It's been already two years. In fact, most of SC Robotic's lifetime has passed in the middle of the worst pandemic in a century, and we've survived. YAY!
In this new birthday I want to review last year's goals and also propose new ones for this upcoming year.
Goal 1 (2020): Developing better customer relationships
I have to admit that we've learned this lesson the hard way. During a couple of months we all focused mostly on the technical tasks because we were really busy. You can imagine how many calls we received when this particular project was over...
I reckon we've done good progress on this, but to be honest it has been tough. In part, I don't think it's been easy because the COVID-19 pandemic has brought a videoconference-based approach to meet new potential customers. It took time to all of us to get used to this, and to be completely honest, I don't think we are there yet.
During the past months I've personally spent most time doing this kind of work. Some people use fancy title names to describe these positions like business developers or even sales development representatives, but I just do it the best I know given I have an engineering background.
ACHIEVEMENT LEVEL (✅ 10 - ❌ 0): 7
Goal 2 (2020): Making clear our value proposition
During the whole year we kept refining our business model. And will keep doing it until we find the right spot. Even though we plan to keep doing consultancy (basically because we are a bootstrapped company and that helps us pay our bills), business has created an opportunity for us in the agrotech market, and little by little we are trying to develop our own line of products.
Being both a service and a product company is not easy, but hardware development has some distinctive features that makes it a bit... different. For instance, we not only develop software (firmware) but we also build the devices themselves and take care of their maintenance once they have been deployed. In fact, our projects are usually split into phases (e.g., prototyping, series 1, series 2, mass manufacturing...). Thanks to this approach, it's easier for us to build longer term relationships with our customers and the line that separates product from service becomes blurrer.
ACHIEVEMENT LEVEL (✅ 10 - ❌ 0): 5
Goal 3 (2020). Finding key partners
We try to always participate in projects with at least an important corporation leading it. Depending on the project, some times they are our customers but some other times they are our partners.
This is very important because it helps us validate the projects we are working on and I think we are already going in the right direction. However, we still need to find a way to harden the ties with this corporations and somehow establish longer-term collaborations.
ACHIEVEMENT LEVEL (✅ 10 - ❌ 0): 4
As you may have noticed, the last two goals were not really a success, and if I think about them, they are closely related: finding partners without a having a clear value proposition is very difficult. In this sense, the nicher the market the easier it is to find the partners you need.
What's up, 2021?
Apart from keep improving on last year goals, this next 12 months I have some personal & company milestones I would like to achieve:
Goal 1 (2021): Shifting mindset between technical and business
This one is closely related to goal 1 of 2020 (Developing better customer relationships). I have to admit that finding a balance between working on technical tasks and focusing on business development is still pretty challenging for me. Perhaps the reason is that I don't have any kind of methodology for the latter.
In other words, it's quite difficult for me to spend half of the day working on company management tasks like finding new customers or preparing job offers while working on technical projects during the rest of the day. I really like the latter, so giving that up is not an option. On the bright side, I'm not the first one to encounter this difficulty:
Goal 2 (2021): Growing our team
We will make some exciting announcements in the next few weeks. As a result, I can already tell you that we need to hire some people to grow our team. For now we've just opened one position, but if you are a firmware and/or hardware developer and working with us sounds appealing to you drop me a message. We are a really young company so I promise this adventure will not be boring.
Visit our website or get in touch with us if you'd like to meet us.