An insight into the mindset and approach of an entrepreneur.
“While external funding was not part of our journey, we held steadfast to our long-term vision. Our entrepreneurial spirit fuelled the determination to succeed, no matter the hurdles we faced. Adaptability was key as we soon discovered after the lockdowns were finally lifted. During covid times, several sources had seen what we were doing and had developed competing products, some of them VC funded and with deeper pockets.
This forced us to alter our original funding roadmap in an attempt to accelerate development. We could see a possible saturation of the market in the medium term that would adversely impact our revenue capabilities, so we quickly altered our strategy to instead seek out a significant industry partner that did not already have our product offering. The aim being to form a partnership with them that included an exit strategy shaped around them eventually buying us out, which in the end is precisely what happened.
On reflection, taking an app from concept to market without outside funding is both an arduous but also an empowering experience. Embracing resourcefulness, leveraging personal networks, and staying true to your vision can lead to a rewarding outcome. I discovered the true value of self-reliance and the sense of accomplishment that comes from building something from the ground up, but also realised I couldn't do it on my own.”
From this experience, the key takeout's were:
Fully understand the industry your application / solution is serving.
Having a clear understanding of your target customers pain points.
Make the app as seamless and intuitive as possible to enhance the customer and end user experience.
Find an industry partner willing to be a sponsor and flag bearer.
Develop your revenue model early in conjunction with a test client.
Concentrate on the features that will solve your customers main pain points, they will help become your first and important money makers.
Get the balance right in your team that brings to the table a mix of skills from technical, sales, commercial and customer service.
Agree your roadmap and exit strategies with your partners and fellow founders from the outset. Agree remuneration levels and define the distribution of project responsibilities.
Ensure you use universally accepted technology platforms. Makes it easier to find additional skilled resources in the marketplace.
Seek out a gold standard client to on-board.
Be adaptable and prepared to change strategy should market conditions warrant a change.
Speed to market is still a critical criterion when developing something new as has been highlighted above. Getting the balance right between funding, control and speed to market can be tricky.
Gregory Harrison is an accomplished Chartered Accountant, Author, Entrepreneur and Business Advisor