I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Florin Cornianu, CEO and Co-Founder of 123ContactFrom, a SaaS company that has grown steadily over the last few years. Started out by fulfilling a need for creating web forms and surveys the easy way, 123ContactForm has evolved beyond a stand-alone SaaS solution to widen its ecosystems of partners. Applications in the Cloud and integrations between services are in high demand and will continue to be – read on…
Q1. 123ContactForm’s signature is the “Easy as 1-2-3” concept, “the” way to create forms and surveys. Give us a quick overview of the company, how did you get started and touch on this vision?
123ContactForm is a web form and survey builder that helps everyone create contact forms, event registration forms, order forms and surveys without any technical knowledge, so as easy as 1-2-3. Tudor Bastea and I started the service back in 2008 because we needed an internal form creation tool for our own web projects. We quickly realized that this presented a business opportunity, so we turned it into a standalone web platform. From that point we began to materialize our vision that you don’t need to be a developer or pay a lot of money in order to get the perfect web form to suit your business needs. You just need the right tool.
Q2. Why SaaS – what attracted you to this business model?
It’s quite simple. We felt that a simple downloadable software product could not keep up with the constantly changing needs of a modern business in terms of web forms. That is why we came up with a subscription-based online product (SaaS) that would prove the right vehicle for all the updates and new features we planned on adding. Besides that, a SaaS model offered our customers access to the service from any device without the need to download or install anything.
Q3. In regards to how you approach and interact with buyers, what would you say is your biggest challenge today and what are you doing to solve it?
We actually HAD a big challenge, but luckily we solved it – and that was us being able to accept payments from customers located all over the world. It’s a constant hassle to keep up to date on all the little details such as the VAT value – which is different even in countries within the European Union,, or the exchange rate for Indian Rupees. Avangate proved to be the right ecommerce solution for us by taking care of all those details and letting us focus on the business itself. Other than that, inherent business challenges are tackled as they come :)
Q4. Speaking of buyers – what do you think is the coolest form ever built with 123ContactForm?
There have been lots of cool forms created with our service, but the first one that comes to mind is a form used for collecting data in order to apply for a visa in UEA. That form had over 1,000 fields and close to 300 complex conditional logic rules that helped the form visitor navigate through options without being cluttered by all the variants available.
Q5. How do you see your business evolving? As much as you can disclose, of course.
At this point, we focus on SMBs, NPOs and educational institutions while keeping an eye on Enterprise level companies. Besides your every day features like conditional logic, custom multi-page forms and various form field types, we noticed an increase in demand for our White Label package that offers customers a mean to fully brand their forms, email notifications and form builder control panel. Take for instance a design agency; it would prove very cost-effective while adding great value to their services if they could offer their clients custom web forms and a branded way to track form entries and create reports on their own. This is exactly what our White Label form building solutions offer.
Meanwhile, we are always looking for great partners, related online services that we could integrate with, thus adding form building capabilities to their own products.
Q6. If you were to give one piece of advice to your fellow software/ SaaS entrepreneurs, what would it be?
Try to find the perfect balance between two poles: focusing on what seems important for the moment, and following goals belonging to your company’s long term strategy. We always collected as much feedback as possible from our customers, but we placed the most weight on those suggestions that would affect a wider group of users in the long run. A small commitment you accept today could mean the gain of an important business vertical tomorrow. There is no universal solution; it’s up to you to discern the winning formula for your own business.