Hey all! If you have been following the Fitbots Spotlight series, we are sure you would love this one as well.
The Fitbots team caught up with the entrepreneurial Amit Panchal, Co-founder of All Events , a leading event discovery platform. Amit takes us through his journey of starting the company and turning every missing link into an opportunity!
Fitbots Team: How did you come up with your start up idea?
Amit: After my graduation, I worked with Patni Computers for a while. My friend Ruchit (Co-founder All Events.in) & I considered starting our own company. We started an IT services company and were lucky to have a lot of clients and projects in a very short span of time.
Like every other startup, in the early days, we too had our eyes set on quick growth and high visibility. With this very objective in mind, we attended a local business meetup in Ahmedabad, to network with potential clients. We realized that such events are very critical to help businesses like ours grow and build visibility. However, it dawned upon us that there was no single platform in our city which had a consolidated list of such events being organized across locations, except Facebook.
Considering this missing link as a critical opportunity, we started exploring various platforms, aggregated events details and created a platform which could showcase all the events in our city. What we slowly figured that this was a problem that existed not just across cities but also globally across many countries.
Within a year of starting All Events.in, we started getting many events listed and more than 1 million monthly visitors on our platform. Having achieved this visibility, we quickly shifted our focus on creating high quality user experience and product features to ensure no one missed an event of their choice. About 3 years ago we moved into ticketing space and now we offer it as a service globally!
Fitbots Team: Every start up has a great team behind it. How did you build yours?
Amit: We were initially an IT services company when All Events as an idea happened. When we started hitting the desired number of visitors on allevents.in, my co-founder and I started building the purpose & vision of the platform. With our story and mission clear, we spoke to our team and moved everyone from the IT service setup to product development. We were only a 5 member company then.
Our hiring hack was to leverage the events we attended, as a platform to hire our future talent. Our focus was on hiring people with the right attitude & skills.
Fitbots Team: What were your key challenges while scaling the business?
Amit: Our biggest challenge was to maintain the server capacity because of the humongous traffic we were experiencing. All our focus was on ensuring that we don't lose visitors due to server issues. Once we scaled the tech team, we were able to manage the server issues. The next big challenge was to focus on marketing & branding efforts.
Fitbots Team: When did you think about implementing OKRs?
Amit: With the speed of scale in business, we also experienced a spike in our hiring and team size. Once the team size started growing beyond 10, we wanted to focus on ensuring that the reporting structures and reviews were methodical.
Four years ago, we read about Google using OKRs and how they scaled using this model. Honestly, in our first trial, we failed on the implementation of OKRs and the key elements to its success.
The team at Upekkha Valus SaaS introduced us to outcome based performance focus. Prior to this, we were grappling with accountability, task management and achieving milestones. We were coached to create a 6 month plan, action items and the plans to achieve the 6 month goals.
However, what we were still missing out was accountability, goal setting and prioritization. That is when I was introduced to the book "Measure What Matters" by John Doerr. This book was an eye opener and helped us completely change our focus towards OKR implementation.
My key takeaway from this book was that regular one-on-one check-ins and having a culture that supports OKR adaptation are the key success factors to ensuring OKR success. We now have defined our culture to match "how we want people to behave in times of success, adversities and struggles"
Fitbots Team: Could you tell us some of your Top OKRs that are linked to the Company Vision?
Amit: Currently our top Product OKRs for the company is to look at
Objective: Make the event discovery happen on AE
KR 1: Increase daily active users from X to Y
KR 2: Improve listing page to event page conversion from X to Y
Similarly, for sales & marketing, our KRs are
KR1 : Increase monthly active organizers from X to Y
KR 2: Increase ticket sales from X to Y
This helps us focus on our organization vision of "being the top most event discovery platform"
Fitbots Team: How often do you check progress with your team? How do you really quantify progress in your teams?
Amit: I always use a standard example with my team. If you were travelling to a destination, you would most likely plan measures like
# KM travelled
# Time Taken to travel the distance
# Milestone crossed (in proportion to the actual destination)
This would help you adjust your effort, time & speed keeping in mind the contingencies to reach your destination. If you cannot meet the needed requirements to reach the destination, then reroute. I use this context to help them work on defining their progress and next steps.
We have check-in meetings everyday, to check the progress and plan on achieving a predicted accuracy rate; mostly suggested by the team members themselves. Today, they are highly number focused due to the action around OKRs.
Fitbots Team: What changes do you see in your team after introducing OKRs?
Amit: We have an OKR champion who manages the team's OKR updation. Our monthly team conversations are centered around the KRs, and the efforts required to achieve outcomes.
Today, the team can definitely know if they are not rightly aligned to the company OKRs. They are very well aware of the impact of their effort on the overall company progress.
Prioritization has become the key focus for everyone in the team
Fitbots Team: What are the top outcomes you achieved by using OKRS?
Amit: Team alignment is a very obvious outcome. Today, we can visualize that the whole team is moving in the same direction even with the smallest steps they take. This has started impacting our revenues very positively
The second outcome is that we as founders can focus on the company strategy and visioning rather than only the day to day operational activities.
Fitbots Team: Any signing out message for our readers Amit?
Amit: I would say, it is best to give it a try, its better to try, fail, learn from the mistakes & reset things again. By not doing anything, you cannot realize the benefits of this amazing framework.
If implementing Org or team level OKRs seems difficult, start with your individual OKRs and see how you make progress. You will definitely realize the wonders this framework can do. Don't just focus on the tools, focus on the process. Start small, make significant achievements and then scale it with the right tools. Seek help & guidance from the experts available in this field.
Thank You Amit, we really enjoyed this discussion and the amazing clarity of thoughts you brought about with regards to implementing OKRs.
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