This is a guest post by Fahad Awan.
Easyinsurance aims to digitize access to insurance by integrating new and advanced technology with pre-existing systems, allowing for uncomplicated access to the best insurance plans in the market. Our website helps in making the right decision, which is totally hassle-free, and offers a completely online purchasing experience.
Like every new startup, our first assumption of having a successful business was raising investment. After a few rounds of dealing with local investors, we knew that this path was impractical in Pakistan.
So instead of waiting around for capital, we decided to start growing ourselves. We tried a lot of approaches but in the end, it was a combination of being lean, experimentation and persistence that took us to PKR 10,000,000 in sales.
Today, I’ll be taking this chance to share our key takeaways with you, telling you how we did it.
Starting with a MVP (Minimum Viable Product)
With an initial bootstrap amount of about PKR 300,000, we here at easyinsurance proceeded to build our MVP website and started to test our product market fit. We tested out our hypothesis and used the initial feedback gained to iterate further.
We had never run an ecommerce before, so a lot of self-learning was required initially. Since we did not have the funds to outsource, we made everything in-house with a few strategic hires and our own skill-set.
Once our idea was validated with our initial purchases, we started to iterate the same MVP and built on the same foundation towards a full-fledged platform.
Figure 1 – Design changes over the year
Figuring out customer acquisition
Obviously it’s imperative that a startup has a solid business plan and go to market early. When we started working on customer acquisition, our team spent a lot of money on social media marketing and brand awareness but the ROI was meager, so we continued experimenting with other mediums and found Search engine marketing to be the most effective. This ultimately led to a steady stream of high intent visitors on the website.
The next thing we had to figure out was how to increase the low sales on the website. For this, we took inspiration from the Learn Startup methodology. We starting focusing on tracking our performance and improving the experience of the website. With continuous testing and iterations, we were able to increase our conversion rate by three times in just four months.
Leveraging networks and building relations
The other significant strategy we employed was to have an exclusive healthcare deal for P@SHA member companies. This gave us access to an existing rich network of budding companies which have traditionally been under-serviced.
Of course, it was essential that we have solid partnerships with the top insurance companies in the market. We are proud to have 16 insurance companies on our platform. Maintaining a strong relationship enables us to effectively address any issues of our customers quickly. Which leads us to the final point.
Our secret sauce: Customer service
We made sure our customers had support even at odd working hours or over holidays. Our focus was to provide them with transparent information so they could make their own informed decision. Employing a really candid tone to build trust and reduce the stress of making a financial decision. Using direct feedback from our customers allowed us to identify improvements in our product and we built a very quick growth loop from it. For a B2C business, have a stable growth model is essential for the business to scale.
These strategies combined with the team’s efforts and ability to go the extra mile enabled us to have a 4.9/5 service rating, a 9.5+ NPS and a very high retention rate of the 1000+ customers that we have served.
With a focus of sustainability and growth, we were able to understand their customer’s needs and tilt their business towards addressing those needs. If you can solve a problem and make a profit while doing it, you have a business.
In retrospect, we think it was a good thing that we didn’t raise any external investment so early. We were figuring out our core business and VC funding might have detracted us from working on the fundamentals of having a profitable business. With all these learnings, we are very hopeful about the future growth of the business.