First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Shahzada Ayub: The COVID-19 crisis has been quite disturbing for us here. Thankfully non of my family members have contracted this disease, yet it has affected our lives by order of magnitude. From social gathering to cultural affairs to traveling, many important aspects of our daily lives are compromised (or completely strained) by the deadly nature of this disease. Given this strange scenario, it can only be hoped that the situation gets better, and we have a vaccine available to stop the spread of this disease.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded VirrgoTech?
Shahzada Ayub: I’m the founder of VirrgoTech. My career in the marketing space spans over 9 years. I’ve been working with companies like SEMrush, Celonis, Experitest, and BFM on strategizing and developing digital campaigns and strategic growth initiatives. VirrgoTech was founded three years ago with a focus on digital marketing, branding, and software development. It’s been serving many top-notch brands ever since, and we are expecting to continue scaling our operations. Our short-term goals are to overcome the COVID crisis and then focus on our growth plans.
How does VirrgoTech innovate?
Shahzada Ayub: We are still in the startup phase, and it’ll take time for us to get our ducks in a row and focus on some R&D projects. Yet, we have a small team of dedicated software engineers, marketers, and brand strategists who continuously hunt for ideas to improve our existing services/processes and come up with disruptive ideas for future products. We have a couple of software projects already going, and we hope them to see the light of day as they are fully developed and tested internally.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Shahzada Ayub: Unfortunately, we had to cut one-fourth of our existing resources as the business situation worsened in the middle of this crisis. However, we are slowly getting back on track and have also got a lot smarter than we used to be, particularly when it comes to managing projects and remote resources. Many of the employees who had to leave us in the face of this crisis have joined the team back, giving me personal satisfaction.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Shahzada Ayub: Yes, for sure. Deciding who is to leave the team and why has been a very difficult choice. Given our company’s culture where everyone is treated equally, and everyone has a unique set of contributions, it was anything but easy to point out: “hey, you and you and you. You guys need to make some sacrifices so that the rest of us can survive here.” I think the lesson learned is that there’s no such thing as a perfect business environment. Things change quite unexpectedly, and we shouldn’t drain too much energy into business goals that lie many years ahead. It’s better to make short-term but effective plans and keep on adjusting your long-term goals according to changing business conditions.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Shahzada Ayub: Ah, so we always have to deal with them? I wish the pandemic was over soon, so we may have cultivated a better perspective of what’s to be conceived as “stress” or “anxiety” (pun intended).
Well, it’s better to have a long-term view of the situation. Even if things are not okay, and you’ve every reason to be stressed, you still need to look at what lies beyond the foggy horizon. Bad things happen, and the only way to pull yourself through is not to lose sleep over bad things. It’s through positivity and optimism only that we can make progress.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Shahzada Ayub: Our competitors are mostly local. Although they have been around for much longer than we have, in many respects, we still have the edge over them. Our process is very streamlined, our team is specialized, and our customers are loyal (and rich).
Your final thoughts?
Shahzada Ayub: At VirrgoTech, our entire team is working hard to continue serving our customers just the way we have been all these years. The pandemic has surely had a very negative impact on our plan, yet we are determined we’ll achieve our growth targets by working smarter and employing smarter tools to help us navigate the crisis better. We thank all our customers and stakeholders for their amazing support and encouragement in dealing with this unprecedented crisis.