A Founder Talks About His 9-figures Quality Consulting Service Business & the Right Time for Funding After Bootstrap
It has been quite a while since I’ve been working with Abhyank Srinet. As sophisticated as he is, the business he handles could not give me more wonder. Abhyank runs a 9-figure education consultancy, MiM-Essay. Coming along is his new project MentR-Me, a rising quality consulting service dedicated to core abroad study features.
Anyway, as I was writing, it is magnificent how he manages to keep this business up and stable every season. Do you wonder how tough it is for an abroad education consultancy company to run for all seasons even when the intakes are closed? You have to have solid business foundations to work in the off-season, as Abhyank has.
Recently we were discussing all the further plans and courses of action. The goal was to get your insights out and start formulating strategies. I took this opportunity to get him to talk finally. Otherwise, you always see him working here or there & playing with Rex (his playful yet docile dog) in the little time he gets. As talkative as I am, I got an interview off it. 🙂
If you are wondering why you should read this article about some guy you don’t care about, think again. The title is not just clickbait, and what is more, Abhyank’s business is not that old. I was curious how someone so young could establish this good of a company with no funding. Yeah, that’s right, it’s a complete bootstrap business to this date.
Abhyank Srinet is a digital entrepreneur, who graduated from ESCP Europe with a Master in Management (MIM) degree. Aspired by his experience there, he started his business with his first company MIM-Essay while in his studies there. He has managed to scale up his business by 400% without any funding required in just two years.
Currently, Abhyank is managing his company MiM-Essay and MentR-Me; the new enterprise Abhyank has up and running that is built towards dedicated student services to get into their desired schools. MentR-Me is one of a kind service with quality profile evaluation and school selection algorithm features. Abhyank Srinet manages companies directed towards abroad studies while keeping the latest information on the best b-schools abroad.
Tried to Cover All Startups Sauce Business Modules, Bootstrapping, Funding & Values
I tried putting all the things I heard in the simplest way possible. There are so many things to take and so many things to include. All insights and previous experiences inspired me to create this questionnaire-type thing. Just go through it like any other friendly content, simply asking and answering. Hope you gain some motivation as it did to me.
Let’s begin with some traditional questions…
1. Introduction of your company (Tell us in a few sentences what your startup is all about)
MiM-Essay is a specialized consulting firm that concentrates on young professionals: those who have recently graduated from college or have less than three to four years of job experience. We specialize in degrees like Master of Management, Master of Finance, Master of Engineering Management, and Master of Marketing, among others, to assist students in kickstarting careers. We seek to empower students to choose the best-matched career and higher education opportunities. Therefore, we provide end-to-end personalized service for school selection, including essay drafts, resume, letter of recommendation, and interview preparation via in-depth brainstorming and essay analysis calls. We go the extra mile to understand your profile, and then via various edits, we hone the same for perfection. In addition to this, we also provide assistance for the scholarship.
2. Brief Introduction about your team with backgrounds.
The company’s work depends on the verticals, which include marketing, sales, operations, business development, and content. The teams are meticulously trained to probe deeper into the applicants’ profiles, resolve their queries about the suitable institutions and their requirements and help them with the documents for the application. We have a cohort of 60+ consultants who are successful alumni of global elite schools such as HEC Paris, University of St. Gallen, ESCP Europe, National University of Singapore, London Business School, and Essec Business School, to name a few. Our team of expert application consultants is well acquainted with global degrees. Along with the support team, they can effectively assist applicants across the globe to get into their dream schools.
3. Why do you think your product/service is important for society?
MiM-Essay was founded as a response to the market’s lack of high-quality consulting services as well as a dearth of information on certain specialized degrees. Everyone has a unique story to tell, and the attention of top B-schools can only be captivated through a well-told story. At MiM-Essay, we strive to go beyond the obvious and delve deeper into your profile to discover those underlying experiences that distinguish you from the herd.
4. What is the founding year date.
MiM-Essay.com was established in 2014 with the objective of serving as a one-stop service for Master in Management (MiM) and specialized master’s applications. MiM-Essay was founded as a response to the market’s lack of high-quality consulting services as well as a dearth of information on specific specialized degrees.
5. What is your competitive advantage?
With a 92 percent industry success rate for the last four years, we ensure that most of our customers are accepted into their desired business schools. The greatest part is that we do everything we can to assist them in obtaining scholarships and finance. As a result, we have successfully placed over 2000+ applicants in their ideal business schools, and our clients have received over 2 million Euros in scholarships.
We at Mim-Essay spent the first two months getting to know our audience, conducting extensive consumer research, and developing some of the greatest in-house tools available. After that, we’ve been able to double down on our approach because we’ve always been digital-centric. We achieved this by increasing our paid-out methods, devising growth hacking methodologies, and creating numerous lead magnets, all of which helped us scale even further.
6. Who are your customers?
MiM-Essay offers a specialized counseling service for young graduates and professionals, including those who have recently successfully finished their undergraduate degrees or have less than three to four years of job experience.
7. What problem or problems does your company solve?
We provide specialized counseling services for young graduates and professionals and focus on their personalized essays, resumes, and LORs for abroad school admission. We strive hard to ensure that your essays are unique, reflect your personality, and demonstrate why the schools should select you. Our services are not limited to just receiving an admission, but we also offer assistance in making connections at your B-school, attaining scholarships, figuring out loan facilities, and much more. No matter the number of edits you require, even if it’s a hundred, we’ll be there for you without any extra charges because we believe in treating every application as if it were our own.
8. What is your growth strategy?
Our growth strategy is high-quality personalized service, ensuring that their application stands out from others. We offer abroad school selection services, including essay content preparation, resume and LOR, interview preparation, and assistance for the scholarship by digging deep into the candidates’ profiles to find data-backed examples of your achievements. We strive to achieve perfection and keep the edits coming until your essays turn out to be perfect, thus increasing your chances of acceptance. Plus, our unmatched services ensure complete value for money; it’s neither too high nor too low.
9. Brief Intro of your marketing strategy and channels.
Being an Ed-Tech, a key feature that sets MiM-Essay apart is the Comprehensive FREE Profile Evaluation Tool, enabling students to analyze their study abroad profiles’ strengths and weaknesses in less than 2 minutes. We at MIM Essay have had a digital-centric approach. We spent the first two months getting to know our audience, conducting extensive consumer research, and developing some of the greatest in-house tools available. We devised growth hacking strategies and developed various lead magnets, all of which assisted us in high scaling.
10. Have you got any funding from VCs/Angel so far?
As a bootstrapped startup, we turned zero into an 8-figure company on a shoestring budget with no funding. However, we have a success rate of 97% and have helped more than 5000 students make it to top schools like HEC, INSEAD, LBS, Oxford, Columbia, Duke and Ivey Business School, and many more. We are born as an answer to the low-quality consulting services plaguing the market as well as to fill up the lack of information about certain specialized degrees.
Luckily we never had to raise any funds, and we didn’t take any loans. Because we have always focused on self-sufficiency instead of just going to places for help, it’s good if you understand it soon because it’s essential, you know, to be cautious with how to use money. As when you receive funds, you become somewhat negligent, right? For example, if I have more funds, I’ll be more willing to take unnecessary risks and do experiments. It’s never a good thing. It’s better to hold these things till it seems entirely logical.
Fortunately, I had some excellent friends who helped when we started this business. I was head of sales and marketing, Abhyudaya handled all the tech parts like optimizing, new products, and development, and Rohit looked over operations & creating dashboards. Working diversely with a plan helped to grow the business without funding. Also, we avoided burning cash and focused on sustainable growth. We kept trying short-term experiments to see the results.
Our team doubled in size this year, and we had significant growth. Now we have reached the models with a deferred revenue system. When you are getting money upfront, then you can sustain yours. But the money for a service you are rendering now is coming up to one year, and then you need funding. Now we have figured it out, so now is the right time to think about this. Till now, we are a bootstrap business. But since the company has multiplied, we have options to try new things. Like for MentR-Me, our new product. Otherwise, if your business is functioning well, I believe you don’t need extra money.
11. These must be some hiccups in your experience. What would you think was your biggest challenge while building your business?
It’s a journey. When you want to build something, you have to learn. You have to go through new things constantly. It won’t be easy if you do not learn from everything, good or bad. In my experience, the worst things were extremely good. Because through that, we got to know what to do and what not to do. So having these things is essential. You learn how to avoid new mistakes. I wouldn’t put it like hiccups or anything per se; it’s knowing.
The hiring process was something that made us learn many things. First, we learned how crucial it is to find people that are a good fit. We see people hiring employees based on their skills and knowledge. You can learn skills. However, it’s essential to know that your employees are learning-oriented because they must fit into your culture. We need to hire by values first, not only skills.
Prioritizing is very important. We did not plan and prioritize our tasks very effectively when we started. But you know these things come with time. Doesn’t matter how good you are. There’s always room to improve. We lost months working on the wrong projects. But we realized and retracted to the relevant things. This all helped in recognizing the importance of prioritizing. There were times when we thought it would work only to backtrack to items that are more in sync with our business models.
One time we tried to go too wide. We tried other things in plan to expand in a bigger market. It was different from our business model. Even so, it wasn’t anything like a hiccup. We put trust in the wrong people that didn’t work out. Our services were not as planned initially, and the new area was different. We tried being a jack of all trades. You need to be the best at something you want, not the jack of all trades.
12. For a business, tools are critical. Which business tools do you think helped your business more than anything?
For me, I would say innovation has been a critical tool. Instead of going for heavy campaigns, marketing, and working day and night, we tried finding more innovative ways to generate value.
For example, when students come to our website, they find things like free school selection. We find creative methods to make it more self-serve so that they can see for themselves. If your customers do not know the value, they will not come to you.
So for them to book our services, you have to give out information. Our goal has been to use innovative methods to boost value first. So when the students see improved services, they think it is functional. And then they get to contact us for further process. We try to develop self-served services so students can access them quickly and understand them.
Innovation has helped us to generate leads. For example, if your free services are good, the customer knows that the paid ones will be even better logically. So to create a good atmosphere, you have to see that everything is getting better. We have developed so much in your products and services, free and paid.
We didn’t have a tracking system at first. So we didn’t know where the leaks were coming from, who took calls, howling was the process, and things like follow-up numbers. Because of that, we were missing out on so much valuable information. With innovative tools, now we have access to all this information. It has helped the business to grow. Now our clients know how much time they spend in pipelines. We know what improvements can be made in operations, sales, or marketing to boost value. Implementing innovation has helped us in every department. Now we know what is missing and what is necessary. I love building tools and working with them. I see these things to be done.
13. What are some Golden Bullets you would give to other aspirants to tackle those?
There’s no fixed golden bullet here, just an immense amount of dedication, obsession, and hard work. One suggestion for me can be different for you. You have to find out what motivates you more. When you start doing something, you face problems. Keeping the workflow going becomes a challenge.
For me, work and life are not separate things like work-life balance. Life is work & work is life. Once you have a vision or a plan, following it is the most challenging thing. You have to be obsessed with work, and you have to be obsessed with creating values and creating new things. Because business may remain suitable for a bit, you will need improvements to grow. I’m always figuring out how to develop new tools and create better systems and marketing strategies to improve constantly.
So, it is all about the obsession. The insane amount of focus on growth and hard work. Just keep doing innovative work and keep learning new things. It is essential to do so because you need to make better decisions. It will be hard to focus if you are not heavily involved. So, no golden bullets, just some basic things we already know. You have to remember it constantly. We are continuously optimizing our team and training the leaders to increase the pace of growth.
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