Here’s the scenario.
You've been working on an idea for over two years. You’ve built a team, secured funding, spent many sleepless nights problem solving, applied for all your licenses, convinced Apple to let you have your app on their devices, and now, finally, you are ready to launch your product to a bunch of beta customers.
How do you announce to the world that you are launching?
Fireworks? A giant party? Skywriting “We Finally Did It!” across Melbourne?
Well here at Archa, we’re launching our neo business card from the comfort of our homes, in our pyjamas, during the tail end (hopefully) of a global pandemic. Not what we expected.
While every product launch has its own set of issues, here are some hurdles that we have had to overcome to get here.
The issues with launching during lockdown
Being based in Melbourne has meant multiple stages of lockdown, which we are currently still experiencing. Everyone in the company has been out of the office since late March. That’s coming up on almost seven months since our team has been in the same room together, which quite frankly is a struggle for any business, let alone one that is trying to launch a product. We’ve never been busier!
Honestly, there’s a part of us that is simply thankful to have jobs. So many businesses that we were hoping to help have gone through huge downturns. Many have had to close their doors, lay off staff or pivot the way they do business.
Knowing a thing or two about pivoting (we started off as a consumer neobank), we understand the situation and that’s why we’re focused on building a corporate credit card that is designed around the needs of small businesses. We want to give them the insight and the tools that they need, to manage spending and access credit in a secure, convenient way.
How we have addressed these issues
Ever heard of video conferencing? We are all seasoned pro’s at it now. Slack, Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype, Facetime? We’ve used them all. Barring some minor technical issues at the start of lockdown, they have really helped us stay focused as a team.
Our communication has never been better and we are all striving to hit common goals. A lot of that comes down to how the company is set up and the trust that we have in each other. We have clear objectives to work towards.
All of our work is categorized into different boards on cloud-based services like Monday.com or Trello, allowing any member of the team to see what other people are working on, or anything that is coming down the pipeline. This allows for greater understanding between teams and a chance for open collaboration.
The number of meetings that we have each week has increased, and the benefits of a short 5-10 minute catch-up, can’t be understated, keeping morale and productivity high. We also have increased the number of less serious social meetings our company has. Once a week a member of our team comes up with an hour long team-building activity, which we all attend. Notable hits have included: trivia, poker night, 3-ingredient cooking challenge and a very, very competitive game of online pictionary. We also have a running quiz that will one day crown an Archa Quizard (Like a wizard, but for quizzes).
We’ve found that businesses who had shown interest in Archa pre-lockdown, are still just as interested in getting their hands on our card. This shows that we’re on track to fulfil a market need and has helped keep us motivated.The change to their daily business has driven a lot of innovation and adoption of new technology, forcing them to step back from the hustle and bustle of the workplace and think about new systems that will stay in place post lockdown.
For Archa, the beta program couldn’t be coming at a better time. We’re in a position to work closely with our customers and accurately gauge their needs as they slowly scale their business back up. In turn, that also helps us scale our product to meet their unique requirements.
So what's the lesson here?
If you trust your team and keep open lines of communication throughout the business, you can overcome any obstacle. Growing closer as a team is a great way to strengthen your business. It’s probably the most cost effective way to build a positive culture that any business needs to achieve success.
The landscape has changed but that doesn’t mean we’re not still very excited to start helping businesses. In fact it might just be the perfect time for Australian businesses to sign up to Archa. We are proud that we are launching our product during a time when we can really help small Australian businesses as they regrow and push into new uncharted territories.