Rithesh Raghavan, CEO at Acodez IT Solutions Pvt Ltd tells us about digital marketing.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Rithesh Raghavan: We all are doing well, and luckily COVID-19 hasn’t directly affected neither us nor any of our team members yet.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Acodez.
Rithesh Raghavan: I co-founded this company along with my other partner, Mr. John in 2011. I’ve been working as a digital marketer since 2007 and my partner also had worked with me for some time at a company before he left for another. We always had a clear vision on how to help our customers grow their business digitally and how to service the customers in the way they want, which were always discussed together even after we parted. During these discussions, we realized that majority of the companies we knew they didn’t have clarity on how to handle digital marketing and web development projects together from a customer growth angle. This led us to start a new company, which offers complete digital solutions to our customers with an international quality benchmark along with personalized customer service – luckily things worked out well for us and we were able to grow from a 2-persons company to a 100+ member team now. Right from the first day itself, we’d tried to bring in that difference – in fact, our name ACODEZ itself was coined from the words ADS, CODES, and DEZIGNS, which itself highlighted our business verticals (Online Advertisement, Coding & Programming, and Creative Designs) and the company was launched on a fancy date on 11-11-11 at 11:11:11. We also added a few more of our colleagues to the company as directors and expanded the company director board further.
How does Acodez innovate?
Rithesh Raghavan: We always had a quality benchmark right from the beginning where we’ve been adhering to international standards in designs and coding. As a testimony to this, right from our first year onwards, we’ve been receiving international awards and till now, we’ve won more than 15 international awards for our various works. In another sense, each of these awards actually pushed us to our limits and forced us to improvise further every time. Rising up to this challenge, we always adapted to newer technologies and design standards even before it was popular in the industry. One of our core values itself is ‘Think Big and Move Fast’ and currently we have an in-house innovation wing, whose primary responsibility is to do experimentations on various new technologies and make the team members adapt to the prospective technologies from these. We also have weekly innovations discussions where we discuss the latest innovations and happenings in the IT/startup industry. From 2017 onwards, we also have a product division that focuses on some eCommerce-related software products and micro SaaS products.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Rithesh Raghavan: Luckily, the coronavirus pandemic didn’t affect us much. Yes, there was some considerable dip in our service division projects since the whole world was shut down, but as this was also a good time for eCommerce businesses, our software products were able to make up for those revenue losses in the service division. However, now things are back on track in the service division also, so I should say that our business finances in total actually remain unaffected during this coronavirus pandemic time.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources and what are the lessons learned?
Rithesh Raghavan: As I mentioned earlier since the coronavirus pandemic didn’t affect our company as a whole, we weren’t able to make any difficult choices regarding human resources. We just had to make some shuffles in the team and more teams were assigned towards the product division where we started a few new products. However, there were some initial apprehensions as we had to move to a fully remote working mode suddenly. However, everyone geared up quickly and adapted to the situation and now we have better productivity even though more than 80% of the team is still working in a remote mode. The biggest lesson we learned is that it’s completely possible for us to work remotely and this for us now opens up a new world of opportunity – as we can hire resources from anywhere in the world.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Rithesh Raghavan: We always were an export-oriented company as around 90% of our clients were (and still are) from overseas, so it always important for us to be well-organized right from the beginning. And for this, we have been using CRMs and other internal tools for many years. One of our other core values is ‘Be Data-Driven’ and since we depend on data for our complete evaluation including performance appraisals and project success, it was critical to use some tools which give us all sort of data we want. If you want me to name some tools then Zoho Projects, Zoho Desk, Trello and HubSpot CRM are the major third-party tools that we use.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Rithesh Raghavan: We didn’t apply for any sort of government grants as things were moving ahead for us. However, we did get our rent waived for a couple of months from the landlords of our various offices, for which we’re thankful to them.
Your final thoughts?
Rithesh Raghavan: We always discuss the negatives of COVID-19 as it has affected us all badly but, thinking from a positive viewpoint, this has taught us many positive lessons too. It helped us to realize how small and vulnerable we human beings are, unlike we were thinking until last year and there is no reason for us to show arrogance and false pride. And from a business point, it’s made us realize the importance of always having a plan B or at least having a proper thought process that could help us to pivot our business during these sorts of hard times.
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