How has your Journey been so far with entrepreneurship and management?
Since I was a child, I had always known I would do something of my own in the tech space. Riding on that determination, I started my first company roughly four years before I established Directi, and every day since then has been nothing but exciting.Everything I know about business, people management and values, I’ve learnt from my own experiences and from those of the greatest business leaders, by reading their books. And while I’ve seen many good days, I can recall multiple instances when I had to take tough decisions that directly impacted my company and the people who worked with me. It’s been a rollercoaster ride, to say the least, but nothing short of fulfilling.
I would say that the secret to any successful entrepreneurial journey is never giving up. I believe that people never really fail, they either succeed or learn from their ventures. At this point in my journey, after exiting some of my most successful businesses, I’m looking forward to using all of these experiences to create even more value-oriented businesses.
Why did you choose the B2B market over B2C when you started?
Working in the B2B sector with Flock was not a conscious choice. Flock was born out of my personal passion for efficiency. I am a stickler for productivity and am always looking for new and effective ways to enhance productivity for myself and my team. For the past 15 years, email has been the biggest innovation in the work communication space, but the pace of evolution has been rather slow ever since. That’s when we tried out team chat and realised the potential of enterprise messaging for modern workplaces. The idea that we can leverage technology to make work simple for billions of people and help them be more efficient was the prime reason I entered the business messaging market.
With a market full of competitors, how did Flock manage to grow up to be such a huge communication base?
We, at Flock, have gained the trust of our users over the years as we understand their requirements. Not only have we continuously worked towards creating a great product, but also one that helps employees worldwide work faster and more efficiently. With rich features, an intuitive UI and a bunch of necessary tools and integrations, Flock helps teams get the most of out their work while being a simple platform to work with.
Moreover, with 4-5 major players serving a user base of about 10 million, the communication and collaboration market today is still in its growing stage. We can probably compare it to where email was 15 years ago. In the next decade, I think that this sector has the potential to hit the mark of 300-400 million users, with still enough market opportunity for all the players to compete.
What do you consider the metric of a venture’s success? Impact or Revenue?
A business is about creating value and profit. Yet, I find it ironic how many companies today seem to underestimate this basic fact. My fundamental formula for building a successful business is to create more value through your product than the price you charge for it. If you focus on ‘solving a problem’ and solving it well, monetization should follow.
A lot of businesses are failing today because they focus on incremental innovations, expanding user base, valuations and revenue even before strengthening the core of their product. If you can get people to use your product without doling out continuous discounts and cashbacks, trust that you are on the right track. Revenue is simply the by-product of creating something valuable.
If not an entrepreneur, how would we have seen Bhavin Turakhia?
I was first introduced to computers when I was 10 and I spent all my free time in school understanding and writing code. I’d read books at home and try out the techniques next day in school. Very soon, I started to spend most of my time in the computer lab. As I grew up, I built simulation games around the stock market or business scenarios just for the pure joy of it. That was when I decided that I had to be an entrepreneur in the tech space. Taking up a job was never an option.
While in college, I poured through hundreds of biographies of famous, successful people and businessmen and they influenced me tremendously. I made every effort to become a successful entrepreneur, and I am happy that I put my thoughts into action.
Any suggestions for all Entrepreneurs out there?
For aspiring entrepreneurs, and even the established ones, I’d say, know your business and the sector you’re in at the back of your hand, focus on building value and not valuation, and invest in your people wisely.
The other key thing is to never give up. When you fail, you pivot, and try again. I’ve learnt a lot from my experiences and would advise all entrepreneurs to celebrate failures and apply their learning in building a successful business.
You’ve always advocated the policy of “Hire best talent”, what tips would you give for enterprises that are on the lookout for new talent.
If I could give one piece of advice to anyone on how to run a business, I would say - never compromise on the quality of talent that you hire. At Flock and across all my companies, we have excelled at innovating and launching unique products and features only because we have worked with the best people in the space. I advise investing the necessary time to find the right people. In fact, I personally spend 30-40% of my time in hiring the right talent. Another thing to remember is when hiring, make sure the people you choose are trainable and can align their goals with that of your business.