Making the scary switch from IT services to Product and scaling from Ahemdabad
There are dreamers, there are doers and then there are dreamers who are doers. Jimit Bagadiya of Social Pilot falls into the third category. Jimit had built a fairly successful IT services business. It involved developing and maintaining programs, platforms, products and tools for Clients. Yet, he was hankering for more. Listen to Jimit of Social Pilot on scaling huge.
Sooner or later, the treadmill nature of the IT services business gets to one running it. Many dream of building a product that would relieve them from the tyranny of the revolving door nature of revenues from IT services. However, making the switch from being a services company to that of a product is fraught with failure and uncertainty. It is like being a salaried individual where you have a steady stream of income to the uncertainty of being an entrepreneur. Yet, once the chasm is crossed, the going gets better.
The IT services business is the direct opposite of a product business.
How did Jimit make switch from services to products successfully? What were the challenges he faced? How was the journey? Can Indian SaaS companies compete with the rest of the world? Is he out of the woods yet? In spite of having scaled, no. This and more was what he faced and that is what we cover in this episode. Give his story a listen!
India’s IT Services has given birth to several storied companies such as TCS, Infosys, Wipro etc. As the saying goes, a rising tide raises all ships and so, with it, the IT boom heralded a new wave of entrepreneurs who setup their own IT development services companies.
IT Services was Jimit’s first entrepreneurial outing and from Ahmedabad – A prominent but Tier 2 City from India’s bustling state of Gujarat. Building a business out of Ahmedabad gave Jimit several advantages, the prominent amongst them being a low cost base compared to the likes of Bangalore.
As anyone that operates in the IT services understands, scaling a services business is tough and an enormously people intensive task. By the time the likes of Jimit had established their businesses. The IT Services business was no longer a place for upstarts to look to scale it big due to the maturity and the already enormous scale that had been achieved by existing players.
The trend of Companies establishing their own captive centers further added to the lack of consistent opportunities and adding to this set of woes was the birth and rise of freelancers.
While most entrepreneurs would opt to build a “Lifestyle” business in this scenario, Jimit was hankering for more: a business that would give him control over revenues and make them repeatable. That’s when he dreamt up the idea for a SaaS Product.
Having scaled it to 100K+ subscribers, he is facing new challenges! What are those challenges? What worked and what did not? That’s the stuff this episode is made of. Below are a few excerpts and the Word Cloud. Give it a listen and share with your network!
Here are few snippets from the episode
My firm has its own realities, we were serving low tickets and customer. So every week I have to run for a new project. Mainly, our customers have a one time requirement, like setting up a ecommerce store or setting up a blog or setting up both or delivering some small mobile applications for them.
So, every time we were thinking about how we can make recurring revenue. Me and my co founder, both were searching for something that we want to do. Something to make sure that we’re on some recurring revenue. And second challenge that we were having was the margin.
Also, Freelancers started off occupying the market from 2011-12. And that was becoming, gradually becoming a challenge for us.
So you know IT company, we have worked with many ecommerce customers and they are lacking in social media marketing, they are spending lots of money in advertisement as required in all things but during this time 2013-2014 are the time where ecommerce player are making lots of money just from the Facebook itself.
And it is from the organic things but majorly customer are not able to make revenue from sourcing and marketing because they have some challenges like they have a long list of inventory that they want to promote also promoting product on one social network was not enough they have to promote same product on Facebook then repeat this activity for Twitter, Linkedin and other social networks.
SaaS Capitals Right
So as an engineer like we were promoting SAAS, and we are and we are based in Ahmedabad, so we don’t have a very much connection with the community, the global community we have like communities established in Pune, Bangalore and such capitals of like SAAS capitals right. So we have very limited access to all these resources.
We are in a crowded market there are so many such players come down the line and the only difference between all our competitor is easy to use product and pricing and the customer, three other major parameters people choose the product specifically if someone’s searching for social media marketing tool, they are looking for three things, better UI UX, better pricing and customer support
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Here is the Word Cloud from the Episode