Continuing the story of my entrepreneurship journey….
As I always told the younger batches of entrepreneurs, the first three months of entrepreneurship is just honeymoon. After the honeymoon, you start to realize that reality isn’t a bed of roses, life isn’t all about passion, monthly salary is no longer an entitlement and bills still need to be paid.
Of course, if you have fundings, you can extend your honeymoon period. But sad to say, this wasn’t the case for us.
My business partner K had been sending out product brochures to prospective customers of our products. He tried out email marketing and cold calling, but not much response too.
In our first three months, we spent quite a considerable amount on things like office furnitures, product packaging and brochures, computer hardwares, office softwares, development softwares, etc. Every week, I looked at our dwindling company account and started to question whether we could really sell our products. Are we creating a product that nobody wants? Is it too late to start developing another product? How long can we last? I didn’t have any answers.
Then in August, we met the owner of a small system integrating company. He was quite interested in integrating our product with his management software. We saw a glimpse of hope and I started writing APIs (Application Programming Interface) and specification documents for third party software to integrate with our SMS solutions.
At the same time, we started to have a few orders from friends who were business owners or decision makers in their organizations.
In late October 2005, we had our first end-user customer who wasn’t a friend or relative. It was a private school who wanted to use our system to send out SMSes to their existing and prospective students. Business was picking up, we thought. Even though we did not draw a single cent as salary for the past 6 months, and even though we were still in the red, we were quietly confident that our venture would eventually be successful.
We thought that things would get better, but we didn’t know that a bigger storm was brewing…..