Here I am almost a year after my first post, trying to write my second post. The lesson here is that writing a blog is tougher than I thought it would be. Minutes after writing the first post I lowered the priority of this blog. Things like securing contracts, pleasing clients, managing staff and keeping the lights on always seem to be pressing, urgent, and unrelenting. Yet I want to keep this blog active, as an outlet for me and hopefully a resource for others.
First an update on Barefoot Solutions. Like most other American companies, Q4 was tough – absolutely brutal. Nearly every client I had, including the very reliable long term clients, reduced or eliminated our contracts. Long term projects are a bit of a double edged sword like that. If a site has already launched, or an application is already in use, the development partners are no longer mission critical. When purse strings are tightened, temporarily cutting back or shutting down development is an option that many take. When a business owner is worried about making payroll or laying off staff members, all the “nice to have” features fall right off the list, and rightly so.
But with this downturn came many positives. It gave me time to look at fine tuning many of the business processes that needed work. It forced me to, for the first time really, think about marketing our services. Gone are the days where we can rely solely on referrals for new business. While I see that method still being the primary means of making contacts and securing contracts, there are certainly other avenues that need to be pursued and I have been doing my business a disservice by ignoring them.
Onto the good news. Q1 is looking great! New projects that were put on hold are starting to move again. Venture capital and investment in IT projects seems to be starting to loosen up. I seem to fall right in line with a growing trend. This post from the man who inspired me to start this blog, Joel Spolsky, says it all in Is the tech recession over? Seems that this company has experienced something very similar to other software companies. This is reassuring.
With that I will close this post. I plan on posting at least once a week from here out, so please stay tuned. More to come.