12 lessons learned from 1 year in business

Engine B - November 2nd, 2020

Engine B - 1 year in business

Regulation is a driver for innovation

In the world of audit, regulators are pushing to open the market to greater competition to increase the quality of services. These regulatory drivers mean the audit industry must change to provide digitised services to clients. These regulations have been a key inspiration for Engine B and continue to help us shape the future of digital audit. Shamus Rae, CEO and Co-Founder

It’s not just about the technology, it's about changing mindsets and behaviours

Digital technologies provide possibilities for efficiency gains, cost savings and better customer experience. However, your audience also needs to have the right mindset and willingness to move forward for your product to succeed. Values and beliefs largely determine how people behave whilst technology helps to shape behaviour by how it can be used. Engine B recognised early in its journey that the key to unlocking the value of our Common Data Model for Audit wasn’t just in shouting about the features of the technology itself, but by consistently demonstrating just how much professional services leaders and their clients can gain from new and transformational ways of working. CTO, David Heard

Your partners help to propel your business forward

Our many partnerships, including with Microsoft, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), thirteen audit firms, and the University of Oxford, to name a few, have helped to sow the seeds for future development, add credibility to what we do and strengthen our brand. The foundations of these partnerships are based upon an equal contribution of energy and zeal by all involved - hopefully helping us to flourish for years to come! Shamus Rae, CEO and Co-Founder

Don’t try to predict what your buyers want

“If you build it, they will come” doesn’t hold for technology products. Getting something out into users’ hands quickly to test and improve is far better than trying to predict exactly what will work and releasing it all in one big bang. Getting one target market right and the positioning correct is more valuable than running after all potential markets at once and diluting your message and value proposition as a result. Jaume Mora Pedros, Head of product

Regular communication with your audience is key

Working for a technology-based startup teaches you the importance of effective, company-wide and timely communication, which plays a strong role in enabling people to stay on top of every small and big detail of the company. That’s why it’s so important to keep the wider Engine B team up to speed on marketing communications and ask them all to share content. Startups cannot afford to miss out on fostering a strategic and transparent collaboration system across the company. We are all marketers for Engine B! Lindsay Ross, Marketing and Communications Manager

Build a personality around your brand

In a startup, we tend to focus on spreading the word on products as quickly as possible. We often forget that as a new company, creating a personality for your brand is as important. Showing your followers the inner workings of your company gives them a peek into a world they can only imagine. We like to mix up fun social posts with spokesperson and product videos. Engine B’ers have helped to humanise the Engine B brand, making it easier for people to connect. Georgie Jones, Programme Executive

Focus on meaningful marketing and doing a few things well

Working in a young business feels crammed full of limitless opportunities. The possibilities to help shape the company, create brand recognition and contribute to business success are endless! There are so many ideas from different people, partners and colleagues, and so many things to do. This can seem overwhelming. The key is to choose 2-3 key projects and do them well. Focussing in on the most-value added quick-win projects that will deliver impact swiftly, helps you focus on quality, not quantity. Lindsay Ross, Marketing and Communications Manager

A flat hierarchy fosters creativity

To have a truly creative team, you need to have a flat hierarchy and structure. Creativity will be quelled if people feel they can’t openly share their thoughts and ideas with others in the team. When approaching new projects, it’s good to involve all the creative professionals in your company, rather than create a limited project team with a few individuals. Donne Burrows, COO and Co-Founder

Keep a flexible mindset

Working with new projects, especially if they’re centred around the end-user experience, is an opportunity to practice flexibility. Understand that projects will take turns throughout the process and the way you respond and adapt to those turns will determine the outcome. Keeping a flexible mindset will allow you to adapt to the needs of the project. Pierre Pauly, Full Stack Developer

Don’t underestimate the importance of a great user experience

In recent years, the landscape of software products has become very competitive, and now businesses must hear what users say about the user interface. Today’s users just aren’t accepting products with a sub-optimal user interface. ‘Under the bonnet’ of Engine B’s Audit Common Data Model and Knowledge Graphs are immensely powerful, users of our solutions need a simple and user-friendly interface. Our user interface is designed to be accessible, simple to use and to support our customers in getting the job done. Pierre Pauly, Full Stack Developer

Too many acronyms can alienate your audience

Abbreviations are all too common in technology companies and sometimes we forget that not everyone, understands what they mean – internally and externally! Early on at Engine B, we recognised the confusion acronyms can cause and created an acronym glossary on Microsoft Teams. This helps us all work from a common language and eliminates confusion. Our acronym glossary has been especially useful for new Engine B’ers! Similarly, we are mindful when creating customer-facing content to spell out what we mean. Andy Newnham, Eco-System Manager

 Celebrate the small wins

When you’re so focused on the peak of the mountain, it’s easy to lose sight of how far you’ve come. The art of celebrating small wins isn’t about setting smaller goals. At Engine B we have a weekly company-wide meeting where we all take it in turns to share 3 key projects we are working on. This helps to foster a sense of belonging and also means we don’t miss out on opportunities we might not have heard of otherwise! Similarly, we find the milestones that are worthy of celebration. Just like our 1st Birthday in November 2020! Happy Birthday, Engine B! Shamus Rae, CEO and Co-Founder

For more information on Engine B’s Audit Common Data Model and Knowledge Graphs, watch our demonstration video.