Natalie Smith, Co-founder of Swanned, talks about the five things she learnt about her start-up and creating an app.
We planned to launch in 6 months, good one! 18 months later we were just about there. A couple of years in and we still feel like we’re at the beginning of our journey. Everything is constantly evolving and updating to improve features and user experience. A huge lesson we’ve learnt whilst developing this app and running your own enterprise is learning to accept that the work will never be done. The biggest piece of advice would be to give yourself small goals to tick off. Task lists can grow very quickly and it is easy to become daunted and demotivated by what can seem such a mammoth task, but breaking these down and working through them methodically can really help.
Launching a product and new brand is scary, in order to get it to work you’ll need to tell a story - more specifically your story. When you start your own business, there’s no hiding behind a brand, you are the brand. Pretty quickly you’re going to have to get used to interviews, your face in the press, or on social media, and potentially people saying mean things about your idea. Plus you and your fellow co-founders are going to have to have some frank discussions about things like money and who isn’t pulling enough weight - so be prepared.
Launching a business without funding? It’s safe to say you’re going to have to get creative! With a small marketing budget we couldn’t afford to do huge ad campaigns or large promotions. We also were aware that word of mouth, no matter how many friends we had, was only going to get our reach so far. Guerrilla marketing may be your new best friend in achieving viral growth, so get your thinking caps on.
Ok, hopefully not blood, but be prepared for the rollercoaster! There have been tears, laughter, occasional panic attacks in getting this app live. You name it, we have probably experienced it. But at the end of the day it has been an extremely rewarding and fun experience. You have to be prepared for setbacks and disappointments, and understand that not every idea will work out, but pick the right business partner and the whole ride on the rollercoaster is a lot more fun.
We’ve immersed ourselves in the startup world. We’ve partnered with venues, we hosted singles nights, we’re known in the press. We’ve collaborated in other startups that understand the challenges you face and can offer wisdom and advice. It’s amazing to think how many new people and connections you make when you start a business.
Have a business idea? Amazing! The Swanned founders are always on the look out for talented people to collaborate with. Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org – we’d love to hear from you.