A massive apology to those kind souls who have been supportive and interested in my burgeoning business. I have been terribly recalcitrant in keeping this blog up to date, instead distracted by the ever demanding nature of work and late nights.
I have lots of good news though to finally impart. Although not yet launched, I am now in what I call the ‘soft launch’ phase of my business. The site is live, and I have invited friends and those in the industry to have a sneak preview, to give me feedback on what needs refining. The process has been excellent, and I have gotten very useful criticism.
The first area of criticism was the writing. Now, I write business requirements specifications for a living, and I like to think I’m reasonable at creative writing. However, I have come to accept in the last few weeks, that I suck at marketing and instructional material. The content is excellent, but I write WAY too much. Emi – my technical lead – giggled at me incessantly as I wrote it, because there was an awful lot there, but it was after 5 different people said it was the worst thing about the site, that I realised I had to do something about it. Luckily, my sister has vast experience in copy writing, having in her past had to convert thick government policy reports into one pager documents for police men to understand. So she is currently going through the Tutorial, FAQs, Help pages, etc, condensing and simplifying.
It was a huge bitter pill I had to swallow. I spent days writing that material, and it’s effectively all being chopped to pieces. But for the love of my business, I accept it’s absolutely the right thing to do.
The next area of fault – and I knew this was a weakness – was the Homepage. Not having a creative design background has made creating a Homepage difficult. It’s too simple, and doesn’t sparkle. Again, I have friends and family to the rescue: one of my best friends is kindly putting together a Flash animation for the Homepage, and my brother-in-law has been giving valuable input and direction. However, what I am still lacking is a diagrammatic representation of ‘How it works’… lets see if I can find someone to help me with that for a good price (ie. very little!).
The good news is that people love the concept, and are impressed with its functionality. This makes me happy – everything else can be worked on, but if its not an exciting idea that people feel they could use, then I am truly lost.
Some people conveyed concern at how I would market the concept once its fully launched. As it doesn’t really appeal to the nerdy types, who traditionally are the ones that make or break a new web 2.0 start-up, how can I make it popular? Well… I have thoughts on it. The business is inherently viral, and there are exciting marketing opportunities inherent in the nature of the business which I hope to capitalise on. Apologies for being vague… I haven’t properly launched yet!
And so, you may ask, when do I launch properly?
Once the Homepage and copy is improved, and the main bugs are resolved… I give it another week or two. Rather exciting actually! Its all finally happening!
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