Today we have selected Sirisha Varma To to take her Interview. She is the Founder, Head-Marketing, Branding by Pixels – a Business Strategy Design and Digital Marketing company focussed on bringing Financial Success to Small Business Owners.
First of all, how are you and your team doing in these COVID-19 times?
Unlike many other Businesses, Covid has been a blessing in disguise for me and my team. We have been so busy all these years taking care of the day-to-day business operations of running and managing a Digital Agency and Crafting new business strategies for our clients that I was a Founder did not spend enough time on planning executing my vision for my organization. The downtime and the extra time that came with Covid helped me rethink about myBusiness and also plan ways in which I could add more value to my clients and community.
This propelled me into starting a Youtube Channel to provide educational content on Business Strategy and DigitalMarketing for Small Business Owners in India, Building a Community of Digital Marketers, Published a book for Small Business Owners – https://www.amazon.com/Business-Rules-Small-BusinessesEntrepreneurs ebook/DP/B08Q8RT3RW/ref=sr_1_2dchild=1&keywords=17+business+rules+for+Small+businesses&qid=1610945588&s=books&sr=1-2, Started another Brand Focussed on providing Educational content on Digital Marketing Strategies which are Domain-specific to SmallBusiness Owners – https://smallbusinessmantra.com/, LearningaboutMindset and working on Self Development, Making connections by reaching out to other Small Business Owners across the world. Our Company’s Vision has always been to help Small Business Owners but with the Community, Youtube, and The new Educational website I am sure that we have found more ways to serve them better.
Tell us about yourself, your career, how you founded or joined this company?
I am Sirisha Varma and I have a Master’s Degree in Business Administration with a dual specialization in Finance and Marketing. I started my career with IT in ERPFinancials space, moved onto a Sales Performance Management tool, and by the time I left the corporate job I was in a Senior position with one of the Top 5Management Consultingcompanies in the world. I was always interested in Sales and Marketing I also worked as a BusinessDevelopment Manager for a short duration of 9 months in my IT company selling their software products by influencing our VP that I would be good at that job. Post 9 months with 1 sale under my belt (B2B SAAS product), the company management moved me back to Consulting wing due to a new project which they were sure I only could handle. I tried getting back into Sales but did not happen so when I got married to my current husband who is a professional photographer who launched his own business I took the opportunity to learn Digital Marketing to Create a Brand and generate Leads from the Internet. Post 8 years 90% of our business comes from the internet and clients book his services without even meeting him face to face. I started my Digital Marketing agency “Branding by Pixels” 6 years ago and have now included services like Business Strategy and Consulting.
How does your company innovate?
Our Innovations are 100% Market Driven. We launched our E-commerce Marketing service when we saw an increase in the number of E-commerce companies in India that were struggling with Brand creation and Sales. Similarly, we launched “Amazon Optimization Services” when India Sellers started selling on Amazon without understanding this new landscape and failed due to the competitiveness of the marketplaceWe were also the first company in the Indian market to incorporate MonthlyReporting into our services, providing our clients more visibility into our process and where their brand stands in the digital world at any point of time. Now that we have seen there is a lack of Domain-Specific Marketing Courses we have ventured into Educational initiative specifically targeted at Small BusinessOwners.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business and how are you coping?
There is a lot of uncertainty in the Market place due to Corona and business owners are afraid to take up any new initiatives as the mood currently is to preserve capital rather than investing in Marketing so though we are getting a lot of inquiries the conversions have been very low. So, of course, our Business has been affected but rather than stand to complain we at“Branding by Pixels” are using this time to invest in up-skilling ourselves with new technologies, providing Educational Courses to make our prospects better prepared for future thus building better rapport.
Did you have to make difficult choices and what are the lessons learned?
Yes, we had to cut down our staff and also close our office as it was not safe enough to work from the office anymore.
The lessons learned are – Better to take up Qualitative projects than just concentrate on Quantity. Also, we have reduced our Service Offerings to start Niching up as it makes sense for a Business to be a Big fish in a small pond which is more competitive and has better Brand Recall in People’s minds. Going forward also we are only going to work remotely rather than invest in fixed costs like office and use that to invest in marketing our own brand to a wider audience.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
We have embraced tools like “Chatbots” on our website so we can engage with every visitor that comes onto our website which was previously absent. Apart from that, we are using Zoom for our Prospect meetings, Slack for Team
Assignments, Asana for CRM and also investing in Marketing to reach a wider audience. We have been up-skilling ourselves both Mindset wise and Marketing wise, Learning how Businesses work, and also work towards a Bigger Vision rather than the now.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
We have lots of competitors in our Domain. Coming from a Digital Marketing world – Anybody with a Laptop and an Internet connection, to the MarketingConsultants who do not know the difference between a Facebook Profile versus a business Page, this space is crowded with Preachers than Doers. We Pride ourselves in Generating results for our clients by being outright honest with them regarding what we can do for their Business. It has served us well in the
past and I am sure it will serve us in the future too. I do not consider that we have any Competitors for my brand “Branding by Pixels” because we are true to our core which is Honest, Result Oriented Strategies for our
Clients. As a Founder, I strongly believe that We are Only Limited by our Lack ofImagination so we are Propelling forward with Gusto!
Your Final Thoughts
These are Testing Times for all Entrepreneurs around the world. Entrepreneurship is a Tough, Lonely journey without the Pandemic but since the pandemic, many Entrepreneurs feel dejected and might have also lost faith that
things will get back to normal again. It is a depressing feeling but as an Entrepreneur, you are part of the 1% of the world so you can not give up because you propel this world into the future. Elon Musk is a great example – he is creating futuristic products which might save mankind one day though we may not be doing things as radical as him, in your own way you are adding value to your community so NEVER GIVE UP! You are only DOWN not OUT as long you Don’t Give Up. I would love to get connected with you so if you like my thoughts in this article you can drop me a note on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Together we can achieve more!