What I learned about time launching my same-day delivery firm Gophr
So you have a business idea? Great! You’ve done the hard part. Now is the time to build that idea into something tangible. But don’t rush it! You have more time than you think.
Business ideas are two a penny. Good business ideas are rare. Really good business ideas that go the distance are rarer still.
When I was thinking about going out on my own, I had two ideas - one was a marketplace for fellow sneakerheads, and the other became Gophr, a same-day delivery business.
The sneaker marketplace was the one which really fell into my sweet spot. I love trainers, I have 80+ pairs. Nikes, Jordans, New Balance, Adidas. You name them, I’ve got them. Seems like an obvious direction to go in, especially as I knew next to nothing about delivery at the time.
I put the brakes on my marketplace idea though. eBay was going to eat it alive eventually. And while the likes of StockX had a good run, eBay caught up. It’s been forced to move away from what it was meant for originally and has now diversified into consoles, smartphones, computer hardware and even NFTs. It’s not really a place for sneakerheads anymore.
Getting Gophr off the ground on the other hand was going to be a longer process. I had no idea about the world of delivery. All I knew was that the industry needed a shake-up as I had had only bad experiences. So I got to work.
I think I pretty much spoke to everyone - friends, family, enemies, couriers, customers. Everyone. I even jumped on the bike myself and lived the #courierlife. I wanted to know everything there was to know about the industry before I launched Gophr.
And that obviously took time. A lot of time.
Take Your Time
But it was vital that I had all bases covered. It is such a natural reaction when you have that great business idea to want to “get it out there”. And fast! Adrenaline is pumping, you’re high on the idea and you’re going to change the world.
There’s also a sense of “it’s now or never”. I think the fear of missing out is something many budding entrepreneurs experience. There’s an urgency around the fact that you might miss the opportunity and that your business will miss the boat.
I’m here to tell you that if your idea is a good one, it will be a success, even if you take some time to get it off the ground. So there is no rush. Do your homework at a pace that you set, not that you feel forced to follow, and your business will be better for it.
And it is not just at the launch stage, where you have more time than you think. It’s also post-launch.
We saw this when we launched Gophr in 2015. In the September of the previous year, when I had finished my trial shift on the bike, we were in a position to start building the system and had the first round of funding. We were ready to go.
And then Uber announced that they were going to be launching a dedicated courier service, starting with cycles, calling it “UberRush”.
It was pretty much exactly the same as our strategy. It was the way to go. I thought to myself at the time, if we are going to make it then we have less than two years. And that was being generous.
But UberRush turned out a bit flat, and was closed in March 2018. And we’re still here, almost ten years later. My slightly panicked “two years to make it” prediction has been well passed.
And in that time, we’ve seen competitors come and go, lasting a couple of years and then going the same way as UberRush. Yet here we are still.
I put that down to the fact we didn’t rush it. We did our homework and focused on where we could grow and make a discernible difference.
We looked at every possible part of the business, every stakeholder, and every place where we could add value. So have that laser focus, don’t rush and make sure you are all set.
And don’t panic. That window of opportunity is going to stay open longer than you think. If you are rushing it then you are going to be slamming it shut on yourself.
So breathe, do your homework, and only go when you are ready. That’s when you will see your business really fly.