Damiano Raveenthian is a business leader who is, just as we all are, experiencing the abrupt changes and underlying difficulties of this global pandemic. As the founder and CEO of Startup Slang, he has been working day and night to adjust his company to the circumstances.
Founded in 2017, Startup Slang is a Toronto-based eCommerce development agency that aims to revolutionize the creation and scaling of brands to enhance their online presence and experience. They help brands grow by offering creative services for businesses of all sizes and specializes in those brands looking to develop using Shopify and WordPress.
Demanding as it has been, Damiano sees the light at the end of the tunnel and is hopeful that we’ll come out to the other side stronger than ever before. We asked him a few questions about his business, his success, and how he is coping during COVID-19. Here are his thoughts.
Fiverr: How is your business managing with COVID-19 happening right now?
Here at Startup Slang, we build and operate Shopify eCommerce stores on behalf of our clients, who are online retailers. Many of our clients who had brick and mortar locations were hurt by the lockdowns and their businesses shutting down.
This has resulted in a lot of them coming to us for help and doubling down on their online sales channels. We have been helping our clients move their operations online and set up their tech stacks to help them adapt to the new way things work during this crisis.
Fiverr: You have caught a glimpse of the silver living during this time of crisis. Has this been overwhelming in any way? Have there been struggles to manage the increasing workload?
Yes, it has been quite overwhelming. New clients all want to get online as soon as possible. We had to learn to automate as many manual processes as possible within our business.
Also, we have been mass hiring and training people to help us with the new workload. Fiverr has also been a big help as we have been able to leverage freelance talent on the platform to quickly deliver quality work for our projects.
Fiverr: How do you think your business will evolve to accommodate the next several months, or even longer until the world returns to business as usual?
I think that a lot of industries having to deal with essential services are going to be in high demand going forward. People will be more aware of needing these products. Companies will also need to invest heavily in their online channels and content to stay relevant and drive traffic to their online side revenue channels.
I also think that remote work will become the new normal. This time has allowed a lot of companies to test out this new work structure and realize that it can be productive to have a remote team. This will enable workers to get out of the “plan around work” mentality, which will result in more freedom and more time for everyone.
Fiverr: How are you balancing working from home?
As a freelancer, I started my company working from home. Even when we grew and got an office for our team, we made sure that the office was in a WeWork, which allowed us to take our membership and work from over 200 cities in the world. We built our business to be remote first, and because of that, we were able to adapt well to the new remote work environment. We came out as experts ready to help companies that are struggling with this fact.
Fiverr: What was the hardest decision you’ve made in the past few weeks?
We had to allow a few of our customers to change the payment plan that they agreed on initially. This is because they either had to let people go or their business’ cash flow was affected, or both. We also had to, unfortunately, let a few of our clients go as they could not continue with their financial commitments to us due to the lockdown.
Fiverr: What tools, websites, or content have you found to be the most helpful?
We have started using Zoom throughout our entire organization to hold virtual meetings. We now spend most of our time in Zoom calls, and we have also found a secret feature that saves and transcribes video call recordings for easy note-taking. It is a really handy tool that has helped us be that much more connected while being apart.
Since we are a Canadian company, we also rely on the information given to us by our government through its website. We have made it a point to check it regularly for updates. We also keep track of COVID-19’s spread by checking this map: https://www.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6.
Fiverr: When everything begins to settle, what is this first thing you’ll focus on?
We are looking at building some applications that will allow some businesses to adapt their business online. We think that when things will settle, working online will become the new normal, and this massive migration of people’s work environment is here to stay. We are hoping to be able to serve the work-from-home workforce with intuitive tools that will help them be more productive.
Fiverr: What advice would you share with other small business owners at this time?
Be creative, and get scrappy. There are tons of tools to be able to rebuild your business through online means in many cases. Find agencies like Startup Slang, which can help you do just that. Team up with companies that are doing well during this time. There is opportunity everywhere, and, just like in the last recession, this will determine which industries to invest in for decades to come.
It is a strange and uncomfortable time in history for all of us right now, but this time will break some businesses in the same way that it will make some of them.
How to scale your own business successfully
If you are looking to extend niche services for your business to your customers, use Fiverr gigs. With a wide variety of categories offered by freelancers, you can offer just about any opportunity to enhance your client’s experience and to alleviate heavy workflow for your team.