Hey it's me again, Sophie, your friendly diffabled CEO entrepreneur.
As a new fledgling of Fintech Wales and Welsh ICE I am enjoying the experience of meeting my new co-members, usually other entrepreneur extraordinaires.
Setting up a business as a sole entrepreneur can be quite a lonely task at times. Where in the past I could send a quick 'Teams' message to bounce an idea with one of my colleagues, Now... it's just me.
Yesterday, I went to meet with Adrian Defta from prove IT solutions, following his generous offer of a no-cost tech consultation on my minimal viable product. With quite the career in software development, project management and innovation I knew Adrian would have plenty to teach me and was very grateful for his time.
It started well. I found a decent disabled parking spot close to the the venue and managed to grab myself and Adrian a cuppa from Waterloo tea on the way.
Then came my 1st big barrier. The intercom.
When I pressed the button who would answer? Would they know me? I was a new member to FinTech Wales. Would they question me? What information did I need to give to reduce the amount of time spent talking at a wall in a market arcade in central Cardiff, with an audience of coffee coinseeurs and people watchers.
I used all my coping strategies. I challenged my negative self talk in the moment. I felt the fear and did it anyway.. with preperation of course. So, I rehearsed a little speech in my mind.
'Hi it's Sophie, from Thinkedi. I'm a new member of Fintech Wales and Im here to meet Adrian Defta.'
I practiced in my head three times before deciding that raising my intonation at the end would seem less rude. Then, pushing through the neurodiverse anxiety of having to speak to three lines on a digital box on the wall that had no facial expression for me to try to interpret it's meaning, I pressed the button.
After 20 seconds of a buzzing that somewhat echoed on in my autistic mind, there was a reply and before I could speak... 'Hi Sophie, come on up!' Oliver who had onboarded me answered.
I cannot explain the sense of belonging and rush of excitement I felt in that moment.
Such a small thing to do to say someone's name and welcome them. Yet it was such a big and inclusive thing to me. (Thanks Ollie)
Ollie met me at the office doors and introduced me to Tiff and the office Donkey (pics please Tiff) who is possibly yet to be named.
Next, over an Oatmeal flat white and to the backdrip of Fintech Wales's rather trendy boardroom, I met with Adrian. Whose insights did not disappoint.
Adrian absolutely grilled me on my user case and their pain points. Did I really understand their problems? What was the core problem they are facing? How many people are facing this problem? And how was I going to solve it?
Then I showed him my minimum viable product plans, which Adrian brutally picked apart, in the best way, followed by two vital concepts which I will never forget.
Expose yourself to criticism - which I'll discuss more in depth in my next blog...and
Keep it simple, keep it small. Solve the problem. That's all you need to do.
It was like a weight had been lifted. There and then in the meeting I started deleting branches from my flowcharts. I don't need to build something that does everything right now. Even my MVP was too big. I just need to solve the problem and focus on the small things.
The inclusion I experienced at Fintechwales, meant I went into that meeting more regulated and ready to absorb Adrian's wisdom.
Yesterday felt like a day of really appreciating the difference small things can make.
I urge you to see what 'small things' can you do today. They WILL make a difference, even if no one tells you right away.
Also, if you're starting a business - Do join a community!
If you're in South Wales I highly recommend Welsh Ice, and of course Fintech Wales.
You can also find Adrian Defta on linked in if you want honest feedback and confidence on how to reach the next level in your business plans.
Have a great week all! :)