52businesses: Learning to Go With It When You Start to Get Attention

Last week at 52businesses, we started out intending to spend Week 1 focusing on our internal business structures and marketing strategy. Unfortunately/fortunately, we were derailed pretty quickly. On Wednesday, we decided to pitch our first business at the inaugural Destination Hackathon. On Friday night, at the beginning of the hackathon, we pitched our first business idea Touracle — an app that allows users to curate tours of their city.  Luckily, a group of web developers, led by Gant Laborde, had a very similar idea and we were able to join forces.  By the end of the 48-hour Hackathon, our brilliant development team, dubbed Space Chicken (Gant Laborde, Bryan Joseph, Kurtis Rainbolt-Greene, Rob Caraway) had built a beautiful demo iOS app and website.  Check out our full blog about the Destination Hackathon weekend and Touracle HERE.


Touracle website


Touracle iOS app

Going into the demo presentation on Sunday afternoon, things looked great for the team.  Unfortunately, a technical snafu left Jason and Gant unexpectedly without visuals of either the app or site.  In spite of this major setback, our team took second place behind live streaming music app Herehear.com!

Our interns were complete superstars throughout the weekend, giving up every ounce of their free time to keep 52businesses rolling. Eric slept on the bus Saturday night, Sean headed straight to Bob after returning from his trip to New York for Venture For America, and Logan was at the Hackathon nearly the entire weekend.  (Greg had 3 exams coming up this week, so he wisely stayed in to study).

With the Hackathon in full force and the team toiling away, 52businesses began receiving more media attention than we expected. After our first post, a nola.com article, another nola.com article, and an Entrepreneur.com article all came out within a week.  Then, on Monday morning, Colin had the opportunity to present at New Orleans Entrepreneur Week with Gerard Ramos from Revelry.  We were honored to receive our first sponsorship from 365Connect.  The most exciting moment may have been when Thomas Morstead visited us, on Bob. Come by to see his signature on our ceiling, then add yours (and stay tuned for more exciting news.)


Thomas Morstead

Thomas Morstead with Bob and the 52businesses team.

As you might have guessed, with that whirlwind, 52businesses’ structure and marketing took a backseat.  But we’ve learned a lot about what we need to do going forward, particularly if 52businesses keeps growing.  Here are some of the important lessons we learned this week:

How to keep from drowning when business starts faster than expected:

1.  Delegate, delegate, delegate.  Even if you don’t have clear roles established for all team members, this is vital.  You’ll go crazy if you try to do it all.  More importantly, you’ll forget stuff.

2.  Put assignments in writing in a central location so everyone’s on the same page.  We use Asana.

3.  Office management is vital to success.  Even when your co-venturers are your friends, it’s necessary to set up policies to keep the office space clean, organized, and running like a well-oiled machine.  You don’t have time to be distracted playing “find the bad smell.”

4.  Schedule office walk-in hours (especially when your office is as awesome as Bob) to keep distractions minimal.  We want people to come visit us in Bob, but, that said, having an open door policy is leading to a lot of being spent on time transitioning between meeting, greeting and getting back on task.

5.  Make agendas for absolutely EVERY meeting.  Even the best of us tend to veer off-topic and when there’s more to discuss than you have time for, you’ll need something to keep you focused.

6.  Show everyone on your team, from the interns to the CEO, some love.  Working around the clock is hard, so make sure everyone feels appreciated.  It’s not only the right thing to do, it builds loyalty.

 – Maxwell Walters


We’d like to thank our sponsors for SBN’s involvement in New Orleans Entrepreneur Week: 365 ConnectFederated Sample, and Peer Partners. Want to be a sponsor? Email Julia@SiliconBayouNews.com! Startup Showcase 2014