Fascinated by technology and the power of the internet since his college days, Nayan is the founder of Sugoi Labs, a web and mobile solutions firm. His belief in the problem-solving ability of web & mobile solutions led him to become an entrepreneur and a growth hacker.
Starting with a local travel agent to developing a product funded by Mark Zuckerberg, his aim was to successfully help businesses get a digital transformation. His advice is to understand the client’s vision for satisfactory delivery of work. He believes that a powerful team that can take ownership of work can lead to long-term gains.
A strong and determined personality, his word of note to newbies is to never oversell yourself or undermine your value. Advocating respect and empathy as values to carry at work, his focus and vision led Sugoi labs to reach greater heights. We wish him success in the future.
Read Nayan’s exciting journey:
1. Introduce yourself to us and your company?
I am Nayan, the co-founder at Sugoi Labs.
At Sugoi Labs, as an extended technology team, we help startups and entrepreneurs to build their MVPs and go-to-market products. With some amazing founders, we have built a few delightful consumer-facing MVPs which have scaled in the market.
2. Why did you choose the field of mobile app development? How did you get introduced to this field?
Back in the days when I was graduating from college; exactly the time when the online bubble started taking shape. I was fascinated by the beautiful, seamless mobile apps and the amazing power of the internet to solve problems.
Over the years, this fascination quickly grew as my passion for solving problems and creating unthinkable solutions with the power of the web and mobile increased along. Since then, it made me a lifelong entrepreneur, growth hacker, and a mobile technology aficionado.
I myself have developed a few products in the edu-tech sector which have been funded by Mark Zuckerberg, Sequoia Capital, Sofina, Lightspeed, and World Bank Arm International Finance Corp. (IFC).
3. Why and when did you start Sugoi Labs? Were you planning it, or how did it happen?
Amar (co-founder, at Sugoi Labs & currently Product Manager at Facebook, US) and I were always passionate about technology and the wonders it might do. Both of us were childhood friends and we did a couple of experimental projects together during our college days.
One of our creations during college days was a Facebook page, apnafeelings comics which got over 70 thousand fans in a month. The Facebook page was about friendship, love, and breakups among engineering students.
From there, we started exploring multiple things together and eventually Sugoi Labs happened during our last semester with an intention to help businesses get the digital transformation.
4. How did you get your first client? What was your first project?
The first client is never easy and the most interesting to deal with. The first client always helps in the market research and gaining confidence rather than adding revenue or profits for the company.
Our first client was a local travel agent who used to provide cabs on rent ( there was no ola/uber then in India). We approached him and asked if he needed a website. The guy with his complete innocence mentioned that he has never used a computer before and doesn’t understand what we were trying to sell.
We patiently took a piece of paper, drew some boxes to educate him about computers and how the internet works. We explained to him how this digital piece of information can get him in-bound leads and will help his business. Eventually, he agreed to get a website done for Rs. 8000 ( by paying in 8 installments).
I still remember the days we used to sit in his office for hours explaining to him about the internet and its benefits to get our 1000 rupees installments. The learning was that we should try to sell only what is needed to help someone grow.
The travel agent got most interested in working with us once he realized that getting an online presence will get him more business. Never try to oversell. Thinking from the business owner’s perspective always helps in long-term gain.
5. How do you negotiate your deal with each client? What are the essential points that you consider before saying a yes?
There is no single formula that can help you close the client. What works the best for us is to discuss with all potential clients – why they want to build something rather than what they want to build. This helps us understand the client’s vision and roadmap for the product.
The more passionate the client is about their product, the higher the chances of their success for them. Sugoi’s success is always directly linked to how much our client grows. (Clients growth means more requirements and more billings and eventually a scalable product that every developer wants to contribute to building.)
6. What according to you are the most essential skills that anyone interested in your area of work should develop?
As a freelancer/agency, one should develop a very strong tech team that can take ownership of the work and build something which everyone can cherish. One should not compromise on code quality even if someone has a lower-paying client. What you are building today is going to pay you off eventually with some other client or in form of referrals.
It’s okay not to take a low-paying client if it doesn’t justify the economics but it should not be okay to deliver below-par work. Always set the right expectation with the client from the first day.
7. Any advice for people who are going to start their career in the field of web and Mobile Solutions?
It’s a very interesting domain to be in where we can always be connected to the most recent trends in the industry. Someone who is just starting their career in the web & mobile space, try not to negotiate on low rates and cost as it sets less motivation to build something great.
Choose your clients (even though it may be less initially) precisely. Ensure that the client values the technology and the efforts being put up by you.
8. How do you handle stress?
The startup journey is always a roller-coaster ride. It has its own fun and stress. But then who doesn’t have stress. At times, I play Badminton and the keyboard as it makes me feel good and less stressed.
9. Have you turned down a potential client? If yes, why?
Yes, turning down a high-paying potential client is one of the most difficult choices. However, it becomes easier if your parameter to turn down a potential client is sorted.
We do not take clients who are not empathetic towards others. If a client can not respect any of your team members, it’s best to part ways at the earliest.
10. What would do you differently if you had to begin your career again? What would you focus on once you restart?
If we had to hit the restart button, we would focus on working on products that can scale and halve long-term visions rather than projects with a small lifetime. We would have stressed more on the right use of tools and processes from the first day to set a good example in the industry from the beginning itself.
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