So Long, N2Clic.
It's been almost 6 months now. Officially. Less in reality. There is so much to take care of in such a process. I'm still finishing up some paperwork.
I felt like it was time, though. Time to think back and try to draw lessons from closing the business I've been running for nearly 7 years.
It's a long time, 7 years. In fact, it's the longest I have been working for the same company. Ever. It is definitely with a pinch in my heart that I came to the decision of closing down my company, N2Clic Limited.
N2Clic was incorporated in 2013, but the journey started years before that. The farthest I can remember, my partner, Julien, and I, were discussing what business we would be creating when we were fruit-picking during the summers of our high school years.
We went our ways after high school and finally got serious about the business around 2010.
We started N2Clic as a small, side project in addition to our respective jobs. Things went slow but steady. In 2012, it was going well enough for us to decide to quit our jobs and focus on our web agency full time.
Fast forward 4 years and this is when we took the (harsh) decision to close shop.
A Good Run
Those years were awesome. I've learned so much about so many things.
When you run a small business all by yourself you're forced to do basically everything. It includes things that you may have absolutely no training for and that are far out of your comfort zone.
I can say for sure that this experience made me a better version of my former self. Both on a professional level and on a personal level. Indeed, when you're the one doing everything, it also means that you're the one responsible for every mistake. And there were a few. You learn to swallow your pride, admit your mistakes and figure out how to fix them.
Thanks to this experience, I have a more critical and more analytical way to look at things now.
On the company side, we had a good run. We served dozens of clients and the majority of them were very happy. Some even came back to us for multiple projects.
In our 7-ish years in business, we only fired one client. Now that I think about it, we should probably have fired a few others too. Learning when a business relationship needs to be ended is tough. It is harder to see the long-term gain than the immediate loss of income.
During all those years, both my partner and I learned a massive amount of skills, allowing us to expand our commercial offering and to deliver high-quality work. We started out as a very small shop with no name and ended up being in the "premium" tier of our industry.
I wanted a pixel perfect implementation of my designs and they really delivered up to my expectations. Julien is a master at WordPress and PHP in general. He is quick, personable and reliable [...] These guys rock!
Decline and the Tough Call
If everything was so good then why closing down? Well, everything was not so good.
To summarize the core of the reason, we were in a position where our business was stagnating. I have identified a number of key moments where we took the wrong decisions and that led us to this stagnant position.
The business was still afloat, but it was not satisfying. Two options became clear:
- Invest more money and a year or two to overcome the key mistakes that we made,
- Learn from our mistakes and move onto something new (and pass go and collect some cash in the process ;)
We agreed to go for option 2. Both Julien and I love learning new things and being challenged. This was an opportunity to start a new challenge without worrying about the money.
So we got started. We stopped taking on new projects, announced the big news to our existing customers and set to finish the current projects.
For a few years, we have also been running ThemeAvenue under the umbrella of N2Clic. ThemeAvenue was mostly distributing Awesome Support, a support plugin for WordPress.
After much debate, we decided to let ThemeAvenue / Awesome Support go as well. In the process, we learned another new thing: selling a business.
Awesome Support was pretty successful in and on itself so there was no way we could just abandon the project. We managed to find a successor pretty quickly and cashed in in the process. The project now continues to thrive (I might talk about this in another post) and gets all the attention it deserves.
I started working as the Head of Product and Business Development for a development company called Nimbl3 in November 2016.
If I can't tell what the future holds for me, what I can say for sure is that this company has great potential. I believe I joined the team at the right time. The company seems to be set for a pretty steady growth and they offered me a position that sets me pretty good for the future.
Also, they are very open to product ideas, which is something that I might want to take advantage of in the future.
One of the reasons why I decided to join Nimbl3 is that they focus on building very high quality. I'm not going to dive into details in this post, but I might write another piece about this company in a few weeks. If you need a top-notch web or mobile app, stay tuned ;)