Whoever said “No pain, no gain,” obviously had a few start-ups and small businesses under his or her belt.
The past few months for Oddpodz have been a period of growth and transformation. We are happy to report, we are still moving forward, however, we’ve also had a good share of “OUCHES!”
We have struggled through a frozen economy.
We have danced with investors and fundraising gurus in “not-much-action-for-pre-revenue-deals” funding market.
We have squeezed 18 hours of productivity out of 8-hour work days with a limited team.
And we have kept smiles on our faces, when inside we were often scared and freaked out.
If being an entrepreneur—starting and leading a small business—is in your life path, put your thick skin on and embrace the ability to let challenges not defeat you, but drive you forward.
Progress and change are essential for business success. But when you are a young and small enterprise they also bring several suitcases of uncomfortable side effects.
For almost a year, Oddpodz knew our Web development company was not the right fit. They were not a bad company, but our needs and budget and their needs and budgets were miles apart. We didn’t make a change because the interruption and anticipated new expenses outweighed the acceptance of sluggish service, spending more than we needed to for hosting, etc., so we just carried on.
For nearly eight months, Oddpodz has been operating with a half-tank of gas too. Running a community, marketing, producing content, managing a site, and still earning a living to fund a pre-revenue producing company requires a full tank of dedicated resources.
No matter how creative and passionate we were, this combination was not going to take us to the Promised Land. In fact, it was likely moving us closer to the end.
No matter how painful it was going to be, change had to happen.
We needed a new, responsive, affordable Web partner.
We cut our ties with our old dev firm and found a new resource. They are 3by400. They are Joomla specialists, (Oddpodz is build in Joomla), they have a track record of social media and ecommerce successes, and most of their clients are our size; small, but with potential to scale up quickly. Today we had our first strategic planning meeting with Brent, Kim, and Beth. We heard about many new applications and solutions and are looking forward to enhancing our community platform and site with their expertise.
We needed an additional dedicated, strategic partner, and contributor.
If the one lone founding partner was to lead and fund the company’s growth, at a pre-revenue stage, we needed another social media- and business savvy entrepreneur to add to the team. Rome or any city of stature was not built by one person. We drafted a very comprehensive position description for an ideal community manager. We placed it on high traffic social and job sites and started the process of finding Oddpodz a new community master. Ultimately the winning candidate came through a Twitter post. His name is Keith Burtis. He is a balance and mix of techno-dude, market maker, and creative wonder. He resides in my old stomping grounds outside Buffalo. Oddpodz is ecstatic about our new relationship. We will share more about Keith soon, but just know that there are lots of exciting and new things around the corner for the company and you.
Yes, all this progress is exciting. But with it comes time-consuming, brain-stretching, and investment-needing stuff too.
Turns out our old site was pretty cobbled together with lots of out of date applications and workarounds from a programming team that was no longer anywhere to be found. In fact, Joomla 1.0 had no support and the hosting and IP change caused many features to not transfer or function.
Yikes! This kind of progress hurts a lot until you start reaping your first season of fruit.
Our new community master is awesome. Smart, thoughtful, and creative. His presence feels like a double shot of B12. And once our immune system gets strong again, we are confident there are no marathons we won’t be able run.
We know many of you fellow entrepreneurs are feeling this stress too. Here are five tips to help you manage through your progress and change too.
1. Stay focused on the big things that matter. Answering every email and looking at vendors’ offers when you don’t have the time or resources to invest in them are a huge waste of time.
2. Amp up your efficiency, in everything you do. Put instructions and expectations in writing, start every meeting with an agenda, and utilize productively tools to maximize the hours in your day. While this takes time, it saves a lot more in the end.
3. Keep your standards high and don’t compromise because you are feeling beat up or frustrated. This will, in the long run, produce better results.
4. Do not worry or obsess about things that you cannot control or are in the past. Channel your unequivocal energy on finding solutions that get you closer to your goals.
5. Make your physical and mental fitness regime a top priority. Exercise daily, stretch, meditate, and take deep breaths often. Eat right and sleep enough.
In this time of change we are doing our best to support and grow our community. What types of things can we do better? What types of features would be valuable to you?
Until next time
Thank you for your continued support, your visits, time, and suggestions.
About the author: Karen Post, a.k.a. The Branding Diva® is an international authority on branding, marketing, and entrepreneurial matters. She has been featured as a business expert in print publications; on TV, radio, and on Web channels. Karen authored the best-selling book Brain Tattoos Creating Unique Brands That Stick in your Customers’ Minds and she is co-founder and CEO of Oddpodz.com.