Startup > My Story > Basil Abbas
Basil Abbas

Basil Abbas

TECSOL Software

Short Description

Every business idea is a good business. The question is are you willing to run behind it and make it to the top. Have real passion and make sure you love the job. This is the only thing that keeps you going and things get tough.

Brief about company, offerings and foundation of the company

We are a mobile application development company. We currently deal with iOS and Android development. Very soon we will be staring up windows mobile development and  web development. Our software development was started in July 2011. We started as a one person company. Today we are proud to be a 14 member company.

Risks involved in business and way of addressing

The biggest challenge when stating any service is that you need to know at least 70% of the technicalities. Hiring professionals was not an option as experienced people in this domain are really expensive. In order to be lean with very calculated risks I started to develop my skill over a period of 3 months. I leaned the application development form Stanford online courses and started to execute small projects. Our first set of projects were obtained online through the various freelancing websites. Today we have our marketing and sales team looking for projects from alternate sources.

Most critical decision

In a startup every decision has a risk attached to it. Without taking a risk growth can be limited. For example while expanding from out small 500sq foot office to a 2800sq foot space we need to pump in a lot of funds. This was the real risk and critical to our startup. There is no real way of analyzing the ROI at such an early stage. We needed the space in order to hire more people and intern contribute to our revenue. Every startup must have at least 6 months of capital and real passion for getting the organization rolling. A demand and supply kind of arrangement leads to a very difficult and slow growth pattern in return for very little or minimum risk.

Some of the difficulties faced while building product/ solution

As a startup you are really crunched on funds. Getting a good product/solution requires an excellent team. How did we battle this situation? Knowing 70% of the technicalities involved I was in a position to train people. I stated to look for people who I knew well during my engineering days, who had real passion for the technology and made them an offer. I didn’t even mind hiring freshers and training them internally. This really paid off. We were able to not only able to have an excellent technical team that was truly passionate, focused, fully understood our goals, missions and values but our team was better than any person with 3+ years of experience and all this for a very optimized cost.

Three big lessons/ mistakes encountered while building company

As a startup you need to be as lean as possible in order to survive in todays economy. Know 70% of every process in your company. With today’s social and online platforms, information and learning material can be found very easily. There is no excuse for not knowing something. If there is some skill that you posses and can do the job yourself, get it done YOURSELF. For example while we were expanding we were presented with a 1.12lac electrical wiring by one of our contractors. Since we had extensive knowledge of electrical systems we got entire work done our selves with a total bill for 15,000.00INR! This is just one of the examples where we were able to save a lot. What’s more we involved the whole team. This contributed a lot to the team working and collaboration skills. Never ignore marketing from day one. We always focused on supply and demand and had comfortable with the number of projects that were coming in. Fast we realized that we could do better with an efficient marketing team. Marketing takes at least 6 months to have some effect on the organization. Never loose hope on marketing during this time. Invest heavily not into the office, but rather into your employees. We have a very small office. But this office has everything from a PS3, an unlimited pantry this is always filled with any eatables of the employees choice. We never think twice before any team outings. At the end of the day its your team that can take you to great products and services. Just an expensive office has never got any start up any where. 

Different actions if I rebuild my company from scratch all over again

Have at least six months capital to run your startup. This will help to really get up to speed with the industry. Focus on marketing from day one. Have a detailed business plan with well defined targets and ensure you stick to it. Look for mentors that will guide you wherever possible. 

Motivation and Drives factor

Technology has always amazed me. It changes everyday and this is what makes the whole industry very exciting. We always wanted to be the best at what we do. We are looking to be atleast on the top 25 of every application store online. Always run behind something that you have real passion for. This is the only way to ensure your startup has the best solution or service. If you do not have the passion it is very difficult to loose your way in the process. If you have an idea make sure to run behind it till it makes it till the top.

Unique about my way of motivating troops

Always listen to your employees. Communication is very important no matter what the scale of your office. Spend at least 10-20% of your time talking with them and discussing important issues with them. We even discuss revenues with them so that everyone has the same drive and responsibility that we have into the goals of the company. If there is any issue address it immediately. Do not wait for it to brew and explode. Keep reminding everyone of your mission, goals and values.


Way of choosing my people

All our hires are done internally. We look for people who come from reference so that there is a sense of responsibility to wards the company. We generally hire freshers as we have already mastered the art of training them. We make a clear distinction between an MNC and a startup to them. We explain to them why a startup is more fun, exciting and challenging to them rather than a boring assembly line kind of work at an MNC. If this is truly what they are looking for then they join us. Since for most of them TECSOL were their fist jobs there is a sense of collective responsibility and commitment from them. Also the kind of work that we do is challenging and exciting.

The challenges and lessons learnt to get first customer

You always need a backdoor entry while approaching your first clinet. It all depends on your networking skills. You really need to look for a company that has a real need of your product or service and then approach them through some contact that you may have within the company. This is not an easy task but some one needs to get it done. You have to be very social and make a pitch the moment you get a chance. Social gatherings are the best place to advertise your self via word of mouth!

Experience of reaching out to potential investors

An investor never really invests in your idea or business plan. Yes they love to see that you have put in the effort for the plan. They simply throw away your financial projections. They really invest in you. The look fro the passion and invest in this. We have never had to approach an investor yet. We are taking the slow growth path so that we learn from every single mistake that we make. Eventually when we need the investment we would be fully prepared.

My role at different dimensions as the company evolved
Share your passion with every fellow employee. Create a drive for innovation and excellence. From the initial days I used to code with my employees along with them. As the company grew I started to look into more skills that needed attention and developed them. I am a strong believer of the 70% rule. Today I guide my team be it in marketing, sales, leadership etc.
As a leader how I make sure that I am connecting the right dots

Always calculate your risks. For me Excel has become my favorite tool. Every major decision that involves numbers are taken using Excel. But excel will only take you so far. Be open to suggestions. Get your employees involved and listen to what they have to say as well. Look for mentors, industry experts and get suggestions and feedback. Do your research online about other companies and how they got so far. Books and biographies are also another major source of inspiration.

My thoughts related to entrepreneurship/ leadership and management

Your team is your biggest asset. If you can convince them that your company is the best place to work and keep them happy, you have nailed it.

Best company I admire globally

Apple would the company. They have the best missions and values. No doubt they work very hard and has had the best metor and guide (Steve Jobs). Steve Jobs might have not been the best person. But lets face it, if he didn’t push it the company would not be 1% better than the rest of the competitors.

Advice for fellow entrepreneurs

Every business idea is a good business. The question is are you willing to run behind it and make it to the top. Have real passion and make sure you love the job. This is the only thing that keeps you going and things get tough.