- How to maintain momentum if your startup launch is delayed
- Allow plenty of time to obtain licences and accreditation; it can take longer than you planned
- Use project management principles to set – and meet – a launch date
We spoke to the partners at maxmyrate.com.au regularly during the first year of their startup journey. This is the final instalment.
It's been over a year since we first spoke to the owners of maxmyrate.com.au about their online startup. In the months since our first interview, maxmyrate's three partners have tested a minimum viable product (MVP) online, adapted their offering to a brokering model that serves suppliers and purchasers, and established their licensing requirements.
The maxmyrate.com.au product helps customers with term deposits find financial service providers. The broker-style model helps providers and customers find each other in a marketplace that is often hard to navigate, and where it is often difficult to compare products and transfer from one provider to another.
In this final maxmyrate.com.au case study we speak to David Nelson, who is working full time in the business while his two business partners are still in full time employment.
How to stay motivated
'I think you need to see results in order to stay motivated. You need to see things happening. And when you haven't launched the business, that's very difficult.'
David points out that often when we hear about the difficulties for startups, it's from the point of view of a successful startup, looking back at hard times they experienced.
'When a successful startup talks about past difficulties, they are always positioned in a positive light. Living it is different.'
Business partners provide support
'I don't think I'd be able to stay motivated if I was doing this on my own.'
During this last push to go live with the website, David says that sometimes he feels frustrated with the time it's taken to get to launch.
'It is good having three people in the business. We all go through down patches, but there's always somebody else to pick up the slack and keep the momentum going.'
The impact of licensing
'We have to balance the need to launch with the idea of a perfect product. And we have to make sure we are compliant. That's even more important now that we have our licence.'
The Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL) became a requirement when maxmyrate.com.au refined their offering to the broker-style service they've adopted.
'Getting the licence took us longer than expected, but it was a very positive milestone for us. It has allowed us to get the suppliers signed up.'
Project management to the rescue
Development of the website has slowed down, partly because the product has become more complex. In response to feedback, the product now integrates with third parties and allows customers to open a cash account so that transferring money is easier.
Project management has also been a challenge.
'We've taken a more formalised approach to project management now, with a project plan, a firm launch date to work towards – and a list of tasks to get us there.'
Before setting a firm launch date, the work was beginning to seem endless, constantly pushing the launch date out.
Gearing up for marketing
In the lead up to launch, the partners are raising their profile quietly, getting ready for the day when their product is live on the internet.
Twitter is helping them build their reputation as experts in the space.
'We've been active on Twitter, tweeting and retweeting high-value, relevant content from other sources.'
In this way, they've built a following of people who are interested in the product, before the product even goes live.
Google Adwords has helped generate traffic to the site before and they'll be using it again after launch.
'Our click through rate and engagement were good, which further validated that this is a product that people want.' Click through rates were 6.7% with 23% engagement from people who clicked through.
'Ready, set, launch!'
The partners are planning a 'soft launch' which means the site will be opened up with full functionality to a limited number of customers – friends and family – before being launched more widely.
Read the first instalment 'How to build a small business' to find out how the partners at maxmyrate.com.au improved on their original product idea and went to market with a much better chance of success. The second instalment 'Improve your online user experience' describes insights they received from user feedback and how those insights were incorporated into the website. The third instalment talks about 'Using open source content management and cloud hosting' to build your online business website.
During their first year, the partners at maxmyrate.com.au have tested their minimum viable product with customers and providers, refined their offering, created a database of interested potential customers and obtained their Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL). Through rigorous testing and unforeseen delays, the partners have maintained their motivation by supporting each other and using project planning to stay on track. The product now has a firm launch date and will be live before the end of the year.