I remember the day vividly. I was sitting and discussing business with Martin, my attorney. I brought up the fact that we had just put the finishing touches on a new web application that would bring MCC Recycling – and possibly many recycling companies – to a newer, higher level of efficiency.
I described how our new app would accelerate the ways in which we communicate and report critical data to our customers – always a very tedious, time-eating process which we had completely revolutionized and packed into the touch of a button!
Martin and I quickly realized that it would only be a matter of time before other recycling companies heard of this new service we were offering, and might want to compete with it or try and copy it. We spoke about how to protect the app – and recognized there really wasn’t any way to completely accomplish that.
And then it hit me.
“Martin,” I said, “this online web application is so revolutionary and useful, I can’t stop other companies from trying to copy it. I can see that it might not take long before it’s no longer an exclusive offering from MCC Recycling. But…what I can do is create a company that allows other recycling companies to buy the product from me at incredibly low cost.
Living as we do, in a free market economy, everyone is free to invent products and services, use them and sell them. My job is to be the first to offer this particular service to the marketplace, and to always be the best one of its kind, anywhere. Just like the iPhone. It was the first, and it is still the best. Apple can’t keep competitors from creating smart phones, but they can keep innovating to make sure theirs is always on top.
Make it irresistible.
We spoke further about the investment and the price. To date, I have more than $50,000 invested in my online web application, including all of the new features currently under development. Other recycling companies will know (or research) what it costs to develop a product such as this one. Recycling companies hearing of MCC Recycling’s wonderful new online web application have a choice to make.
They can start from scratch, re-invent the wheel, hire a developer for $50,000 or more, spend months and months of time and man-hours to create their own systems…or for about $99 a month, they can sign up for and buy an account from MyRecyclingReports.com .
It’s a no brainer, right?
In less than one hour, I had created the concept for MyRecyclingReports.com . When I walked out of that meeting - about one year ago today - I was running on adrenalin! Time, research, expertise and momentum were all on my side.
Ah, momentum. For the first 2-3 months of the project we were operating at warp speed. I was meeting with developers, graphic designers, copywriters, strategists, and talking about the features and design of our new app, which we decided to call MyRecyclingReports.com .
Every day was exciting, fun and progressive. By the end of each week, we had moved ahead and gained momentum. Things were going well. Everyone on the project was loving it - even though we had no customers, no prospects, no venture capital, and no real site up to view. It was pure momentum that kept us going. We were gaining in size and speed every day. Like a snowball rolling down a hill, there was no stopping us.
Until one day it did.
Our project stopped cold on the day our functional spec was finished. We sat down and looked at the cost estimate and we paused. We questioned ourselves. We wondered whether anyone would ever sign up for and pay us for this app. And we decided to take a week off from the project. We decided to put some thought into this before we wrote the check. In our defense, it was a big check.
Weeks went by, and then months. Our programmers, designers and copywriters wondered what happened. “You were so excited. So pumped. What happened?”
Nothing, really. Really!
The truth is, nothing happened after we broke our stride. We lost our momentum and haven’t done much since. And it has been one of the worst feelings I’ve ever had. Which brings us to today. I am happy to announce that this blog post represents the re-birth of our project. Today is the day I blow the dust off that snowball and give it a little push down the hill. If we keep at it, one day at a time, our momentum will build again.
The lesson we learned here is that you don’t need deadlines, giant project diagrams, team assignments, victory dances or even budgets. All you need is momentum, created by ingenuity and determination – an endless, slowly building movement that you push forward a little bit, every day.
These days, around our office, we like to say, “What can we get done TODAY?”. Not this week, not this month and certainly not by the end of the year. What about today? What can we get done by 5 o’clock? As little or as much as it may be, it will move us forward. Even if it was a mistake, or it didn’t work out, we’ll learn from it. And we’ll move forward.