Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
Hello! My name is Gaurav and I am the founder of Vizitor. We have launched a smart visitor management solution that secures the check-in and check-out process at your workplace. We started working on Vizitor 1 year ago because I felt from my experience the manual entries I do everytime I visit an office is really a hectic process. I wanted to make the entire process of check-in and check-out digital.
Visitors coming to work-places are welcomed with Vizitor. Instead of entering their details manually on a register, they enter their details into iPad or Android Tablet running the Vizitor app. The photo of the visitor is captured and SMS/Email/Push notifications are automatically sent to the person who the visitor wants to meet.
For Real-time access control, employees can download the Vizitor Pass application which will allow them to approve/reject visitors with custom messages. Using Vizitor Pass, employees can send personalized invites to visitors. While check-out visitors can leave their reviews/ratings of experience for feedback.
The idea behind Vizitor is to make the check-in/check-out process entirely digital so it's convenient for repeat visitors also, at the same time making the organization’s data and premises secure.
We are next planning to integrate with some access control hardware, to offer an end-to-end security solution for an Enterprise.
We are currently growing at 40% month on month on our MMR and have expanded a lot after the launch of our Free Plan for small organizations.
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
I visited Facebook's HQ way back in 2014 and the first time I saw how they were making the visitors’ check-in digitally and the process was really smooth and in the meanwhile, I completed filling my details, my friend Connie was there to receive me at the entrance. In 2017, I used to visit a company office for some project discussions regularly and that time I realized we really need some system in India to automate this lengthy time-consuming process. I then started researching a visitor management system similar to what I saw in Facebook's office and found that there is no such product that caters to India's market with a good price point and customer user experience.
I would encourage all entrepreneurs is to launch their MVP as soon as possible. Once you will give your product in hand of your customers, their feedback and reviews will be valuable to you and help understand the next steps in product development.
Secondly, at the same time, I got an inquiry from my friend's company regarding building a similar product for their new office. So, this came a perfect timing and intuition that I should continue building a product and make it big.
I had past experience working on multiple SaaS products, even though they were not successful enough but I have learned a lot from my past failures and till now I have to make sure that I iterate fast on the product and in parallel work on the marketing side also.
We did good research in our city Chandigarh while we were building the application and we talked to around 10+ customers which involve consultancies, office, and co-working spaces. They all were happy to sign-up for our beta launch. During the demo and various meetings, the best part is that companies liked the UI/UX of the application and the price is what they are comfortable paying to move from manual registers.
We felt our success was when people themselves started signing up from our website and set up the devices and started using free-trials without our intervention. This was our goal from Day 1 to make our onboarding process smooth and user-friendly as that will help us scale in the future.
Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.
We have a complete suite of applications that comprises two mobile apps and a web-based portal. We initially started with a minimal viable product so we got into the market as quickly as possible, within 3 months we released our first beta version which we thought was good enough to get initial feedback.
Both our applications are software tools, so there is no physical manufacturing process involved. Our main focus from starting is on the UI/UX of the application so it’s easy to use and understand for the end-users. Another important point is regarding the on-boarding process for the organizations which we kept is really simple so we don’t have to spend a lot of time explaining to customers how to set up the application.
On the development side, we built the application on an offline-first approach, as we want that most of the features in the application will still work in case there is no internet connectivity. One of the technical issues we faced after we had our initial customers start using the product is feature deployment and our build release on Google Play and App Store. In our initial build, a lot of features were dependent on the application and each time we have to change or do some customization we have to deploy a new build. We learned from our mistakes and build the features configurable from the backend, where let’s say if you want to enable OTP authentication then you just need to change the value of the database and the application is coded in a way that it will enable that feature. Configurable and customization is the key in modern-day applications as many companies want some customization according to their flow.
We are really helpful to a lot of companies that provide credits in the form of a cloud server, emails, SMS and free access to a lot many services like CRM, etc. All these helped us a lot and saved our costs in initial days which is really critical for a startup.
Describe the process of launching the business.
While the MVP was under development, we launched our website. We created Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages and started posting on them about the launch of Vizitor. We actively started increasing the reach to the audience. Vizitor social media pages got 1k likes and followers in a month.
The first closed beta version was launched in June 2018. We delivered the product to our closed customers for feedback and after real-time deployment, we got to know a lot many smaller issues which we gradually fixed in the coming months. Overall everyone was happy the way the entire process of manual check-ins in digitized and help organizations to keep a check who is inside the premises and detailed reporting which increased their workplace security.
In late January 2019, we started with digital marketing trying different platforms like Google Adwords, Instagram ads, Capterra PPC to generate traffic and users to our website. Slowly and gradually we started getting signups and by the end of the year with our great SEO and content marketing throughout the year, we are able to get a good number of users organically also.
As I have already mentioned about the role of free startup credits provided by many companies and incubations which as an early-stage startup we all should take advantage of to help finance a lot of our expenses. One such program is Y Combinator Startup School which has a lot of deals for their enrolled startups which I personally feel everyone must participate as we have ourselves learned a lot from our founders during our group sessions.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
From the initial days, our main focus was on SEO and generating organic traffic as we were very positive that this will work really great in the long term. Even when the product was maturing and in the feedback from initial customers we started on-site SEO first and then off-site with guest posting. Also, we made sure that we don’t post to websites that have a high spam score as it can affect your ranking in long term, as SEO should be always done thinking about long term value it will get you.
I read somewhere that the price of the product is something your customer will always look at. With our main focus in India and developing countries, our price should be right there for the organizations to be comfortable switching to a digital system. They should not feel like they have to pay a heavy amount just to digitize a small process as initially, they don’t understand the value of product and security it will bring to your workplace.
Building features targeting Indian Market
During our journey, we have a lot of feature requests from Indian customers that are specific to the Indian market or industries I should say. We tried our best to accommodate the requirements which at the end have helped evolve our system. Once such an interesting feature demand was to sign out a visitor by the host so the guard knows that the meeting is over and in the next 5 mins visitor should be out of the premises, not just roam around in the premises.
Launch of Freemium Plan
Recently, 3 months back, we launched our Free plan for smaller organizations, which was really critical and helped generate some good traffic & signups on our website. As, our goal is to eradicate the manual registers entirely so this was a good move by us, as while interacting with the customers we generally got to know that they also wanted to switch to a digital process of check-in but they had a low visitor footfall and many of them were not comfortable paying as they are still a small company.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
We launched Vizitor 1 year ago and after getting a good response from the users and with certain feedback we decided to launch another application Vizitor Pass mainly for the Employees for real-time access control which many of the users required.
We are doing good in terms of the leads we have generated till now. Keeping in mind the features the companies demand, especially focusing on the Indian market, we are working on building those features which can help us onboard more and more customers.
I am happy with the progress we are making day by day and the feedback we get from our customers is really helpful to us. We have also planned to work now more on outbound marketing to generate leads to expand further, with email and social media marketing our main focus.
In the future, we would be working with third-party integrations and launching more advanced features in Vizitor. By the end of this year, we plan to set up Vizitor in at least 50% of the manufacturing companies and industries in India. We would be focusing more on our revenue growth strategies to become a Million Dollar company.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
One of the good decisions we made in our early days is to start working on our SEO and organic growth, which is why today our organic search medium is leading our website traffic and growth. Hiring an in-house graphic designer for social media, website new content and other activities
One of the important approaches of offline support for our application helped us a lot and was a great decision in the beginning. In case there was some downtime as in initial days, we had some issues where while deployment we got stuck and another incident when we were migrating our server. This approach helped us as all the clients were able to use the application and other than host notifications everything was working perfectly due to which we didn’t get any support ticket raised during that unexpected issue.
One interesting thing, I would like to share is the app store optimization of the application. When we launched our application we were getting a lot of downloads through digital marketing. Initially, we were interacting with the clients over the emails and when we started calling we got to know that a lot of them were looking for an application that lets them know about “who visited your profile”. After this, we worked on the app store optimization as some of our keywords were not getting us the targeted users. This was really critical also to correct as the ratio of downloads to signups reduced a lot and was not looking right.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
- Slack - Team communication
- Snov.io - Email Drip Campaign
- SendGrid - Email Marketing Campaign
- Drift - Chatbot
- Streak - CRM for Gmail
- Msg91 - SMS Platform
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
- Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter
- The Secret byRhonda Byrne
- 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
One of the things I would encourage all entrepreneurs is to launch their MVP as soon as possible. Once you will give your product in hand of your customers, their feedback and reviews will be valuable to you and help understand the next steps in product development.
As in multiple cases, I have seen teams building products in silos and end-up changing or pivoting entirely after months of hard work. Iterating fast on the feedback is the key to success, it will save you a lot of time and resources. Talk to your customers as much as possible, in initial days it’s very important for founding team members to discuss with customers about the product.
Another important piece of advice is to know who will be your first 100 customers and prepare a strategy on how you will acquire them. This is really critical for your business to grow as at the end of the day, you should have customers using your product and they will define the success of your product. Don’t wait for a perfect product with all features as it will happen over time as you will grow.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
Sales Head - Full Time- Support Vizitor Sales leads Locally and domestically
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
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