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January Update

March 27, 2020

We cover what we've been working on in January, our goals and what we have planned for the next month. This time we also take a look back at 2019 to see how far we've come.

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As the new year rolls around I've been reflecting on the year that's passed, resting up and re-focusing on what the business needs to achieve in the year ahead but before we talk about what's happening and what we have planned this year let's look back ๐Ÿ‘€

Marty McFly checks out his hoverboard in back to the future
Marty from Back to the Future checking out a rad hoverboard

Reflections

We began the year with some pretty grand plans - launch Vocal and pilot the service in Edinburgh by working with local business managers. This would keep us close to the two users of our services - managers and their customers. We would listen, learn and iterate fast to ensure the product development aligned with their needs.

This is a remarkably difficult thing to do when there are only two of you and you work full-time. Throw in planned (and unplanned) life events and that opportunity shrinks further. Despite this, we were confident that it was possible to launch fast and with some late nights and lot's of trial and error - we did make it to the app store ๐ŸŽ‰

This is where the good stuff ends.

When we tested the app we found out pretty fast that we needed to improve our data quality. We also needed to get notifications working, or the whole thing was pointless. How would users see replies from managers without it?

We disagreed as a team over what was important and ultimately split with our developer so that we could re-build our API and database. This meant we could fix the data quality issues and work in a way that meant we can get product features shipped quickly either in the team or through contractors. A backward step now, but one we knew was right for the longevity of the business.

2019 in emojis:

๐Ÿค Ben joined Harry and I as a founder to help us build the service

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Harry took a temporary role at Boosted boards to gain experience of a high-profile product launch & network the hell out of San Fransisco for future gains whilst we were still in build

๐Ÿ’’ I got married

๐ŸŒŽ We re-designed, built and re-launched our website

๐Ÿ’ป We bought our domain name www.vocal.app

๐ŸŽ“We took part in YC Startup School

๐Ÿ“ฑ We made the Apple App Store...

๐Ÿค– ...and then the Google Play Store

๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ณ๓ ฃ๓ ด๓ ฟ Harry returned to his homelands

๐Ÿ‘‹ Ben left to pursue his own startup. Good luck!

๐Ÿค James took over the build of our App

We learned the hard way that making something new is hard and takes perseverance. Failing in our mission to impact local businesses in Edinburgh has made us determined to do it this year!

Ok onto the next chapter...

Goals. Goals. Goals.

Alan Shearer celebrating goals
Alan shearer scores a lot of goals

No not that kind

What do we want to achieve in 2020?

Our ambition hasn't changed since we began working on this idea - we want to help local businesses everywhere learn from their customers and for their customers to receive improved services as a result. Firstly, in our own back garden (Scotland) then the world ๐ŸŒŽ

Having learned from last year, we've kept our goals SMART (look it up). We'll be posting a new set each quarter - it will keep us honest and we'd love to hear your feedback on how we can be better at goal setting as we grow.

Short-term (1st quarter):

  • Launch Vocal App to our test group in Edinburgh
  • Migrate the users from Marchmont that helped us in our pilot
  • On-board another 20 local businesses
  • Acquire our first 200 users

January round-up

We've been busy putting the finishing touches to the API and fixing our data issues. There's a wee update of the app to be released which includes a way for us to incentivise the service short term (to say thanks to our BETA users).

Surviving the weather โ˜‚๏ธ

That is all...

Look ahead to February

The biggest aim this month is to get our new App launched ๐Ÿ˜ฐ

While we're doing that we'll also start to take an active role in the discussion surrounding #customerexperience in the form of lovely juicy SEO rich blogs, but that requires some website alterations too.

And that's it!

I'll leave you with this thought from Michael Siebel:

"What makes the top 10% of founders different is their ability to execute. To deliver. To ship. To get a product or service in the hands of users and to learn from it, over and over again."

This is something we'll be thinking about a lot this year.

Tom Harries
Founder & CEO

We help locals share suggestions

Sharing ideas should be easy and rewarding, not difficult and tedious. With Vocal you can share anywhere you go, there's no account setup and we get your message to the manager for you.