Starting up — An Update

James Hamann
Jul 19, 2017 · 5 min read

So it’s been almost 2 months since I originally posted about starting up and I figured it was time f0r an update. I know I said this in my previous post, but the finer details will be reviled at a later date.

Current Progress

Currently we are preparing our marketing materials in order to hit our first marketing cycle. This includes everything from packs, to stickers, a website, social media, the whole lot of it. Everything is in place and we’re just tweaking a few bits. Thankfully websites are dead easy, even though it’s totally over kill for where we’re at, I’ve set everything up on AWS. I’ve distributed the site via Cloudfront and whacked an SSL certificate on it, so everything really is ready to go, just a few more cosmetic tweaks need to be made and we’ll be ready.

In terms of the app itself, the core functionality is pretty much there, the finer details are just being connected up and ironed out.

I thought it’d be useful to mention a few things that have worked and things that we could have done a little better over the last couple of months.

Some things that have worked great

Meeting Regularly

Having a scheduled weekly meeting is great, obviously we talk and work outside of this, but having a dedicated time to discuss and meet has helped so much. We’re both still working our day jobs, so finding time between this is important to make sure the company keeps momentum moving forward.

Centralising Email Communication

Centralising communication to one mailbox has helped massively, it means we’re always on the same page and ensures nothing gets missed. We obviously both have personal mailboxes, but if we’re communicating with a supplier or signing up to services like Stripe or Xero, it’s always good to use a mailbox that everyone (who needs to) can access. If I’m unreachable for whatever reason, someone can still access account details and if an important email comes in, everyone has visibility of it. It’s also nice for some of the people you’re both dealing with to have one mailbox to send to, as opposed to two or three separate ones where they’d have to remember to CC all the relevant people in each time.

Following a Business Plan

This has worked great, we’ve got visibility of all the deadlines as well as an outline of what needs to be done in each month leading up to the launch. It’s always good to have a plan with set targets, it gives you something to work towards, even if you miss certain targets you can adjust the plan to reflect this. If you’re anything like me, you’re going to forget something crucial like pushing the website live or you forget to order business cards, whatever it is it can be avoided following a plan with set deadlines and targets.

Using Trello (or any other Project Management Tool)

This is kind of obvious. But it’s important to use something that everyone can access and use. It gives visibility to what’s being worked on, outstanding tasks and also is a great place to communicate. If you’re not using this, or something similar, you really should be.

Keeping a track of finances

This has been one of our massive strengths, being able to accurately keep track of incomings and outgoings. It makes things so much easier when we ask “do we have money to do this?” If the finances are in order and everything is up to date, it makes running the company so much easier. Having these processes setup from the start means you can save time fiddling figures and spend more time focusing on what’s important, your product.

Some things that we could’ve done better

Getting Started on Marketing a Little Earlier

I wouldn’t say we’re behind on marketing by any means, but we’re a little later than we’d prefer to be. This is down to many reasons, including just generally being busy, somethings we physically haven’t been able to start on as we’re waiting on elements of the app to be complete. I guess we’ve done most things we can do, but I always prefer to be a little ahead of the game, so in terms of marketing, it’s never to early to start drafting your pack and corresponding materials.

Actively Update and Iterate on the Original Wireframe

I guess this is down to me, but the original wireframe I put together describes the app nicely but as some features grew and others faded, I neglected the original wireframe in favour of Trello cards. I recently did a post about User Flows, which is the direction we took. The UI/UX design phase had been completed, so for ease I chose to create a mind-map purely to demonstrate the flow through the app. This would include each screen as well as each action that can be taken from that screen, which left us with quite a nice map of the app. It means everyone is on the same page, but the biggest advantage, for me anyway, is to get a quick graphical snapshot as to what the app’s decision tree looks like.

Sorting out and chasing up about issues earlier and more frequently

This one lies with me and comes back to the fiasco with the bank. I still haven’t received my debit card after three branch visits and numerous calls. I chased regularly, but looking back there probably were a few delays on my part which could have been avoided. It doesn’t excuse the fact that there was a total fuck up on their side, because there was. The main thing is, if something needs to be done, do it. Don’t wait until you have to do it, just do it proactively.

Time-boxing meetings and discussions

This is something I advocate massively, meetings are a waste of time because you’re talking and not doing. If you’re going to meet to make a decision or discuss something, timebox it. Force a resolution to it by the end and if there’s a deadlock, for whatever reason, then it may require further thought or work before that decision can be made. I fall guilty of talking too much about a feature or going off on a tangent and before I know it I’ve wasted 10 minutes discussing something which really didn’t need to be discussed at that time. So yeah, timebox your meetings and focus on keeping things direct, to the point and on topic.

This is just a snapshot into our experiences and obviously it’ll vary from company to company. In my opinion, the key to staying on top of everything is keeping organised. Have regular meetings and keep an open and honest level of communication. Most importantly, though, don’t forget to have fun and enjoy the experience!

We’re getting closer day by day to our proposed launch, overall things are going very well and we’re very excited to share more with you soon.

Thanks for reading, hit 💚 if you like what you read and be sure to follow to keep up to date with future posts.

The Ascent

A community of storytellers documenting the journey to happiness & fulfillment.

James Hamann

Written by

Software Developer https://jameshamann.com

The Ascent

A community of storytellers documenting the journey to happiness & fulfillment.

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