No Battle Plan Survives, but Your Startup Still Needs Conceptual Development and Careful Planning

Chad Jackson

Chad Jackson is hoping to breathe life into emails with Sendicate, an email app that brings together simplicity and design to simply send emails to people who matter. Over 2 million emails have been sent with the app during the last three months of closed beta testing. Sendicate is taking advantage of the momentum and is gearing up for launch soon (the date is not public yet). Chad, although strapped for time, wants to share how he has created success for Sendicate as a Startup Founder. Chad advocates that other startup founders have a thorough conceptual development stage and a careful planning process.

Creating Sendicate

Chad founded Sendicate because he noticed that although virtually every business person has email at their fingertips, they do not use it effectively. Part of the reason why emails aren’t reaching their potential is because of code and compatibility issues. If you want to create a simple, well designed email you have to know how the coding is going to work and what the finished project will look like on different browsers. If you start to worry about design time is taken out of the content creation flow. Sendicate streamlines the work flow so that email writers can focus on content creation. Chad says, “When you are sending an email, you want to be able to focus on sending.”

Chad’s idea was to create a content management system that is a fast as other publishing tools, but creates beautifully designed emails that are effective for the end-user. It has been his strategy to focus on the end-user, email readers. Chad says, “I want to empower business people with the ability to delight customers who see emails. Email is an incredibly unutilized tool and can be a secret weapon for business.”

Chad Jackson, Sendicate

Chad Jackson, Founder and CEO of Sendicate, giving a presentation at a recent Brooklyn Tech Meetup.

Thorough Conceptual Development Stage

Chad likes to be in control and wanted to shy away from the develop quick and launch strategy of many other startup founders. Instead he says, “Let’s not put something out there and see how it goes.” However, he is still flexible and open to new ideas and pivots later down the road.

Chad and his team spent months on product mock-ups focusing on simplicity and usability before ever developing code. They had a lengthy conceptual development stage for a number of reasons:

  • It’s easier to change a mock-up then it is to change coding
  • Fast iteration, using tools like InDesign and Photoshop help the design process because they are much quicker and facilitate creativity
  • Its a great time to explore what the product should be and the direction the team will take

Sticking to the Plan

Chad created a detailed plan of action after Sendicate’s conceptual development stage. As a result Sendicate hasn’t come across many of the typical problems startups have such as downtime or lost data. “Thorough planning makes all the difference. But, no matter how prepared we are now, we still have to deal with unforeseen problems in the future.” Chad says.

Keeping focus on goals requires more than just a well thought out plan. “Sticking to a plan is just like a diet, it requires the focus, determination and willpower to ignore influences. There were so many interesting ideas and paths we could have taken. We have benefited from sticking to the plan.”

Opportunities, like new features, can be a distraction from the plan. As an entrepreneur, it’s hard not to think about better ideas, even when a pivot isn’t necessary. Chad says, “You have to remind yourself what the original focus was or you will go around in circles with details, ideas, and features you could include.”

Chad is well prepared but stays realistic and knows that no matter how prepared he is there will be problems to mitigate when Sendicate launches. He says he will meet unforeseen issues head on and is inspired by Moltke the Elder, legendary war strategist and commander. Moltke is famous for the quote and philosophy that “No battle plan survives contact with the enemy.”

Chad has a great philosophy for running a startup. His advice to have a thorough concept development stage and stick to a plan is preparing him to launch and deal with all of the new challenges it will bring.

As a startup founder did you have a conceptual development stage? Do you think it was helpful? How do you stick to your business plan? Leave a comment below and let us know!

Want to learn more about @sendicate?  Connect with Chad on Twitter @chadyj

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