It’s been three years since I set out to build software by including people in the process. It’s now about 1 year since we launched Bella Scena into the marketplace. We finished cut-over to production while I was on a weekend getaway to New York City last year. It just added to the list of reasons why I love NYC. It’s been a year full of tremendous change.
The first year of any product is spent learning many lessons. There is the reality of who you think is going to buy your product and who really buys your product. That is an adventure all onto itself. I realize the best gift I gave myself was the gift of some time to work through those processes. It’s messy, it’s ugly- and it’s a full contact sport. The early stages requires tremendous, mind numbing growth for the entrepreneur. The time I spent getting the product to market wasn’t getting it over the finish line.It was getting it over the starting line. I worked with a lot of partners to get Bella over the starting line.
I also had to confront taking a much more visible role as the company founder now that we are in the market. This too is an important journey and has many of its own challenges. How do you gain exposure when so many people think your problem is boring? Or don’t really understand how much it is costing them? Just a few of the interesting things to think about along the way. Along the way we created an unproductive meeting calculator. This makes most people’s eyes bug right out of their heads as the cost of unproductive meetings becomes known. I smiled the whole time we built that one.
To this day, I can still tell you where I was sitting when the idea hit me that would later be named Bella Scena. It was like being struck by intellectual lightning. Those first tentative connections as I imagined how it would come together differently than today’s technology. The fear I felt as I was a solo female technical founder, recognizing the challenges that might pose. Riding the roller coaster. Talking to hundreds of people gathering feedback and improving the product. Seeing something you conjured up in your mind come to life in software is an incredibly special experience few people talk about. And we are just getting warmed up.
Now as an entrepreneur it is time to evolve into that next stage. I’ve been trying to do too much of this on my own. What does that really mean? It has meant I do the things I know I am good at, and only marginally deal with the rest because I have to. Ooops- is that too honest? It’s time to grow out of that stage for me. I’m working on the foundation that will allow me to do that growing. Sometimes it’s frightening as I don’t know what is around that corner. But I know I have several next steps:
- I’m working on getting an amazing team around me that understands and wants to be part of the Bella mission. Team players that get what it takes to build companies. And not forgetting how important diversity and inclusion is to that mission.
- I’m working on what the right capital and financing structure for the company is. I’m proceeding cautiously for what makes the most sense for the business, and not just chasing the money. I also recognize I may experience certain, shall we say, challenges in this process. I’m asking myself who are the right people to be around for that journey. I’m researching a variety of capital structures and financing options. I'm assessing what makes the most sense for the long term goals of the business. I’m having a lot of conversations with others that have been there and done that and can provide words of wisdom. I don’t have all the answers, but I am done being afraid of this process.
- I’m enhancing the support system for myself. I’m not neglecting the growth that will be necessary for me. None of us are born to do this- we learn and grow into it. I have to do the same thing.
- Adjusting our product development approach from being product led to whole problem focused. We’re embracing ideas we have had for three years but just didn’t have the capacity to execute on. Mid-August I will have more details to share on this.
Building Bella has been a wonderful way for me to change the world by eliminating one unproductive meeting at a time.
Thanks for using our product, giving us feedback and supporting us on the journey. If you haven’t started using Bella, what on earth are you waiting for? If you want a sneak peek at the latest and greatest we are working on- reach out for a demo. Remember, friends don’t let friends run unproductive meetings.