What rhymes with honey?
Coming up with an idea for a business is easy - just ask some of my friends who get a fresh idea delivered straight to their inbox every morning.
Please don't steal this idea, I'm still considering pursuing it.
Starting an actual business is just as simple - anyone can open a new bank account, set up a business on the companies register, and create a Facebook page.
The hardest part? Taking an idea and executing it. One of the biggest challenges faced by every new business is actually building on an idea while keeping costs down, and keeping it simple.
Our vision of Mainstage has evolved so much over the past few years that we pivoted half a dozen times and literally restarted the project from scratch just as often. It was for this very reason that we sought investment advice from an extraordinarily experienced friend and past colleague, the CEO of Centrality - a company making waves in the Blockchain industry, having also recently raised some serious funds themselves.
The result? Some sound advice, as well as some eye-watering seed funding - $100,000 to be precise. We could be hush about the numbers, but in reality, it's public information, and we're going to be honest with our users from day one. Aside from this, we also want to encourage other start-ups to put aside the idea that bootstrapping is better than giving up shares of a business for some cash. As someone once told me - 10% of something, is better than 100% of nothing. Obviously this may not suit every business, but don't discount the idea before doing your research. Oh, and Centrality's incubator is pretty awesome too.
Work smart, not hard
Two years of unguided development pretty much got us nowhere. We started with an idea, successfully launched a Facebook group as a form of market validation, met with local promoters to discuss the issues they faced, and then got to work. Our issue was that we wanted to solve too many problems, too quickly. With a list of features long enough to start 5 businesses, we quickly found ourselves stuck in the quicksand of an overly-complicated minimum viable product (MVP).
"You won't believe what happened next!"
Amongst the plethora of advice we received while applying for the incubator programme, one quote really resonated with us.
Keep it simple, stupid.
Profound, right? So we went back to the drawing board and worked out exactly what we wanted Mainstage to be at the core, and what the bare minimum requirements were in order to launch. A week later, our pitch deck was born, inspired by our passion for what we do, and sprinkled with a little bit of motivational reinforcement thanks to all the media attention around the ticketing resales market.
Face your fears
Getting shortlisted for the incubator was the easy part - when you're passionate about something, you can talk about it all day, as was evident while drafting our incubator application answers into a thoroughly thought-out word document. However, nervousness overshadowed our excitement, as we knew that the following week we would have to stand in front of the decision-makers and sell the idea of our start-up in the form of a 10 minute pitch. Keep in mind that we're coders who typically keep a low profile and thrive in a quiet dark room full of bright computer monitors.
After being wired up with a mic and standing in front of a fancy camera, my hands were sweaty, my knees were weak, and my arms were heavy. To say I was nervous would be an understatement - my anxiety was so raw that I forgot to read the notes I wrote on my phone to speed up the presentation, which caused me to feel as though a panic attack was brewing. I also noticed that my co-founder's face was a shade lighter than usual. Despite radically overthinking everything, we eventually learned that we did fairly well, and the following week we officially became incubatees.
The fun stuff
I would love to end the story there, but in reality the month that followed was easily the most stressful. For the sake of keeping the article interesting, a summary will do.
Business plan research, design consultations, project scope planning, cash flow forecasts, profit and loss estimates, legal advice, business mentoring sessions, and my own wedding, no less.
April was nothing short of chaotic, but it was well worth it.
Persevere to pioneer
We are incredibly excited to revolutionise the ticketing industry, especially because we have the opportunity to do so with technologies of the future, and skillsets we already possess. Ahead of us lies a long road full of obstacles, all of which we will overcome with the support of our peers and followers. Let it be known early on that we are not doing this for 15 minutes of fame, rather because we genuinely want to make a change, and we believe that we are in a position to do so.
Over and out
In our most recent blog post we left a small hint as to what we're building behind the scenes. Not one to break tradition, I leave you with a question: have you ever noticed how slow and complicated it is to buy tickets to an event?
Feel free to reach out to us on Twitter - we welcome all feedback and criticism.
Are you an event organiser/promoter, venue manager, or just involved with events in some way? We would love to hear from you.