Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Time in the Trenches 4: Team Commitment

Ughhh. The "C" word. I'm sure you all know how important it is to have a great team with people that you trust will deliver great work every time. I'm even more sure that we all know people that are committed to a business work with more passion and deliver results beyond expectations. Some businesses are lucky and the founding team members all decide to stay on to realize the dream, but my scenario was slightly different.

My founding team started with our idea and we saw that it had potential from the favorable feedback that we got from judges at various national and international competitions; then we graduated and the real world hit us - each member had to make a choice between stable corporate life and a start up with possible potential.

Everyone wanted to contribute to a small portion of their time to work on the business. Let me tell you now - part-time contribution does NOT cut it. Do you think you have the greatest idea on Earth? Well if that's seriously what you think...wouldn't you want to contribute every waking moment to realizing your idea? Yes. That's what I thought.

Before you incorporate and try to seriously start a business, make sure that you have the commitment from your entire team; people that want to stay on because there MIGHT be some potential but can't contribute all their effort to it for one reason or another just aren't a fit for a start up business. I know that many individuals have mortgages to pay, kids to feed, etc. but that just means the start up life may not be for them. I'm fortunate that I have a minimum amount of commitments so I can pursue my dream.

The bottom line is that your team should be aligned to building your business 24/7; not when they have spare time.

If you have stories about your business team that you want to share please do post it in the comments!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Time in the Trenches 3: PR Timing

SO. We have aired on Dragons' Den. Yaaaaaaaaaaay.

Now for the crazy number of emails filling up my inbox. Double Yaaaaaaaaaaaaay.

Now reality hits and I'm concerned with my marketing/promotional efforts coming too far ahead of our service launch.

We've received so many emails asking when they can start transacting. What do we do. What do we do? Obviously we can't speed up our development given that we're still in the due diligence phase with the deal. Can we actually go and shop around for other deals right now? (edit: YES YOU CAN. YES YOU CAN. YES YOU CAN!!! We thought we couldn't. Well, at least I learned my lesson early on.)

Lesson Learned: Time your marketing efforts so that it coincidences with some huge event coming up a month or so after it. It would be perfect if we could launch the service next month and start having people transact on it. The publicity from the exposure on the show can only last us so long...my advice is PLAN ahead for publicity/marketing. I'm totally kicking myself that the service isn't "ready to go". I guess the good thing is at least we're taking the time to ensure the quality of our service platform before we throw it out there to you guys?