Working in the infrastructure sector is not for everyone.
I loved being a Quantity Surveyor, the projects were incredibly interesting but the almost inevitable “bun fight” at the end of any project would wear anyone down.
I founded Raildiary in 2016 after going through a particularly unpleasant construction claim and seeing it almost repeat itself project after project meant there had to be a better, more proactive way to use construction data.
Fast forward 5 years and Raildiary is now working in multiple countries, on projects worth over £1 billion with a fantastic core product and in-house team who built it from scratch.
Here are my 5 key lessons from 5 years of Raildiary….
1 - Celebrate every success
Understandably, productivity is a top priority for most businesses and individuals. It’s typical for many people to accomplish a goal and then move on to the next. This approach can work in the short term but can eventually lead to burn out, dissatisfaction and lack of motivation if not checked. Even success can be uninspiring when it’s not acknowledged.
Celebrating every win can prevent that! Acknowledging your success can fuel motivation to keep pushing forward. It can evoke a more positive attitude about your tasks and help you and the whole team become more aligned with your goals.
2 - Patience is key
In order to build a successful business, you have to hustle and be somewhat persistent. Impatience, unsurprisingly, is a common byproduct of the entrepreneurial mindset.
I know that I certainly used to fall into this category. It was only after two or three years of running Raildiary that I came to realise that in business, patience truly is a virtue.
Impatience is self-sabotage.
When you jump to a hasty conclusion, you end up creating an artificial timeline in your mind. When people or processes fail to align to that timeline, the mind can run wild.
You begin to question the motives and intentions of the people on the other side of the equation and put forth ultimatums that may or may not be considered reasonable.
When in fact, all good things take time!
3 - You can't do it alone
The biggest factor in our first ever investment round was actually the strength of our team!
You can have the best ideas, the most funding but without the team to execute it then its nothing more than a vision.
“Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard.”
And successful implementation is all dependent on the team. It does not matter how great the idea is if they cannot pull it through. Actually, it often is better to have just a “good enough” idea and a great (or promising) team as a starting point than the opposite.
4 - Listen to your customers
"If I asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses."
While Henry Ford probably never said this, the quote is often cited to support the idea that innovators create new markets and solutions that people don't even realise they want.
As an entrepreneur, you have to lead, but sometimes you have to listen as well. And you won't know when to do which if you never hear what your customers are saying.
Feedback, both positive and negative, is essential to the success of any business. It allows you to understand pinch points in your product that need to be urgently addressed and also allows you to evangelise the promoters to continue the organic growth of your business.
The most important thing for startups to do is to focus, because there are so many things you could be doing. One of them is the most important. You should be doing that. And not any of the others."
5 - Focus is fundamental to success
Never has the phrase “Jack of all trades, master of none” been more appropriate than when launching a SaaS business. The temptation to solve every problem is constant, you see opportunities everywhere but with limited resources and time there is a risk that you can spread yourself too thinly.
That's why at Raildiary we focus on one thing and one thing only, the collection and analysis of site data in the rail industry.
We get up in the morning thinking about site reporting and we go to bed at night still thinking about site reporting. Being focused on one thing allows you add the most value and become the best that you can be in that area.
In conclusion, the Raildiary platform has had a significant impact on the rail industry over the past five years. As the article highlights, there are several key lessons that can be learned from the success of the platform.
Another important lesson from Raildiary's success is the value of data-driven insights and analysis. By providing access to data and analytics tools.
The article also highlights the importance of flexibility and adaptability in the rail industry. Raildiary has been able to adapt to changing industry trends and customer needs over the past five years, demonstrating the importance of being able to pivot and adjust strategies in response to changing circumstances.
Another key lesson from Raildiary's success is the value of partnerships and collaborations. By partnering with other organizations and companies in the rail industry, Raildiary has been able to expand its reach and impact, and provide even greater value to its users.
Finally, the article emphasizes the importance of continuous improvement and innovation in the rail industry. Raildiary has been able to stay ahead of the curve by constantly seeking out new ideas and approaches, and leveraging the latest technologies to provide cutting-edge solutions for rail operators and professionals.
Overall, the success of Raildiary over the past five years demonstrates the value of collaboration, data-driven insights, flexibility, partnerships, and continuous innovation in driving progress in the rail industry. By continuing to prioritize these key principles, Raildiary is well-positioned to continue making a positive impact on the industry in the years to come.