A few 5 year learnings
Five years is a great milestone for a business. There’s still plenty to do so we’re not getting too sentimental but we thought you may find some of our key learnings to date interesting and possibly even helpful in your own ventures.
Give it a go!
When we look back on 5 years it freaks us out how much effort it has taken but you have to start somewhere. Don't put off getting started and give it a go.
Hire when it hurts...
….but don’t take too long. We really like the learnings that Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson shared in Rework from their experiences of launching Basecamp. Hiring when it hurts helps you identify the type of roles you need which is really important if like us you are funding your growth through cash flow. However, don’t wait too long as getting talented people on board accelerates your growth and makes your journey more enjoyable.
It’s taking us some time to learn this one and we’ve still got plenty to learn. In an eagerness to roll out essential features we’ve tended to take on more than we could digest in terms of product development. Ultimately this lack of focus leads to a longer development time frame overall and its much harder to plan your communication activities for an effective launch.
Harness online tools.
Online collaborative business tools such Google docs, Basecamp, Xero and Harvest have made our business much more efficient. Most of the tools we use are not free nor super cheap but they are worth it. Managing tasks, financial accounts and timesheets in spreadsheets was fine at the start but I wish we’d adopted many of these tools much earlier.
Process is important!
Getting bogged down in process was a key motivation for leaving corporate life behind yet as we’ve grown we’ve learnt how important having clear processes that are documented and accessible by the wider team saves us hours of wasted effort chasing things up and ensures a much faster and consistent experience for customers and the internal team.
Listen to your customers...
...and make sure they know you are listening. Old but true.
Personal service overcomes feature gaps
You would have seen in the video that we launched with just text and pictures as the content options when making your own website. While we didn’t have essential features such as You Tube videos and social media integration we would assist clients with adding snippets of code into their websites to manually add these elements to their site for them. While it wasn’t so convenient for clients for us to do things for them manually they were happy that we could provide hands on support.
I hope these learnings are helpful.
Thank you to all family, friends and clients that have provided the support to help us reach this milestone. A special thanks to the clients who gave Rocketspark a crack in our early stages when all we could offer was a very basic website building system.