Diary of a start-up week 4: entertainthekids.com

Kirsty McGregor on the final tweaks to her website, doubts caused by TV shows and a bit of light relief

Startups.co.uk is tracking the progress of Kirsty McGregor as she sets up entertainthekids.com, an online resource for parents or carers looking for inspiration on how to keep children occupied. You can read her diary entries each week on Startups.co.uk.

Had a nice break in Dublin over the weekend for Gregg’s birthday. But somehow it seems worse when you’re not working, because you have so much in your head that you want to sort, that it’s really hard to relax. Knew I should’ve taken my computer with me!

So it’s quite strange, and very unnerving, that after all this time of designing and fine-tuning the site, we are now at the stage of final amends.

Our web programmer is on holiday for virtually all of December, and as we need the site to be fully operational and available to be reviewed by our focus groups from January, we effectively have about two weeks left! Eeek!

We have been booked into his work schedule for this week, and we’ve had to get our final list of fixes and tweaks over to him at the start of the week. This was quite disconcerting, as we are under pressure to make sure we have covered everything in this list, once and for all!

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been noticing various things on the site, and having ideas by the dozen, and I’ve been trying to keep a note of them in one place, so that when we put this final list of changes to him, we don’t forget anything.

For example, I did the initial draft copy weeks ago, and since I read a book about how I should really be writing it, I’ve been meaning to have another bash at it.

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But now I know how important it is, I’ve been nervous about the redrafting, and I’ve managed to find other things to do instead for weeks!

However, I finally got that done and over to him today. I think it’s much better, but I really need to see it on the site before I can tell how it looks. I suppose we can use the focus groups/preview evenings to advise us and change it again if necessary, before we launch in March.

Had a very productive meeting on Tuesday with our mentor, really think we have made the best choice for a mentor. We’ll really get some good value from him because he fills in all the gaps in our skill base.

Have been watching two shows on TV about start-ups, Make me a Million (C4) and Dragon’s Den (BBC2). When you see some of the other businesses you inevitably begin to compare yourself to them, and I find this even extends to me in my everyday life.

I look at haulage trucks on the motorway, or shops in the high street, and think, well if they can make a business work with all their overheads, then surely we can.

I keep looking for any weaknesses in our business, anything at all that might mean we fail. But I can’t find anything. And so I have faith. And then I wobble. And then I have undoubted faith! Is that normal?

Had a really progressive couple of days towards the end of the week too. Mainly about finalising designs for various pieces of print and promotional products we need, paying bills (yuk!) and sorting the final bits of the Worldpay application so we’ll be able to take credit cards online.

Worldpay aren’t the cheapest merchant account on the market, but I view them as a really respected and credible brand, and until we have our own brand, I really feel that we need to use other well-known brands that give us that credibility.

Longer term we may change to another provider if we find that it more economic, but it’s a decision that’s been taken for wider commercial reasons at the moment.

We have heard that the MEN Venture Awards will be decided on 7 December, and we should know the results shortly afterwards. But in the meantime we are meeting the Venturepoint team to go and have a look at their office space at Venture Space in the brand new massive business park in Manchester called Central Park (part of the prize for the winner!).

We are definitely going to use one of the rooms there for our Manchester preview evening in January. So the preview evenings are now all booked, and everything is more or less ordered for them. Now I just have to plan what I’m going to say and what we’re going to ask them!

We have also been collating the invite list, which is proving to be quite a mammoth task. Trying to ensure we target as many influential people as we can, so we can get their comments and start the ‘word of mouth’ process going.

We have also been in touch with the local childminders’ associations and children’s information services around Greater Manchester. They all deal with communications to their childminders in slightly different ways, and some will be easier to contact than others.

Obviously, because of data protection and privacy laws, we can’t be given the contact details of the childminders directly, so we are working with other agencies who may be able to inform them about these preview evenings.

Going to see Lee Evans tonight, for a bit of light relief!

Then next week, besides meeting with Venturepoint, I’ve also arranged to meet up with Jen our London Regional Manager again. Looking forward to updating her on everything that’s been going on and seeing how she’s doing.

Must get some more content entered…….! Grit teeth, head down and plough on!



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