After two years of hard working lost and lots of research, we finally signed our first enterprise paying customer! woo hoo!
I thought I would take a moment to share what I have learned along the way. Let me say that I am not new to running a business and this will be my 4th startup and I still run a “traditional code” built startup (what an utter pain in the rear that has been! ).
Two years ago I fell across Bubble and decide it was worth a goer. Before we started building anything we pulled together two large panels of experts from the industry we were targeting and tested the idea based on what we thought would be a winner - we were pretty close, but the time we spent with them made sure we started on the right foot.
Then it was down to business! Also, let me say that I am technology trained, but I am not a traditional programmer, far from it, even though I can read it. I had to learn Bubble and have to thank @romanmg for help getting me started and providing some well-received guidance and confirmation.
I built the app to fulfil our needs over 12 month period and secured our first alpha customer during the tail end of this process, and we typically burnt through this customer but along the way. We hounded them, researched their users, ran focus groups, pretty much inserted ourselves in the organisation to find out what was working and what was not. The product took a turn or two and we essentially co-created the product with them to get to a stage where we got our second alpha customer onboard, and they have also been great. We are now in Beta and the second Alpha customer has become our first paying Beta customer and the first Alpha customer, we pretty much squeezed for every bit of feedback they had, now wants to come back onboard.
I learned a lot over my lifetime - having spent upwards of half a million on my first tech startup - to this time where we have spent less than one-tenth of that. Bubble has been a big part of that process for sure and has made low-cost development a dream, but a lot of the savings has come from our approach to product development. We have a long way to go, and we are not yet on a dedicated server and don’t plan on doing that until we can secure half a dozen paying enterprise customers. However, good design optimisation means we can do that - hopefully!
So coming back to my point in sharing this - other than the self-proclaimed bragging rights Research and the actual business development is 70% of your business idea, don’t think by turning a great idea into the app it will work, I can tell you from lots of experience it will not!
So even though Bubble makes that process natural, successful implementation of an idea takes a lot more work. Do your research, talk to your potential customers to understand their pain points, but for goodness sake don’t take advice form family and friends unless they have successfully built a tech startup.
Bubble will open doors for you, but it is only a small part of the journey, get excited by all means, but speed to market does not guarantee success!
We have moved forward but we can not afford to take our eyes off the ball or get lazy in the product development process. We will continue to bootstrap, research our early customers even if they tell us to go away (I don’t think they will they love us) and all money earnt will go back into the product for a long while yet.
The recent announcement but @emmanuel and the @josh of the investment is very welcome as I can now sleep at night knowing they have a long term investment and growth plan for Bubble and this kind of decision should not be taken lightly by the community, it means they mean what they say.
Anyway, I have procrastinated enough - I now have to build a mobile-ready version of the product dashboard to meet the needs of our new users.