I've just finished reading chapter 2 of Zoom! The faster way to make your business idea happen and to use one of Ian Sanders favourite words it really "resonated" with me and my experiences with Kwwika.
Chapter 2 is entitled "The trouble with too much planning. How to unplan your business". I've been following Ian for probably around three years now and for around the last two he's been talking, tweeting, blogging and vlogging about unplanning your business.
I had tried to unplan Kwwika. The fact that it was a great idea, I had real passion for it and had a lot of potential to be used in many different ways unfortunately wasn't enough for everybody involved. There had to be more of a business plan. This meant documents and spreadsheets. These documents and spreadsheets alone didn't clearly show a massive turnover. But the spreadsheets were full of best guess estimates and didn't take into account all the various possibilities and things that hadn't even been thought of yet - how could they? Kwwika didn't need a plan beyond the basics we already had in place. We had enough information to see that it was a great idea and had lots potential. What it needed was more faith, commitment* and belief in the idea.
*It would probably be better to say that the commitment needed re-focused since there was plenty of time, effort and money spent on the project.
Chapter 2 in Zoom! talks about a business idea needing a 'why' and a 'who'. Why a business is needed and Who will make it happen. The Why for Kwwika has now been justified by services like Pusher, of which I'm now part, and the competitors PubNub and Beacon Push. There is absolutely no reason why Kwwika couldn't still be running and competing too. The problem lies in the belief in the 'why' and the restrictive nature of the 'who', where a big part of the 'who' was me.
One of the things that Gary Vaynerchuk talks about quite a bit is the importance of concentrating on what you are good at. If you're not good at something, or if you know it could be done better by somebody else, then find that somebody else and get them to do it. This means you can focus on the things you are good at. We didn't do this with Kwwika and it was partly my fault. It was my fault because I was on a good salary, knew the project was constantly under review and knew that at the start of 2012 I wanted to buy a home for my family. These all conflicted with how I should have approached Kwwika. My salary shouldn't have been a salary at all. It should have been a budget to spend as required in order to give Kwwika a better chance of being successful.
Knowing, or admitting, you are not good at something can be a difficult thing. I'm actually reasonably open and honest about this. I think I know what my strengths and weaknesses are although I do try to put myself in situations which I'd say are outside of my comfort zone. One example of this is that I actually really enjoy working with others although I work from home so quite frequently have to work alone. Another is giving talks. Since a kid, and a particularly bad experience trying to give a talk about the football team I was captain of, I've never been too keen on giving talks or presentations. But I'm now trying to put myself in situations where I have to do this to get over this worry, increase my confidence and to try and improve as a person.
All this feeds in very well to chapter 3 of Zoom!, "Getting to grips with your mission. Why you need to understand what's driving you". More to come as I read on.