A mobile application has a cost, so we use love money and crowdfunding (via the Ulule platform). By also putting out of our own pocket we finally manage to raise the necessary money to start a development that will take about 6 months! Much too long for a version 1. A few months after the launch, it’s a failure: very few downloads and no à la carte sports reservations… a first failed takeoff.
The entrepreneur’s taste for rebound
At this point, two solutions are available to us: leave entrepreneurship to find a more stable job, or bounce back with a new idea.
It is this second solution that we choose. So here we go again for hours of reflection to define a new idea, support in incubators to refine it, days of doubt but also some small victories. We have this time an asset that we did not have not the first time: Clément, one of the co-founders, is self-taught in web and mobile development, so no need for financial resources to develop an in-house solution. We therefore launch our application mobile “I can’t, I have Fitness”, a home fitness application that plays on excuses (I don’t have time, I’m lazy, etc.) so that sessions adapt thanks to an intelligent algorithm. It’s fun, the idea pleases a lot, and we find ourselves carrying out our launch when the first confinement is announced because of the COVID19 pandemic.
After several months of operation of the application, we count several thousand downloads and some subscriptions, we enabling us to achieve our first turnover.
But we had clearly underestimated two things: the weight of the competition and our lack of budget to make ourselves known. Between YouTube, fitness influencers, TV, other applications that have emerged quickly and the hundreds of sports coaches who have had to adapt to the confinement by offering live sessions, we didn’t measure up, and the few subscriptions we had clearly did not allow us to live from it… a second take-off better approached but again missed.
Breaking the myth of never two without three
Once again a dilemma is offered to us, to work on other functionalities and to strengthen our concept (it is not the ideas that are missing) but without any guarantee of results, or build a new page in our adventure by taking a more radical turn.
After having made various entrepreneurial mistakes, made many rewarding encounters, developed our skills in several fields and in particular in that of digital development, we said to ourselves that it was now time to help others entrepreneurs to carry out their projects by preventing them from making the same mistakes as us.
But what further differentiates us from other agencies digital development or freelance developers, is that we use our entrepreneurial experiences to provide a service of advice/accompaniment in each of our missions. This very often leads to an optimization of the development projects of our customers, allowing them to move quickly while spending less money!
Whether our customers come from our partnerships with incubators or moreover, our operation remains the same. We make an initial “first contact” meeting with our customers in order to clearly understand the idea of the project and the functionalities requested. By relying on any models, we then establish an initial estimate free of charge and, if it is relevant for the project, we propose a 2nd optimized estimate, in which we change or remove features that we believe are not needed in the version requested by our customers.
Throughout the development mission, we remain in contact regularly with our customers, because we know that the responsiveness of the team in charge of development is an important criterion for a project leader, and we do not hesitate to enter into discussions to provide our advice when process issues arise.
After more than a year of activity, these are very good projects supported and a turnover in constant progression which allows us today to live from what we like to do: to support project leaders in the concretization of their digital ideas… the third take-off will have been the right one!
Driven by the desire to undertake
Proud to have finally succeeded in our take-off, we work every day with the desire to develop our digital agency. Thanks to our experience, we no longer repeat the same mistakes, we better anticipate our actions come, and we are more attentive to the current needs of our customers.
Hugo Caillier & Clément Bonneau, founders of Smarting Block