Iranthi Gomes: How To Maintain Successful Relationships With Investors, Customers, And Employees
The key to a successful business is very simple, it’s hard work and strong relationships. As a 29-year-old CEO of a global software company, I believe that there’s nothing that’s more important than these to the success of a business.
I founded Serviceform with my life and business partner, Jarkko Oksanen back in 2018. The idea behind Serviceform was to take away the fear of tech. Jarkko and I wanted to build a platform that can help businesses generate more leads and convert them into customers through digital platforms. So, we built a website conversion suite called Serviceform.
What started with just the two of us, within five years has now grown into a company with five offices and a team of 60+ people. How did we do it? Quite simple, hard work and strong relationships.
In this article, I want to focus more on the relationships aspect of a successful business. There are several different types of relationships that you’re going to have to maintain when running a business. Relationships with your business partners, the leadership team of your company, your employees, investors and your customers are the most important relationships that you need to build.
Let’s Go Through Them One By One And See How They Contribute To Your Business.
Find The Perfect Partner
The business partner/s you choose can be the difference between a multinational enterprise and your everyday street corner shop. Therefore, you need to find a partner who can complement your skills and also bring a different set of skills to the table. I believe that this is exactly what I have with Jarkko.
“It’s a good balance,” Jarkko commented about the relationship he has with Iranthi. “I brought a lot of technical knowledge and Ira brought the public relations aspect and the management skills.”
Our relationship has been a key part of our success. We’ve identified each other’s strengths and weaknesses and together we make a perfect team.
Be The Leader You Want Everyone Else To Be
You can’t expect anyone else to be something if you can’t be that yourself. So don’t expect your team to be something that you aren’t. I always look at leadership in the eyes of how I would like to be treated by someone who’s in a higher position than me. That’s how I want to treat my team.
Another key element of the relationship between you and your team is trust. You need to be able to trust your team to do their jobs and they need to be able to trust you to voice any suggestions or frustrations they might have about the work they’re doing. This is the best way to create a healthy working environment.
Having a good working environment can also immensely help your company when it comes to recruiting. Your team and their circle of connections are one of the best sources to find good employees for your vacant positions. And if your team are happy with their jobs, they’re more likely to recommend your company to their friends who might be looking for a change.
Be Your Investor’s Dream
A strong relationship with your investors is the key to getting more referrals, which will ultimately open up the door for more potential investors. My best tip: always maintain an honest and open line of communication with your investors.
Due diligence is very important when you’re trying to secure funding for your business. If your company has been operating for a while, your investors will check all documentation, financials, employee contracts, customer lists, etc. Anything to confirm that you’re not lying. Make sure you’re raising the money for the right reasons and for the right company – as after others invest, you’re in it for the long term.
We managed to secure €2.2 million in February 2022 from the Swedish venture capital fund, Backingminds. The key to securing that funding was doing our own research and not being afraid to reach out. Do your own research, whether it’s from your own connections, going to events, looking at Linkedin profiles, or just by Googling. In essence, do outbound sales, send Linkedin requests, emails, and phone calls – and also make sure to fill out the pitch form on the investor’s website (if they have one).
Give Your Customers A Service They Are Going To Remember
This is the most important relationship that you need to maintain in order to make your business a success. A strong relationship with the customer base is an indispensable element to the success of any business. How do I maintain a strong relationship with my customers? My biggest priority is my customers. Whenever a customer needs my help with anything, I always prioritize that request over my other work.
Serviceform’s first customer was a children’s play centre from Andover, UK called Totcity. We were dedicated to providing all the support they required to get set up and make the most of our conversion tools. Our dedication and hard work have borne fruit as five years later, Totcity is still using Serviceform tools and getting incredible results.
Louise from Totcity was the first customer. When they said they were going to pay for our product, I asked, ‘wait, you are going to pay us $35 a month?’ I was like Wow! Louise became a friend. She had my WhatsApp number and I assured her that we’ll be there for her 24/7.
Good communication with customers is very important not just because that allows you to provide a better service to your already existing customers. Good communication with your customers will help your sales team to perfect their pitch for their next sales meeting, your marketing team to get a better understanding of who your customers are to create better-targeted campaigns and it will even get you more referrals.
I believe that hard work and healthy relationships with the stakeholders of your business are imperative to the success of any business. My final piece of advice is, always be honest and true to yourself. Don’t take things too seriously and always try to make work fun and have a laugh. That way, your day will be more efficient, and you won’t burn yourself out.
About The Author
Iranthi Gomes is the CEO and Co-founder of Serviceform – a marketing technology company known for their website conversion tools like chatbots and live chats. Serviceform has 50+ employees and 5 offices around the world including Finland, Sweden, Spain, Sri Lanka, and most recently, the United Kingdom.
Iranthi was named Forbes 30 Under 30 Europe for the Technology category, class of 2022.
To find out more visit: https://www.serviceform.com