Earlier this week, UtilityClick celebrated its 2nd birthday. We’ve been trading for the same length of time as your average mobile phone contract – but unlike the iPhone you’d have purchased at that time, our batteries are still going strong and we show no signs of slowing down!
It was only a week ago that I was counting the candles on my own birthday cake – and reached a number which is becoming increasingly daunting from year to year. But luckily for me, this annual milestone is followed three days later by the anniversary of our little software business. Two years ago, the birthday present to myself was a step towards independence and freedom. Breaking the chains of successful employment to venture out into the wide world of startup mentality, bean counting, non-half-hourly electricity contracts and 24-hour working. Come to think of it, that doesn’t really sound like much of a birthday present!
To anyone who has embarked on a similar journey, the phrase “blood, sweat and tears” takes on an entirely literal meaning. The combination of painfully (also literally) building Staples office furniture, driving for countless hours between prospective August meetings in your colleague’s no-air-con car and trying to understand pension auto-enrolment at 2 o’clock in the morning could well be enough for any budding startup-founder to reconsider his current flashy-car lifestyle. But in my still-limited experience, nowhere does “no-pain-no-gain” ring truer than when taking a startup from kitchen table to boardroom.
The UtilityClick of today stands taller and more sturdy than we ever dreamed it would at this point. We like to think that the trajectory we are on has been defined by the approach we’ve taken to our business and the values we engrained into ourselves from the first day we started jotting down a business plan. Transparency with our customers and our staff, collaborative software development and a no-nonsense approach in everything we do. Sounds easy, but it wasn’t (and isn’t!)
Looking back two years – we were standing outside our registered offices, celebrating our newly formed venture, drinking a can of beer from two UtilityClick-branded mugs; to a great extent naive about the challenges we would face. We were about to open Pandora’s box – and step away from our comfort zones and into the world of software development. This would inevitably mean a need to adapt. But we didn’t quite realise it would actually mean wearing just about every hat in the cloakroom, trying in earnest to make every one of them fit on demand. And when they didn’t – and this has been quite common – we were going to need to know who to ask for help, and more importantly – we’d need to be receptive to their advice.
I was always IT-savvy, but never did I think I would spend half of my time writing the very code which services our customers, designing graphics, optimising SEO or setting up cloud computing infrastructure. Despite our aspirations, never did I think we’d be blessed with such a strong subscription base of passionate customers just two years down the line. And never did I think we’d be lucky enough to build such an inspirational, happy and cohesive team which I am so pleased to work alongside. As we enter our third year, I’m delighted to say we’re moving to new offices, and we’ve hired more staff to fuel our growth.
So whilst I am not particularly happy about adding an extra candle to my own birthday cake, I’m proud to be able to blow out candle number 2 on the UtilityClick gateau.
A big thank you to all our customers, supporters, friends – and most importantly – family, for making UtilityClick what it is today.