Eezee started in late April 2017 and after 4.5 long months of development, we finally launched in mid Sept 2017.
In 1 months’ time, we will be approaching one year of launching Eezee. Here are a few lessons learnt that might be valuable to other founders.
1. More manpower doesn’t equate to more work done.
It takes time to groom and see a Return-On-Investment (ROI) on Human Resource (HR)
As we grew, the orders kept coming in. In order to handle the demand, we thought that it will be a good idea to hire interns to help scale the business operations and feature development. As we hired more interns, we soon realised that we were met with another problem – Management.
We are a group of young founders in our early 20s and 30s who knew how to work our craft. Each of us were great in our own domain; Developing Software, Designing and Handling Business Operations. However, none of us had any experience in managing. All of the interns come from prestigious Singapore universities and this made us doubt if we were even qualified to manage them.
Managing also meant that we had lesser time to work our craft. So we had to balance between being a manager and a maker. Managing them (the interns) soon became a challenge. Not that they were bad people, but that we were inexperienced at managing.
As time passed (2 months), we got better at management and with time we were able to groom and help our interns be efficient with their work. However, it was soon time for them to leave us and go back to study.
Our Amazing Team!
So we learnt. More manpower doesn’t equate to more work done. It takes time for people to learn and to get efficient at doing something. But with that said, we do not regret investing our time and energy into training the interns as some of them do come back.
2. There will be highs and lows. Don’t worry.
Our first dip in sales hit me hard. Being very new at managing a real business, our first dip caused me to have a lot of doubt and ambiguity. I was suffering from anxiety. I started to doubt the business model and wondering if we would even make it through. Everybody scrambled to try to do something. However, we soon realised that no matter how much work we did, it does not make a huge impact on our business. The customers are just not buying. (Think summer period and everybody is on vacation).
Soon we accepted that there will be highs and lows in doing business. So don’t worry and practice self care in these tough moments.
Self Care is important!
3. Focus. Execution is key.
Founders often dream about what is to come for the business. As a result, many of us come up with ideas. Sometimes too much to execute on. What I have come to learn from the past year, is that nothing happens from talking and dreaming. Execution is key. And when we have too many good ideas, having the foresight to know what feature to focus on is very valuable.
In our case, we focused on the feedback given by our stakeholders. Good to have features were slotted at the back of the pipeline whereas bug fixes and user feedback were prioritised.
We categorised our products into hardware, electrical, office supplies and safety because we were receiving feedback that our website was hard to navigate.
4. Perfection is overrated. Move fast and break things.
Many of us think that in order to be successful, perfection is key. That to succeed, we have to launch only when the product is perfect. That to succeed, we have to make the iPhone of our industry/niche.
However, many of us forget that the iPhone we use today is still a work in progress.
iOS 8, 9, 10, 11… iPhone 5, 6, 7, 8… It goes on and on…
What would be more important is to react to customer feedback and move fast. Mark Zuckerberg’s famous mantra for Facebook was to move fast and break things. It would be better to use the days spent discussing and debating whether a certain feature or a certain button color should be used, to execute and gather data/feedback on what really works and what doesn’t.
And this is it. 4 things that I’ve learnt as CTO of eezee while running an e-commerce marketplace for business.
Appreciate my sharing/real talk? Comment below or let me know on linkedin today!