Starting up: The first two hires

 by Shalin Jain  on   07 Jul 2011

A long time ago, I was a solo entrepreneur. Worked out of my bedroom for 3 years. Extremely profitable, with a product that had become very popular in its segment. And one fine day, I was invited by an engineering college to speak about software and my experience being an entrepreneur while in college. All went well until they requested me to take a few students as interns at Tenmiles. I almost agreed and then realized that I don’t even have an office space. Honestly, that lead to me getting an office space, thinking of the next product and getting the first two full-time employees. I started with hiring.

Fortunately and quickly enough, I could find really interesting people in my network. Met two academically brilliant engineering graduates who studied with me at high-school. Location: Coffee shop. They had just finished their engineering while I was already 3 years in business. They loved my vision but couldn’t risk working for me in comparison to the offers they already had. I did my best but couldn’t win them.

I went on to next set of people, in LinkedIn terminology – they were my 2nd degree of contacts. Next interview location: high-end chinese restaurant. Web developer with reasonable experience writing web apps. Went well, he was ready to join Tenmiles. Of course, he asked me where was the office located. He couldn’t believe Tenmiles was a one-man show. I reassured him that the office would be up and running before his notice period ends.

Now, I was really desperate to hire one more person. Wanted someone who was good with SQL, designing database and write the core application. I was lucky. Found a guy over the same weekend. Interviewed him in a coffee shop. Told him about the other guy who was coming on-board. After 2-hour long discussion and couple of rounds of coffee, I got a ‘will get back to you’ response. My chances seemed 50-50. But I was sure, that I need an office space immediately. The hunt began.

Two days later, this guy actually got back to me. And he got back to me with a positive response. By then I had already found a great place close to my house. Ordered dell machines, setup interiors and even threw an inaugural party. My 3 year old company was reset into the startup mode.

Growing your business: Leads & Relationship

 by Shalin Jain  on   06 Jul 2011

Leads turn into customers. Relationship set a foundation for great reputation, referrals and repeat business from your customers. Lead costs money. Relationships are all about investing time.

So, if you are thinking about growing your business, don’t just count on leads, build relationships.

Location is everything

 by Vikram  on   02 Nov 2010

When deciding on the best location for your business, what are the key factors that you would typically keep in mind?

  • Image; is the location perceived by customers as a place they would visit, such as a Central Business District
  • Accessibility; will the location be within acceptable commuting distances for your staff
  • Gastronomy; how well do restaurants encircling the location resemble a hub and spoke model

There are many more factors to consider, but over at Tenmiles, we hold gastronomy in high regard.

Food is a necessary part of our daily existence but the quality of food defines the manner in which we both enjoy it and respond to discussions we may be involved in. Here at Tenmiles (and we’re pretty sure the same applies to many of you as well), the majority of our product ideas are usually conceived over informal discussions between 1-2pm and 4-6pm. That’s not to say we don’t ideate during the remaining parts of the day, but statistics show that a number of our pivotal decisions have taken shape during these times.

A closer inspection reveals that the common denominator in all these ideating sessions has been the presence of good food. Although it wasn’t a key factor in selecting #1, Nungambakkam High Road as the home of Tenmiles, the proximity to some of the city’s finest dining joints has grown to become a crown jewel.

Whether its a thin-crust pizza over lunch or a well sized grilled sandwich as an evening snack, the ability to source good food within easy reach allows us to satisfy our gastronomical desires, feed our brains and ensure that our ideas keep growing and eventually take shape.

Good food surely does lead to great ideas, especially if your workplace fosters an informal, team oriented culture. So if you happen to be on the lookout for a location to house your HQ, be sure to sniff out the surrounding areas for popular eat out joints.

On the contrary, if you’re well settled in your current location, how important is your need for good food? We’d love to know!

This post is the final part of a series on Optimizing your server. Check out Part 1 (Apache and Passenger Architecture) and Part 2 (Apache and Passenger Directives) of the series if you have not already. In this post, we will look at gathering metrics for your application and tuning the directives accordingly.
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Tenmiles turns ten

 by rethas  on   20 Sep 2010

What began as a single man, no-office-premises company in Madras (now Chennai), Tenmiles has now completed ten years in operation and has grown from one product to now having a modest, yet proud Vanity Shelf. We have attracted people, helped people solve their problems with our software and are ambitious about making the company the biggest software product company in the country. Read on to know about the insights of the company, from someone who’s seen things from close quarters.

At the helm of Tenmiles, is Shalin Jain, the Founder and CEO who decided he wanted to be one at the age of 18. While he was good at designing websites and making flash presentations back then, his constant dream to be involved with a software product company and engage in making good software, was hard to forget. Thus began the company. The first product was Screenswift, which simply converted flash screensavers into screensaver installers. You could get that Spiderman flash screen into your desktop screensaver in a jiffy. The tool was available in Free and Enterprise editions and we found takers in the likes of IBM, Microsoft and Disney for the Enterprise edition. That was it. We had to be doing something right!
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10 useful tips for your sales team

 by Vikram  on   09 Sep 2010

I strongly feel that selling is an art and one that is refined over time. Regardless of the product/concept/service being sold, there are certain key factors which I feel form the foundation for a successful sales drive.

1. Develop a 30 second elevator pitch, that sticks to the 30 second limit
The elevator pitch is meant to captivate an individual to such an extent that he/she is anxious to learn more about your product. It should serve as your opening statement and project a creative, yet factual representation of what your product stands for. That said, content from your sales collateral/brochures should not find their way to the elevator pitch.

For example, a web based application is supposed to run on the cloud, so making references to this in a 30 second pitch just doesn’t add any value. Rather, think about the positive emotions that the use of your product generates, regardless of what your product may be. Does it inspire creativity in those who design with it? Or does using your product deliver a smile on every end user’s face? Bring out these intangible benefits in your elevator pitch and connect with your prospective customers on a more personal level.

2. Know who your customer is before selling to them
A common trait displayed by Sales teams these days is to start selling a product/concept to a prospective customer without really delving into how it would benefit the end user. Your product may have a wide variety of amazing features that potentially serve every conceivable need but often, customers have a single pain point, which one of your standard, run of the mill features may address.

Learn more about your customer, their company and how they operate. Once you’re armed with all the details, paint a picture in their minds that makes it easier for them to relate to how your product fits their needs. You just might find that in responding to how their pain point can be solved by merely highlighting a single feature that your product offers, you’ve bagged the sale.
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