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Insights, Super Connect Impact

Insights: What to avoid when launching your app by Hollabox

Hollabox recently pitched in the Super Connect Pitch Day in Bournemouth and London who we previously super connected with StartUp Britain (an Empact Ventures client) who published the following piece (15/09/2017) here

The lean start-up methodology is to develop quickly, iterate quicker, and learn at the speed of light. It’s very rare to get things right first time, which is why you need to be quick to change and learn – most importantly don’t make the same mistakes. Some startups don’t have the luxury of continuous development, because of depletion of runway, and so never crack it and fail. So here’s some of my advice, from Hollabox’s developments to make sure you get some key things right first time for your app.

Make the value immediately accessible

We were guilty of making the first version of our product land on a profile page for the user. The thinking was that it immediately personalised the experience. However we soon learnt the hard way, and that is with apps, you have around 10 seconds to convince someone your app is worth keeping. How do you do that? Show them the value immediately. Ideally the value will of been effectively communicated in the marketing, but those who followed through to download need to see and feel the value for themselves. Whatever the value in your service, make it super easy to understand the quickest thing the user accesses.

Don’t assume you’ve got a good Product – Market fit

When in startup mode, it can be easy to become obsessed that what you’re doing is right. I mean, you’ve made all the plans, gone over it all in your head and it sounds exactly like something the world needs? This is a common mistake that, particularly for introverts, is hard to overcome. This is because it involves stepping out of your own mindspace and communicating with others. Of course, when we create, we’re innovating and that has to come from one person or persons, but don’t just assume you’ve cracked it.

Even experts in their field will seek validation for theories or work they put forward, and at the earliest of stages, you’re thinking shouldn’t be any different. What you risk is spending time and effort bringing a product to the market that you find out no one really needs, despite all the evidence you’ve done internally pointing to the contrary. Be prepared to work with your market along your development journey and listen to them to find the solution that they want, not what you think they want. This will increase the likelihood of your final product being relevant and sticky and so able to achieve growth.

Make sharing really easy.

The key to most apps’ success is how quickly you can make it go viral. Now there’s no secret formula for this, and if I’d cracked it, I’d be selling it for billions, not blogging about it. There are some simple things you can do however to aid that process and get a strong viral coefficient. It starts with making any sharing functionality you have very easy to access and accessible when the user would want to share it.

Leveraging any users network is powerful, so integrating with a user’s network on Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp for example are great tools and if placed appropriately will be used. What you’re looking to achieve is hammering home the value of your proposition, for the user to go… wow! I need to show someone this.

It’s at that exact point, your integrations or sharing mechanisms need to be there to help the user quickly and easily share that value. This is the creme de la crem of marketing for your start-up because it’s recommendations from trusted sources. You’ve not sold anything and your value is doing the talking. Get this right and you’re laughing.

Be aware of the unforeseen

So wrapping up this blog is a point that does a circle back to my opening comments. Building lean and validating as you go is key because I can’t stress it enough… there WILL be problems and new pieces of feedback that you wouldn’t of even thought of.

Keeping a lean mentality and process will help you deal with the unexpected, so you’re efficiently positioned to react appropriately.  This is the most proactive you can be in this situation and in all honesty, I wish my team and I had this mentality when we started. But that’s the power of hindsight and fortunately it’s not too late for us, so it’s exactly how we’ve been working for the past year.

Adam Beveridge is the Co-Founder of Hollabox. He is BA (hons) Business & Enterprise Graduate from Bournemouth University. and a passionate tech and media lover. You can find him either in the office, a restaurant or the cinema!

Hollabox is supported by Virgin StartUp and is part of the Empact Growth Studio which supports it with its development, growth and sustainability. Find out more here

Insights, Partners

Insights: 3 Key Tips for Testing Your Web Site or App by Qapitol QA (StartUp Britain)

Qapitol QA is a Super Connect partner and SME based in UK, Spain and India who we previously super connected with StartUp Britain (an Empact Ventures client) who published the following piece (03/11/2016) here

Testing is a vital part of any Software Life Cycle whether you are building a basic web site or a complex app for your business. Given that the time given to Testing is very limited and the focus is always on launching the product, it sometimes results in sub-optimal test coverage often resulting in Bad User Reviews from your customers and Low Ratings on the app stores.

If you want to avoid this, here are some quick tips that would avoid this and ensure you release products with Minimum Viable Quality (MVQ) every time:

1.       Ensuring Business Needs

This is the basic and most common need of any Product or Application which is being developed to solve some real customer challenges. Understanding your target market and users, the user needs and common user journeys are critical to define the solution that will effectively solve the problem that your application is trying to address.

Whether you are solving an under-solved problem creatively or solving a problem that is yet to be solved for people a lot of focus on the core functions are critical to solving the problem.

Featuritis is best avoided and instead testing your hypotheses, testing your design prototypes (without even a single line of code being written) before your embark on a larger investment of time and budget.

2.       Creating a User Intuitive Design

Design Intuitiveness is the most important and critical aspect of any web site or app as it turns the visitors into customers and also makes them loyal to you. A great interface and interaction design that provides seamless user experience leads the user to repeatedly use your product.

Test early, test often, involve real users if you can (test crowd). It is important to also appreciate the fact that you or your developers may know the shortcuts/fixes/roundabouts to accomplish certain tasks, but your users may not necessarily know these.

Consider the following in your test design and perform tests accordingly with expert testers:

  • Good Navigation and Controls
  • Consistency across application
  • Good Colour & Text Combinations
  • Suggestions, Help & Guidelines
  • Online & Offline Notifications and SMS’s
  • User friendly design
  • Gestures
  • Screen Orientation

3. Securing Attacks & User Data

In this digital age that mandates 24×7 connectivity and involves collecting and storing user data for providing personalized services, user sensitive data is always major part of worry because the data when exposed may result in fraud, crime, attacks etc.

Therefore, it is vital that you must consider building a robust security layer right from the start if you are dealing with extremely sensitive data or once the product is functionally stable if you are building a generic product, towards the later part of product journey.

If you are short on budget, you may want to utilise the services of progressive security testing experts who will help you uncover the loopholes and charge you per vulnerability detected.

Some of the security parameters to be taken into consideration are:

  • Encrypting user data with strong algorithms
  • DOS attacks
  • Not exposing any sensitive data
  • Securing Payments

About Mohan Panguluri and Abhishek Makhija at Qapitol QA

Mohan Panguluri is the Co-Founder of Qapitol QA where he is joined by experienced Testing Engineer Abhishek Makhija. Qapitol QA are quality assurance experts aiming to accelerate the product quality of startups which aims to become the best QA partner for tech startups to build and ship scalable and secure products faster. The team is made up of highly experience team of 40 product experts, quality assurance testers and developers with vast experience building,shipping and testing based in India and UK (Milton Keynes and Bournemouth). They recently were awarded the accolade of ‘Winner of Best Contribution to Quality in the Mobile World’ by The AQuA Quality Awards and Mohan is a Fellow of the Centre for Entrepreneurs and a mentor on the StartUp Britain London Boroughs Tour 2016.

Insights, Super Connect Impact

Insight: ClickMechanic – Bringing car repair into the 21st century (BQ Live)

ClickMechanic.com is one of Empact Ventures’ scale-up clients who pitched in our London Super Connect Pitch Day (14/11/2018) who we previously super connected with our media partner Business Quarter (BQ) for the below to be published (03/11/2016) here

Entrepreneur Andrew Jervis is bringing the car repair industry into the 21st century with the launch of ClickMechanic, ‘the Uber for mechanics.

Likened to the ‘Uber of the car repair industry’, ClickMechanic was founded in 2012 in a bid to bring the industry into the 21st century.

The website provides a platform for car owners to search for quotes for car repairs and book an appointment either at home or at garages across the UK.

While running a previous car parts aggregator business, entrepreneur Andrew Jervis found there was a problem with many customers not trusting their mechanics.

After further investigation and a chat with his mechanic brother he realised there was just no easy way to book a trusted mechanic.

Andrew decided to study a research masters in Manchester where he devoted himself to understanding these problems better.

After writing an 85,000-word thesis on the space he moved to London to join accelerator Entrepreneur First where he met Felix who had identified the same problems.

The pair decided to team up and develop ClickMechanic. Andrew told BQ: “ClickMechanic is an online marketplace for car repair.

“We’re bringing transparency, trust and convenience to the automotive repair industry through our industry standard quote system.

“I think our core USP is our ability to get an online industry standard quote online in just two minutes and then quickly book in with one of our vetted mechanics.

“A bonus is that most of our mechanics are mobile so they’ll come to people’s homes for no extra charge, saving the customer time and money.”

Andrew and Felix went on to graduate from the popular pre-accelerator in London, Entrepreneur First and recently raised £330,000 from leading investors led by the former CEO of Just Eat.

Since its launch in 2013, the company has gone from strength-to-strength employing 15 members of staff and undertaking millions of pounds worth of repairs each year.

And Andrew has ambitious plans for the company. He added: “We launched in 2013 and in our first 18 months we grew rapidly averaging over 20% month-on-month growth.

“The last couple of years we have been doubling in size and we shall be maintaining this target going forward.

“We are now aiming to aggressively push and grow the business by hiring more staff and executing some really exciting strategies we have lined up.”