Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Looking Back 4: Setting Sail (Year 2005 – The Orientation Year)

So on April 2005, I finally ventured out full-time. K and I had registered a partnership business, and we rented a small office at the east side. I felt fresh and enthusiastic, just like how I felt when I first graduated. I enjoyed the freedom of an entrepreneur’s life. In fact, I could work 7 days a week without feeling tired.

During the first few months, I focused on the development of the product while K did some marketing and packaging materials. I managed to release the first version of the product by early June and proceed to do some enhancements. K launched a minor marketing campaign on July and we got our first deal on August. Till then, everything seemed to be going well although we did not take any salaries.

The next few months, I continued with the enhancements of the product and did some occasional proposals for some ad-hoc projects. We had closed a few deals but because we sold our products mostly at discounted prices, we did not really earn much revenue. In fact, our revenue couldn’t cover our expenses and as a result, our company’s bank account kept decreasing. By November, our company bank account dropped from an initial S$10,000 to slightly over S$1000. We did not have a single deal in November and December, and our account dropped to a danger level at around S$500+.

At that point of time, we started to feel a bit demoralized. We knew it wasn’t easy but we did not expect to be that hard. K started to blame our product, and wanted me to look into developing other products. But I felt that we had spent so much time and effort on our product that it made no sense to just switch to other product. Developing a new product would take more time and would not guarantee success also. Moreover, I still believed in the potential and value of our pioneer product.

During December, K told me he had some personal problems and requested to take a break. He did not come to office for most part of the month. I had a premonition that K might wanna quit. I started to take over some of K’s roles in anticipation of what might eventually happened. I started to ask myself questions, when I looked out of the window of my lonely little office.

Should I continue if K decided to quit?
How much longer can I sustain the company?
What should I do to sustain and eventually grow the company?
Should I get a full-time job too, and carry on the business part-time?

I had no answers then. The year ended with the future looking bleak.

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