Let me start my third post sharing some good news! In December, one of my tasks were to help write a tender for an EU social challenge, which I’m happy to share that we won! As a result, now we have the opportunity to bring Route4U to Angers, France, thus potentially adding yet another city to our map.
MolxDesignTerminal Accelerator programme
In my first post, I’ve mentioned that Tibor (one of my colleagues) and I took part in the selection camp of the MolxDesignTerminál Acceleration Programme, which we successfully got in, therefore, we have started to work with Design Terminal in January. Although Route4U has already been in an acceleration programme at its take-off, it was deemed useful for our new product line to undergo a thorough validation and build up phase with the help of the mentors. As we are over some pretty useful workshops, I thought I would share some of the key lessons I’ve learned meanwhile.
- Know your strengths (& weaknesses).
It is important to carry out a skills assessment within the team to see your strengths and weaknesses. There are some pretty good materials that are readily available for everyone online. The one that we used listed most of the skills that are useful for a startup such as presentation skills, IT related skills, financial and managerial skills. Each group member goes through the list and rates him/herself on a scale of 1-10. After that you can add them up and see what skills you lack and find new team members accordingly.
- Make a strategy pyramid
Having a strategy is not just a fancy buzz word, it is basically saying what you want to accomplish and how you will accomplish that goal. It helps you to focus your resources to actions that matter and helps you say no to initiatives that may sound good but do not fit in your overall vision. Here are the strategy pyramid steps (from top to down) and a few words on what they mean based on the brilliant workshop by Callie Wheeler:
Vision & Mission – What your company wants to achieve and why.
Strategy – How your company wants to achieve that.
Objectives & Key results – What your company needs to accomplish.
Initiatives – How your company will execute.
Metrics – what your company needs to measure.
I highly recommend everyone to go through the pyramid step-by-step before moving on to the development of any new product.
- Seek out for help
Proactivity is a crucial component of this type of work. In this industry, you are facing challenges constantly, so it is essential to know who to turn to if you have a question. Ask the most relevant and as specific as possible questions that will bring you closer to the solution.
- Service design
It is important to keep in mind who your users are. That is because your early adopters will provide you with invaluable insights into your product’s strengths and weaknesses. That doesn’t only mean reviews, but also – what perhaps is more important – the journey they take using your product. If you monitor closely what they do while using your product, where they click, or at what point do they close it, will help you identify weak points that you need to work on.
Whatever your startup is aiming to do, it is recommended to look around the market and analyse what your competitors are doing. What story do they present, what is their message? How do they advertise? Who are their target audience? What do they not do that you planned to do (perhaps they tried but it wasn’t successful, so you should reconsider taking that step)? Look at their finances if you can. It’s useful to create a spreadsheet with all the competitors and putting your research in there about them.
Route4U in TV2
We had the chance to introduce the Route4U app in TV2. Although the company has been featured a couple of times already, for me it was a first time on a national TV. It was lovely to chat with Szilárd Sági, the host of the show, he had very insightful and relevant questions about our project.
Winter Office 2.0
Furthermore, I took part in Design Terminal’s Winter Office event where we had one of our weekly check-ins regarding the Acceleration programme. Every Friday we get together with the other 4 startups and talk about our achievements and failures on the given week as well as the hopes and fears for the next. It’s extremely useful, because this way we are able to help each other, learn from each other’s mistakes and it ensures that we make progress every week and have something to show up. After the meeting, I stuck around to work and network in a less structured way, since the event attracted a lot of creative minds and the change of scenery was absolutely needed. ☺