We talked to Puneet Sakhuja, founder of Code&Co, about creative web consultancy, and this is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Puneet Sakhuja: We are all safe and healthy, thank god. We’re grateful that we are residents of UAE (Dubai) and the Government of Dubai has taken really good care of citizens as well as residents.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Code&Co.
Puneet Sakhuja: I am the creative director at Code&Co, which is a Web Design and Digital Marketing Agency here in Dubai. In a nutshell, my role involves meeting clients, providing them with ideas & solutions, handling accounts, managing and guiding design teams, and business development.
My journey initially started back in the year 1999 by learning the fundamentals of coding & design and grasping the concepts. I did make mistakes, but I also made better designs. From there on out around the year 2000, I worked at one of Asia’s biggest B2B marketplace as a web designer. I then joined an eLearning company as a Senor Flash Designer. This role was a drastic shift in my career as I was designing in the eLearning industry and creating courses for multinationals like Canon, Dominos & Best Buy.
By 2006 I had slowly transitioned from being a designer to an Art Director role. I worked at an agency where I was dealing with clients in the GCC and working throughout the project life cycle. My accounts included DIFX (Dubai International Financial Exchange), Dubai Police, Nissan ME, Dubai Industrial City, etc.
In 2011, I had started my journey in freelancing by creating an online collaboration tool called WebMunky. I managed to gain a trade license and had one of the best moments of my life by working with different experts to deliver premium quality work to top-notch clients, including the Royal family of Sharjah, and a few government clients. Finally, by 2014 I co-founded Code&Co, which is where we are currently. Things are going strong as we have managed to create a design agency with an immersive collaborative environment.
How does Code&Co innovate?
Puneet Sakhuja: I believe innovation starts with a problem. Our strategy has always been to solve the problem of the user. As the market advances, we see new problems as opportunities to learn new experiences and push ourselves to the limit. We always thrive to work on a solution, which we solve by using the power of design and technology.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business and how are you coping?
Puneet Sakhuja: When it all started, it was all new for everyone, we saw a dip in the business as a lot of our clients are startups and they wanted to hold the expenditure. But in a positive light, it has also been a blessing in disguise. As you can see, going digital and remote work is the need of the hour. People have realized the value of digitization and that saves a lot of overheads and commuting time, so it’s a win-win situation for us.
Did you have to make difficult choices and what are the lessons learned?
Puneet Sakhuja: As an individual, we all come across a point where we need to make difficult choices. I have made many difficult choices in my life such as moving countries, changing careers, leaving a job to start a company, etc. and a lesson it has taught me is taking action is better than regretting it later. If you want to pursue your dreams, don’t take a risk, take a calculated risk. The last thing one would want is to regret not making the jump 30 years later!
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Puneet Sakhuja: Like everyone else in the world, we have used video platforms like Zoom and Google Meets to stay in touch with my team regularly. We also use project management tools that make things a lot easier, helps us all stay productive, and gives me an overall view of the different projects we are working on. Lastly, we have incorporated flexible working hours in our structure which allows us all to be super productive!
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Puneet Sakhuja: I don’t prefer calling them “competitors”. If they have Mashreq as their client, we have HSBC. They exist in the same space as us and we’re all doing a fantastic job in the industry which benefits other users. We have always progressed in our journey by constant innovation. While always giving the absolute best to our clients, we always ask ourselves “What can we do to make this project better than the last?”. It’s that mindset and mentality that pushes us and the company!
Your final thoughts?
Puneet Sakhuja: The COVID 19 Pandemic has certainly affected all of us but one piece of advice I would give to budding entrepreneurs who are starting in these times is first, understand the problem you are solving. Don’t jump into solutions. Listen and understand the In’s and Outs of the problem. Once you understand the problem, don’t sell your product/service. Sell your solution. Aim to provide value with the solution you are selling.
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