There have been times when Sydney entrepreneur and design engineer Jatinder Grewal was brought to tears by his startup, but his robotics business is now turning over more than $30,000 a month because he never gave up.
And persevering through the dark days has meant Grewal and his co-founder Karemjit Grewal are set up to take advantage of even greater success.
“Just last month we got $32-35,000 in revenue,” Grewal tells StartupSmart.
Grewal says he registered Hind Technology more than five years ago but pivoted the company’s focus to designing machine controllers in 2015 after “the oil and gas market went down big time and we lost our major client”.
“I have been making electronics and robots ever since I was a teenager,” Grewal says.
“I made a computer controlled machine while at school — at that time, I didn’t even realise it was a computer controlled machine.”
Today, Hind Technology builds robotic control systems with free software updates for manufacturers around the world.
“We’ve got people making car parts, we’ve got this great company here in Canberra, they make drones, we’ve got people making customised wedding ring boxes,” Grewal says.
With sales doubling monthly over the past three months, Grewal predicts the company will be turning over $700,000 a month by December if it continues to grow at this rate.
“At the moment, it’s just me and my wife [Karemjit] and we’ve got a few contractors,” Grewal says.
“We’re trying to set up a team for marketing and social media so we can have more video and marketing online.”
Reflecting on their journey to date, Grewal shares three critical lessons for growing entrepreneurs.
1. Listen and refine
When bringing a product to market, Grewal says it’s critical to pay close attention to what clients really want and then act on feedback to improve what’s being offered.
“What we’ve been able to do over time is really understand what the client wants, instead of saying: ‘Hey, use what we have’,” he says.
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Taking the “give us some feedback, we’ll improve it” approach has played a major role in Hind Technology’s ability to acquire and keep customers from around the world while adapting to market shifts, he says.
2. Grow with social media
Grewal says social media is the number one sales driver for Hind Technology.
“We initially tried approaching distributors and other channels online but being a new company no one knows you,” says Grewal.
Researching online led Grewal to start connecting with social media influencers.
“We met so many people online making machines as a hobby,” he says.
“Over time they really liked what we’re doing [and] they started featuring us on their live channels.
“At the moment 100 percent of our sales come through YouTube or Instagram.”
3. Cry it out but start again
“At first things won’t work, they won’t work for a long time,” says Grewal.
“Everyone’s going to tell you: ‘Why are you doing this?’”
But hang in there, Grewals says, because eventually “it will work”.
Grewal says sticking in the game no matter what is one of the best things he and his co-founder ever did.
Before launching Hind Technology, Grewal says he saw the “many issues on the ground” faced by manufacturers, such as costly machinery breakdowns.
While he realised he could build a solution, Grewal says it took a while for others to see his vision.
“I had this idea but no one was listening,” he says.
With the support of a “great circle of friends” and perseverance, Grewal was able to bring Hind Technology to where it is today.
“I think the main thing is not losing hope,” he says.
“There has been so many times I would come home and literally sit home and cry because things wouldn’t work out.
“But [the] next day I start again.”