- High Risk - The idea involved a high level of personal and financial risk and we would have to be involved in starting the business from scratch including obtaining funding.
- Bad Timing - The recession was upon us, literally. Many people I knew had lost their job and I felt I had to fight for mine without additional distractions.
- Location - I was about to move to New York for several months and Rich was living in Switzerland, what seemed like great ideas would have to be shelved.
The reason this took so long, wasn't down to the application development itself, but the other factors which if you aren't careful can stop a start up dead in its tracks. Specifically if you already have a full time job:
- Approvals - usually if the firm you work for is larger than medium size you are going to require compliance based approval from the firm first. This involves forms, questions and more forms.
- Register a company - this is relatively easy to do in the UK, but the forms are very specific. We made several school boy errors on our forms - one date missed, one Ltd missed off the name on applying for a limited company form.
- Register with the Apple Developer Program. This isn't too bad if you can find a fax machine, the process took us around 10 days. In order to perform this step you need to have completed both 1 and 2.
- Open a bank account. In order to do this you need to have done 1 and 2. We are still waiting for this step to complete, and still waiting for a phone call back from one bank who state they help businesses we asked for their help 14 days ago.
- Configuration - You're registered on the Developer Program yay! Not quite done yet, you have to setup the team give them the access required and also link in the bank account to the legal contracts etc. We're here now waiting for 4 to finish.
- Release the application - So now the main problem we have is we only got an on device version last week, so performance testing is ongoing.
- Tax - Still need to think about this.
The process we've been through has taught me several things that having always worked in large companies I'd definitely never have known or experienced. If you're planning to do a start up, pick something that you enjoy and can see your spare time going in to. Right now we have 2 nights a week on average coding over Skype and weekend meet ups every month in London or Basel. We also have our first international conference in Prague in 2 weeks. Laptops in the pub! The next part goes without saying, only go into business with someone you get along with. If you're doing application development you're going to be spending a lot of time talking and working together. You're going to be wrong a lot and right a lot too, balance and banter is key.
Our main aim is to have fun building high quality products and a business from nothing to a successful entity. For the first year our aim is to build a portfolio of iPhone and iPad based applications, potentially expanding out into web based solutions where necessary. We're already starting to see interest from people asking what we're doing and even interested in asking us to develop applications for them. All in all, it looks like it will be one hell of a year!!