the speed of transformation in the last 5 years alone. But, it comes very naturally to us, and we believe it is in our DNA to do so since Applify was founded to bring change to the status quo.
Every now & then as a group, we look back to retrospect and evaluate what can we do to change for the better. The core nature to keep our thinking hats on and strive for more enables us to keep Innovating.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business and how are you coping?
Ojus Sharma: The pandemic has been heavy and has made us realize what we can strive to become as a company. During the pandemic, from just a bespoke app development agency, our approach has changed to become an agency – accelerator – digital transformation enabler. Our Business offerings have changed and the company vision is very different than what it was pre-COVID. We have secured partnerships with the best of the Tech platforms like Google, IBM, Mixpanel, etc to offer perks to our clients worth $100K+. In times like these, we want to offer as much assistance and ease to our clients as possible.
Did you have to make difficult choices and what are the lessons learned?
Ojus Sharma: The best piece of advice I can offer to anyone pursuing entrepreneurship would be to be fast and concise with your decision-making. As a leader, I take several decisions from choices every day, starting from Marketing to the overall company ops strategy point of view. There are some super difficult ones that I have to take on a very regular basis which impacts our revenue directly. But I guess that comes with the territory and you have to overcome the fear of making mistakes with those decisions. Some of the most important lessons I’ve ever learned would be:
Smart work VS Hard work – Find that balance: In my opinion, too much smart work, and you forget how to work hard and grind it out. You become soft and less entrepreneurial. Too much hard work is consistent as you’ll lose time in silly things and won’t end up getting the right closure. You need to balance it out.
Without a doubt, don’t stall or procrastinate to take a decision. Not taking a decision is the worst you could do to a startup/company rather than taking the wrong decision.
Soundproof the outside noise. It was extremely difficult for me to make decisions in the beginning because of people’s opinions. You just have to cut that out and do what you feel is right ruthlessly.
Delegate work, and see how your plan executions pick up speed like you’ve never seen. Of course, it needs to be delegated smartly.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Ojus Sharma: We’re a team of 100+ and most of us are working remotely from different parts of the world. Software/tools are the lifeblood of remote working. At Applify, we use Asana to keep our work-life organized in one place. There is no limit to how you can use it. We also use other tools like Google Workspace, formerly known as G Suite, and the likes to navigate this correctly. We have company-wide Udemy and Coursera subscriptions for active skill training and improvement.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Ojus Sharma: At this point, we’re doing things that are very different. We’re setting ourselves up differently for the startups with our personal touch and get them to launch. We’re obviously taking all the regular digital transformation Dev agencies and some accelerators as our competition, but none do the same as we’re doing.
Your final thoughts?
Ojus Sharma: Running a Tech business seems like a daunting task and trust me, it really gets challenging but over the period we learn as entrepreneurs. We learn from our mistakes and sometimes from others’ mistakes too. We have to be able to persist, make informed decisions, and hustle through tough times.
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