In the previous post, I told you how I came to start a project.
We stopped there, without addressing the project choice and Comes.io reason. Today we are going to talk about this decision making process. By explaining my way, I hope to help some.
One tricky part of leaping seems to be the right idea. Many people will stop, fearing failure. But how could you know without trying? Stop asking questions, take action! I like this point of view, but upstream thinking is necessary. Commitment is the key to success. I've been working on Comes.io for over a year and still don't know if it will be successful. You have to believe it deep inside you. Starting a project is a marathon, not a sprint. It requires infallible endurance and resistance. This reflection on the commitment requires work upstream of the decision.
Once your ideas are listed and sorted by engagement, you may have your shortlist. I had selected two ideas inspired by my life at that time.
The first concerned my team, management and leadership. I am passionate about management and wanted my team to flourish while targeting high performance. We had found the right balance, and it's not my words. However, to continue to target this fulfilment/efficiency and bring it to scale to a company, we lacked a tool for our management and communication. Something to automate many tedious manual processes and brings together all our insights. A product to add transparency at all levels, budgets, communication, objectives. Less process, more simplicity, focus, and fulfilment for several teams. I imagined and sketched this for five years.
The second was about my passions. I am a fan of nature, discovery, and board sports. Something complex to do since I work in Paris. It's difficult to monitor the conditions every week, prices, waves, wind ... Since a bit of time, a lot is going on about automation, IFTT, Zapier, Huginn. They are all great solutions and saves time spent doing repetitive and worthless tasks. But I have this feeling of a patch. As if our today tools are no longer suitable for tomorrow. Even if there is a strong enthusiasm, all of this is very geek oriented. You need some knowledge to put them in place. I then told myself that we had to adapt this on a more specific subject to target a larger public. By mixing that with my passions, I came to Comes.io. Before, I looked at the weather forecast every morning. Today, I can check it from my pocket. Tomorrow, I would like to be automatically notified.
I had to choose the most relevant of these two ideas. Which one I will try. I identified what makes a successful project. Building up my choice of Comes.io. It's split into five criteria ranked by importance:
- Team & Execution
- Business model
Let's go through answering these different points for my two ideas.
Is today the right time for our users?
- Management project: We are just starting towards this transparency and efficiency movement in companies. Are my users ready for these changes? I think we are a bit ahead of the curve even if only time will decide. Mentalities take time to change. Potential clients are large companies, and their evolution is very gradual.
- Comes.io: what a surprise when I saw the Apple shortcut community explode on Reddit in one week! There is a real trend towards automation. The pioneering tech world is increasingly interested in it, on both side, professionally and personally. People want to spend more time on added-value tasks. There is also a trend to spend less time on our computers/phones. It's now or never!
Do I have the right team to carry out these projects?
I have increased my meetings to get opinions (friends, colleagues, contacts, and potential users). Every feedback is essential. Come with mockups or a presentation is a good idea for a more professional discussion.
- Management project: Ideal team is three people, to work on overall Administration, Technical solution and Sales. I had in mind some great guys, but they were not available. Many had just started a new adventure or a family. Changes that make the jump difficult without security. Meet the perfect co-founders is complicated; it's a union; it didn't match in the given time to decide. Going alone seemed impossible as the project is big and targeting large companies.
- Comes.io: Same questions appeared, but it was easier to split in microservices. Therefore people could help me on the road of development. Concerning the sales aspect, I don't need full-time people to initialize the first step. Consequently, success is achievable alone. A start release which could obtain the stability to recruit securely.
Is it a good idea?
Am I solving a problem and meeting a real need? At this stage, it's interesting to meet your expected users. The objective is to get an idea of the product-market fit. This is directly related to our first point.
- Management project: I am convinced of this necessity. Too many people are wasting 50% of their capacity to do tasks with no value. A lack of communications transparency, top-down & bottom-up, brings confusion and defocus. Unfortunately, the indirect impact is vast, demotivation, turnover, exhaustion on many levels… Finally, because of no direct ROI, It will not be funded internally. I think we can solve and address many problems. After having modelled a prototype, the enthusiasm was positive.
- Comes.io: busy at work and almost impossible to watch trains and waves for surfing every week. Difficult to understand how a new spot works for a kitesurfer... Tedious to monitor the best conditions for a discovery weekend, train, hotel, weather. After meeting many kitesurfers/surfers/skiers/hikers/fishers, I understood it solves a real problem for many people, and me! Moreover, It allows you to target a small market first before expanding the offer.
Viable business model?
Comes.io is approaching its release. The management project will never get out of my head, to push my team this next level. This comfort, fulfilment, and efficiency that I think it could bring. Therefore, I consider my two BP as private, and would not present them here.
A business plan contains the business's operational and financial strategy, how we will achieve the objectives. It's a road map for the company usable for pitching. It is divided into a few parts, executive summary, industry overview, market analysis and competition, sales and management plan, operating and financial plan.
One thought is to ask yourself "will my project generate enough income to support companies expenses". Match incomes with expenses are about calculation and balance. You have to take as many things as possible into account, marketing, infrastructure, taxes, work tools ... Nothing is negligible, go as far as possible, and summarize in the presentation.
But a business life, is to improve itself, pivot and progress. Like everyone, it's born, grow, adapt, and die. It's good to think of an economic model capable of meeting these needs and anticipating other possibilities. You don't want your company to be stuck without potential, so get several moves ahead.
Next step is to define it, steer it and update it at every step the companies takes. And yes, Comes.io is now near its first release.
- Management project: from the collected information, ideal to realize and sell it to large companies is three persons for two years. Taking into account raising money and getting the first client. It's challenging and requires a good Pre Seed.
- Comes.io: plan was about one and a half years of development for one person (3 services). Without counting the training phases and Open Source. For sales, a presence on the net but not necessarily a seller in the beginning. A slowly scalable launch without specific funding is possible. Then, depending on the success, more investment will be required to accelerate, recruit, and expand. So probably Seed, but after the first version. I could stand on my own for about two years.
Following these various questions, I concluded that Comes.io would be a better choice as a first experience. Start one project is not about forgetting others. Trying to become an entrepreneur is a long road. After my different self-businesses and other work experiences, Comes was a more reachable step. I see in this project many possibilities for the future. It's a positive purpose; it helps people optimize their time while being less on their phones. What could be better? ☺️
So, I chose Comes.io.
As with every article, I hope helped some on their life travel. I would come back quickly with the next step of the story.
"Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become." Steve Jobs