We've been thinking a lot about our history lately. We started as a small idea in 2013, and the past few years have been nothing short of amazing, busy, and a bit exhausting. From a single idea we grew to have thousands of customers in 38 countries. We added a bunch of coworkers, moved offices, and have been generally thrilled with what we've seen.
We guess it's due to the festive time of year, but we've started thinking about everything we're grateful for. Apart from all the growth, we're just grateful that we have the opportunity to make something useful that people use to make their lives easier every day.
And we can't think of a better way to show gratitude than to give something back. In that spirit we're happy to introduce the first two instalments of Raken Startup Snacks.
What are Startup Snacks?
Startup Snacks are quick, easily-digestible videos where experts from Raken address a topic of importance to any startup business. We've had some success in that area, and since we were already lending our expertise to making construction field reporting as fast as possible, this was practically the only other area where we actually had something of importance to say.
Over the next few months look for videos and articles from the Raken team on how we grew from a single idea to the company we are today. Along the way we'll be sharing practical, helpful tips for starting your own business such as coming up with a good idea, doing your own PR, handling your marketing, which positions you need to fill first, and other pieces of advice.
Our first two Startup Snacks are already live on the Raken YouTube Channel. Our Co-Founder Sergey Sundukovskiy covered what makes a good startup idea, and PR Lead Brian Jones talked about what it takes to handle your own PR.
Check out some highlights from Sergey's first video below or see the series so far.
Sergey Gets Threatened
Sergey shares a story about one of his first startups, a game to teach people Facebook marketing. The initial reactions to this game were... mixed.
I've never done a game, and I thought how difficult could it really be? As it turns out, it could be pretty difficult. We started with an early prototype and did all the testing, and it (reviews) started coming back with "you guys should never do a game, this is terrible, this is absolutely horrible." And I was glad that we didn't put an address on our website: we had one guy who wrote "if I had a baseball bat I would be there teaching you guys how to do a game properly." We took that feedback in stride.
Luckily Sergey got the game in good working order before any serious damage was done to life and limb. Just goes to show that your initial idea might not always be a winner.
Entrepreneurs are Observers at Heart
There are a million startup ideas that never get off the ground, and there are millions more that never even got the attention they deserved because someone thought the idea wasn't worth pursuing. But, according to Sundukovskiy, if you've ever noticed a better way of doing something then you're well on your way already.
What distinguishes an entrepreneur, or somebody who comes up with an idea for improving something, is the keen observational technique that they use in order to observe what people do and ask themselves questions. Why do people do it this way, is there a better way?
The best ideas come from people opening their eyes and questioning the way that things have always been done. Once they see room for improvement they not only have an idea for how to solve it, but they will be addressing a real problem and need.
Look for the Adjacent Possible
Sometimes it might seem like any idea for a startup is great. We've all heard heartwarming stories about young spitfire entrepreneurs who were mocked and ridiculed for their extravagant ideas and then laughed at the doubters once their dreams came true.
Well, the opposite is actually more likely to happen, and most outlandish ideas stay just that- ideas.
Look at the core of the existing problem, and looking at some of the things it could be logically extended to and solved.
This is in contrast to the adjacent impossible, where your startup idea needs 10 inventions to make it feasible. Sergey recommends starting with the problem you can fix most easily, and then moving on from there. Your product will be useful, and it will not live out it's days as just another idea.
Tune in for More Startup Snacks
Our first interview was just the beginning. We plan on serving up more Startup Snacks throughout the year so we can help other ideas get off the ground and start helping people. You can check out our Startup Snacks page on Medium, or head over to the Raken YouTube Channel and watch the videos. This Thanksgiving we hope you'll take a break from all that feasting and enjoy a Startup Snack to help get you motivated to tackle your big ideas in the future!