Learn how to validate your startup idea by pre-selling it, for only $80 (includes a free 1-hour consultancy call).
Interview with a Successful Startup Founder

Building a Product After Seeing a Market Need: How Salonist Thrived in the Asian Market

Neeraj Gupta
Neeraj Gupta
March 16, 2021
Category of startup
Software & Hardware
Country of startup
India
Revenue of startups
No Data
Interview with a Failed Startup Founder

Building a Product After Seeing a Market Need: How Salonist Thrived in the Asian Market

Neeraj Gupta
Neeraj Gupta
March 16, 2021
Category of startup
Software & Hardware
Country of startup
India
Cause of failure of the startup

Neeraj Gupta is the founder of Salonist, an all-in-one salon software that addresses the requirements of salons, spas, and other businesses in the wellness industry. It started in 2016 and now has 90+ employees and 10,000 customers.

You MUST validate your startup ideas if you want to avoid failure. In our course "Pre-Sell to Validate" we teach you an actionable framework to do it. You can get it here.

Ad

Startup Foundations

Feel lost when doing customer interviews? In this free video series, learn effective customer research strategies proven to deliver results. Get free access to Startup Foundations →

Who are you and what are you currently working on?

I am Neeraj Gupta, founder of Salonist. My age is 31 and currently, I am residing in Singapore. As far as Salonist is concerned, it is all-in-one Salon Software that addresses the requirements of salons, spas, yoga and tattoo studios, medical spas, and other businesses in the beauty, health, and wellness industry.

This solution aims to streamline the daily chaos faced by Salons or spa owners.  Salonist's technology relies on three bases; capabilities, speedy and reliable service to support end-to-end business operations. This core Salon and Spa solution allows the owners to personalize customer's experiences, manage daily operations, and increase revenues.

Until now, many SMEs have started using it because of its impeccable features service instead of wasting their time on admin work. From online booking to inventory management, Point of Sale (POS), multi-location management, employee and customer management, report and analytics to marketing, it manages all.

My job responsibility here is to keep up the Salonist as my customer’s expectations and to serve them perfectly.  I prefer to add or amend the features of Salonist from time to time to match with the latest Salon trends and technologies. To make it user-friendly and transparent, I always look after all the fundamentals related to the Software, such as, high-quality content and images, website speed, errors/warnings, responsiveness, etc.


What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

I started my career in the IT field by introducing Awebstar Technologies in Singapore and grew the company to a great extent. Once a Salon owner approached us for creating their Salon website. As demanded, we have delivered the project at the required time. The Salon owner has discussed the issues they are facing in selling the products and scheduling the appointments online.

Considering that, I have decided to look after this matter in-depth. After visiting the nearby Salons and researching, I got to know the loopholes in the beauty industry.

Here, my interest in making a solution that can power the salons or spa with a simple yet powerful experience emerged. I intended to provide them a supported system that not only helps them to manage the daily operational tasks but to assure them the highest sales and more footfall. This includes the total eradication of their admin work.

And then, knowing all the major requirements of the Salon, I launched Salonist. This is a cloud-based Salon Software with the purpose to satisfy all the challenges faced by Salons every day and improve their brand value.

Salonist Landing

How did you go from idea to product?

We researched the market and then we created the user stories. We use Jira for the user stories and then our scrum masters created the tasks accordingly for the developers. We have not faced any obstacles as we are in the software industry since 2011 so we know how we can make the system successful.

First, we launched the beta version and then installed it in some locations in Paragon Mall Singapore. They provided their inputs and then we enhanced the system more according to their requirements. The best thing is we do have a ticket system where customers can send their requests. Our technical team analyzes them and we implement them into the system if it's useful for everyone.

Ad

Startup Foundations

Feel lost when doing customer interviews? In this free video series, learn effective customer research strategies proven to deliver results. Get free access to Startup Foundations →

Which were your marketing strategies to grow your business?

While thinking of creating the Salon solution, I knew that owning, maintaining, and marketing the software are different things. So, after launching the Salonist, first of all, I have made it registered in the list of the Salon Software. Later, the social media pages were created and the promotion started. For organic traffic, we also have started digital marketing at the same time. This way, our Software’s visibility increased in Google search results.

After promotion, people started signing up and started using Salonist as we provide a 14-day free trial. The interested ones have approached us and registered with the software. Not to forget, we also got many customers from referrals. Now, our software is being used by many and is ranking well.

How are you doing today and what are your goals for the future?

Everyone wants to improve and excel in their business in the future and I dream for the same as well.  An exact figure of revenue cannot be disclosed.

My main focus is to meet the expectations of the Salon owners that they have from my Software. So, I allow my team members to keep themselves updated with trendy or new features and provide 24x7 support and maintenance services. Now, we have 90+ employees and in the future, I, assuredly, will hire more professional and talented staff to implement innovative ideas to boost sales, revenue, and indeed, customer volume. There are approximately 10,000 customers who are using Salonist worldwide.

As of now, there is no such metric that needs improvement. Until now, our customers are satisfied with the software and in case of any issue, our support team is there to assist them.


Since starting Salonist, what have been your main lessons?

Every day comes with a new lesson and I am learning a lot. And, when it is about Salonist, my main concern is improving its outreach. So, I prefer to communicate with the customers whenever they have questions or some maintenance issues. It is important to keep a regular follow-up with them to know if they are satisfied with what we are delivering or they need some improvements.

I schedule meetings with the team members every week to integrate and implement new ideas to Salonist. Above all, to carry out every single task correctly, time management is necessary and I am keeping it at pace.

What were the biggest obstacles you overcame? What were your worst mistakes?

When it is about handling the business, certainly, obstacles and mistakes come in between. Overpowering them on time does not let the business hamper in any way. As I have learned a lot about managing the business, so, until now, I haven't come across any obstacles and tried to fulfill every task with great efficiency and more authenticity.

What tools & resources do you recommend?

We usually use Jira / Trello platforms for daily business goals. I love how Zoho operates. My inspiration is Zoho. We keep adding more products to our add-ons to help users enhance and grow their business.

Where can we go to learn more?

You can visit our blog to know and learn more about Salonist. You can also check our social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) or contact us to know more.

The All-In-One Newsletter for Startup Founders

Every week, I’ll send you Failory’s latest interviews and articles, curated resources for founders, and updates on how I’m growing the site to $10k/mo. Join +9,000 other startup founders!