After nearly 12 months of research, planning, development and numerous changes of direction we are ready to put Dingadeal.com live. We set out on this journey in January and have come a long way since.
What started out as a fairly casual meeting on a January evening has developed into a fully fledged business with numerous ups and downs along the way. We began by applying to The Endeavour programme in January and were lucky enough to be offered a place. We drove 2 hours each way every Thursday night to attend the workshops and learned a lot from the presenters and the assignments we were given. At the end of phase 1 we were invited to pitch to get onto phase 2 of the programme. This involved presenting our business to some of the best business minds in the country and being drilled on it afterwards. It wasn’t easy! But at the end of it we were offered a place and what is considered the best tech start-up incubator in the country.
We also pitched to Enterprise Ireland and got competitive start-up funding valued at €50k. We were on a roll and still are. We have a great concept and the backing of Enterprise Ireland and one of the top start-up incubators in the country. We had regular stress panels throughout the summer that helped us refine our product, test our business and were the source of many of our changes in direction and new ideas. We have been lucky enough to sit down with some of the top business minds in the country to discuss our plans.
After some extensive research we found some great developers and began building the site. It has taken time and effort to get the site to where it is now, but we are confident that we are ready to bring a product to market that is set to revolutionize the industry.
A few key lessons learnt along the way
1) Get the product out there quickly.
We spent a lot of time working on our site and our technology and maybe not enough time on our business model. Eric Reiss’s philosophy of the lean start-up (get your product to market and iterate quickly) is something I would recommend people to think about. It may not be applicable to all businesses but I think it certainly is something that should be read and understood by everyone before writing a line of code.
2) Find and talk to as many experienced technology people as you can.
If you are building a website or a technology business talk to as many technology entrepreneurs as you can. Technology is very different from a normal business in some ways. How many business people would tell you to open a supermarket while you are still painting the walls? However, this approach seems to be acceptable when you working in technology. Therefore listen closely to what experienced technology entrepreneurs have to say.
3) Don’t be afraid of outsourcing
At the beginning we were told to avoid outsourcing by more than one person. We heard many people tell us horror stories of really badly coded websites and being “ripped off”. We have outsourced some of our development and our design work and have got some top quality work back as well as saving money. Luckily we have a very experienced software developer and a web designer to manage the outsourcing. They take care of some of the work themselves and outsource other parts. If you have experience in software development or design and think you can project manage I would recommend considering outsourcing.
4) Listen to everyone but don’t take everyone’s advice
When seeking advice from people listen to what they have to say, but at the end of the day remember that you are the one who has to make the decision. We were offered advice some from some very experienced entrepreneurs and business people, in retrospect some of it was good and some of it was not so good. Remember that no one knows as much about your individual business and your particular situation as you.
So we need a favour. Please have a look at the website, play with it and if you find any errors let us know. Then complete this survey (it won’t take you more than 2 minutes) and give us as much honest feedback as you can. The more detailed the better. If you have any questions about the product please send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call us at (021) 2348969.
Also, tell your friends and family about Dingadeal. We need help spreading the word about our service and there is still a long road ahead.