To Shimbi Labs Team,
First of all thank you to my team at Shimbi Labs, who come to work every day with relentless customer obsession, ingenuity, and commitment to excellence. On behalf of Team at Shimbi Labs and me, I also want to extend a huge thanks to customers. It’s incredibly energising for us to see your responses to our product and services. We are what we are because of you, and we never forget it for a moment.
Also, wishing you and your loved one happy new year.
Today I would like to discuss the culture of high standards. Why should we build a culture of high standards? And steps required to maintain and continue to build it at Shimbi Labs.
One thing is obvious today about customers is that they are increasingly discontent. Their expectations are never static – they always go up. People always have an appetite for a better way, better product and yesterday’s ‘wow’ quickly becomes today’s ‘ordinary’ — this cycle of improvement happening at a faster rate than ever before. It may be because customers have easy access to more information than ever before – a couple of taps on their phones, customers can read reviews, compare prices of products and get quick and free access to the free demo.
So how do you stay ahead of ever-rising customer expectations? There’s no single answer or way to do it – it’s a combination of many things. However, high standards in everything you do is indeed a bigger contributor to success.
At Shimbi Labs, we’ve had some successes over the years in our quest to meet the high expectations of customers. We’ve also had a significant share of failures along the way. With those experiences, I wish to propose 5 points action plan to maintain high standards at Shimbi Labs.
But first, let me spell some benefits of High Standards.
Benefits Of High Standards.
Most Natural and most apparent benefit of high standards as a part of your company culture is you’re going to develop better products and services for customers.
A little less obvious but yet significant benefit of high standards culture is people are attracted to the best and wish to work with best – they help with recruiting and retention of only the best.
Moreover, a more subtle benefit of a culture of high standards is proactive. People work on all the “invisible” but crucial work that no one sees — but they get it done when no one is watching them. It means you have only The Professional working with you.
5 Points Action Plan To Maintain High Standards At Shimbi Labs.
Do we need to select for “high standards” people?
No, because I firmly believe high standards are teachable.
In fact, people are pretty good at learning high standards just by exposure.
High standards are contagious. Bring a new person onto a high standards team, and they’ll quickly adapt. The opposite is also true. If low standards prevail, a high standard person will also quickly give up.
So hire people who believe in high standards, they are ready to work hard and learn to adapt or achieve high standards. People with reckless behaviour and putting me first, customer later is clear NO for us.
2. Location Doesn't Matter.
While hiring people, hire for the best skills, and their belief in a high standard of the work environment. We don't want to restrict our talent search to the local region. It doesn't matter where they are or in which time zone they are. We are ok to work from anywhere policy. Let people select if they want to work from home, or cafe or co-working space or even on the beach.
What matters most is a productive working condition where innovation is encouraged and getting the job done is a top priority. Instead of seating in one glass-walled building and paying for it from customer pockets, we will rather explore the world and stay near our customers and charge them less.
We wish to build the high standard product and provide high standard services, nothing else really matters.
3. Communication Is Key To Success
Communicate, discuss, keep information easily accessible and work on transparency will be critical to future success. We are an internet company; we work on the internet, and we sell on the internet. We hardly have the opportunity to meet our customers or prospects, the only chance for us and them to know each other is through website, email, project management system or different electronic way of communications.
In such a case, keeping all possible communication channels open and ensuring that our customers and our team spread across the globe feel at home and have access to all possible information is so crucial.
Just follow a simple rule while working on anything.
Communicate > Confirm > Commit
We must follow high standards in all our communication too.
4. Small But Fast Matters Most.
As discussed earlier, how customers are increasingly discontent and their ever-rising expectations for better services and better products are new default of market trends. Yesterday’s ‘wow’ quickly becomes today’s ‘ordinary’ — it is necessary to deliver fast and deliver better.
It's ok to deliver small improvements but fast, yet it should significantly helping customers in bettering the way they were doing earlier. Innovation is in small things; people don't expect an everyday blockbuster release of the software, it's not a movie. They just expect incremental improvement in what they were doing yesterday to today.
Weekly release cycle will be good enough for minor improvements that really matter.
High standard products simply work intuitively.
5. Accept Change
Technology is changing rapidly, and so is the lifestyle of people. Today technology is influencing every aspect of our life. More and more tasks are outsourced to machine than human. In the short term its creating fear in the minds of everyone, but in the long term, it will help us do more things to be creative, kind and human.
We will no longer need to do low-end jobs; it means everyone will have access to better life and opportunity than just serving one section of elite society by other section of society.
However, during this transition, many people may suffer due to not adopting and upgrading to a new way of life. We no longer can have only one set of skill and do lifetime job round it. Technology is crossing over all industries, and it means we must adopt new skill sets and working a new way of doing the same job.
I suggest 3 fundamentals change to everyone:
- Train your brain to think that change is for the better.
- Accept that even if your job does not vanish, it will change drastically. Be ready.
- Don’t miss the opportunity to live many lives in one life. Learn many things.
You can read more on this here.
(A note based on my talk at women meetup group in Pune.)
So, to maintain and continue the culture of high standards, I believe these five points will work for us are:
- hire people who believe in high standards.
- hire for the best skills and don't restrict talent search to the local region.
- follow high standards in communication.
- high standard products simply work intuitively.
- don’t miss the opportunity to live many lives in one life. Learn many things.
On June 2018 we completed 13 years of our existence, and our core values and vision towards our products and customer remain unchanged:
Developing simple, powerful yet affordable software for Small Business.
We recognise that we are in the competitive market, but we believe everything we do we do it differently to make sure our customer life gets better than before by using our software. We know there is much we can do better. We find tremendous energy in the many challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.
Finally, a huge thank you to all our customer for allowing us to serve you, to our partners for your support, and Shimbi Labs team everywhere for your resourcefulness, your passion, and your high standards.
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Shimbi Computing Laboratories Pvt. Ltd