It's 2021, I always have a million ideas but my priority for this year is really to grow my Cheezus app and it's userbase. I thought putting all my goings on would be useful to someone in here, and if nothing else helps me order my processes and plans! Background: My wife and I were eating cheese, which is a typical events chez Jones, and my wife said "why isn't there a vivino for cheese?". Obviously, I am incapable of thinking about something without acting on it, so... I designed a rough idea for the basics of the app, from a UI perspective using Adobe XD and hit UpWork on the search to try and find someone to build it. Cue a long delivery time, but eventually we got to our V1. It's not perfect, the UI I'd like to change some things on, and I'd also like to have more images for the machine learning (we trained the app on about 10k images of cheese, which was about 10 cheeses) but that will hopefully all come... But, v1.0 was released and it's in both app stores. https://cheezus.co https://apps.apple.com/us/app/cheezus/id1501542846 https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=co.cheezusapp.cheezus&hl=en&gl=US Cost to this point: $1100 Business Model: The app currently is free with adsense banner at the bottom. This pulls in next to bugger all, but it's 1 stream regardless. In a B2C sense, each pairing on the app (e.g. fig and pear chutney is lovely with a brie) has the option on the back end for me to provide a sales link for each pairing, so I can link it to amazon affiliate links, or links from other producers (which is my aim, over amazon for sure). Amazon % is utter garbage, so the aim is to have a multitude of producers with link tracking enabled for links, so we can track the conversions and work out a % per sale/ click from Cheezus to them. There is a future option I'm looking at for producers of cheese (who were hit hugely last year due to the main cheese buyer - hospitality, not buying cheese!) to be able to do the same as the pairing producers in linking directly to their stores for customers to buy cheese. On top of this we have been exploring the above, but extended for subscription cheese boxes worldwide, using a fulfilment company (already spoken to) and producers sending directly to the fulfilment company and they send to customers. All this would be handled our side in the app. (a fair bit of dev work associated with this, so it's in the backlog right now). I spoke to the founder of vivino as well about pulling in wine data from an API and have it automatically populate a pairing for cheese based on the type of wine and flavour profile, which would link back to vivinos app/shop to buy. He said come back when I have 2500 users, so that's my aim. Other avenues include things like cheese boards, knifes and other cheesy accessories as options to purchase through our site/socials and app. Multi faceted, but not focusing on all of these up front. The rest of 2020: I let it slip really. I didn't focus a lot of time on building a community and this showed. I spent about $200 on advertising on app stores, which was useless to be honest with you. I got installs on android but then lost them just as fast with no feedback. This wasn't the way to build a brand and app community. I then got bogged down with my real job, and then got a new job that was working me 12hr days. I was tired and for once had no motivation for my own stuff. That changed when I took my time off in December and I built a plan. Cost to this point: $1700 + $1200 = $2900 (build costs, apple dev account, business creation in UK, adverts on FB, adverts on google play store, running website for a year + $1200 for running machine learning servers) Stats for 2020 (as of Dec): - Android Users: 94 - Apple Users: 178 - Facebook page likes: 1650 - Instagram follows: 622 - Number of Types of Cheeses: 242 - Twitter followers (haven't been using it tbh): 49 2021 Plans: My wife wanted to know why we spend 100 a month on Cheezus servers if I'm not doing anything meaningful with it, which is right. I got into a better space in Dec and whilst we don't have a zero budget, we have to justify those spends and put them in the right places for the board (my wife) to approve. GOALS: - Increase active users to 2500 - User aquisition means everything. Raising money? They want to see your user base growth. Want to build a community? Need users for that? Building a brand? Yep. Everything requires more people using your app, but as I quickly realised last year, this wasn't the way to do it just slapping a sponsor on the app store and hoping it works. I need the RIGHT users. This is a slower build, but it's more valuable. - Launch in other countries - The app is in English right now and so I would like to make it translated to Spanish, German and French for obvious reasons. This is a dev action, so need to weigh up the costs. - Partner with cheese producers, industry experts and artisan producers to start increasing pairings in the app - This is obviously only useful if we have customers and users, so comes back to increasing users as above. ACTIONS: I have started creating content on a Sunday and scheduling it out on Facebook and instagram at around a 3-4 posts a day mark. New cheeses we've had on the app, new pairings, custom branded questions for people to engage with the content etc. I started this last Sunday, I just did this weeks last night. I have joined 3 of the biggest cheese groups on FB and have started contributing to these, too. In the coming months Cheezus is going to be showcased on a cheese YT show, which will be cool, and I have another one I am targeting to see if we can get a spot on there too. With instagram, I have built up an OK group of Cheese influencers... yea I know, it's a thing. They have between 10-50k followers and really good engagement. I plan on reaching out to them to see if we can sponsor a post or showcase something with them. Since starting this properly this year in Jan, the numbers are now: - Android Users: 140 - Apple Users: 220 - Facebook page likes: 1780 - Instagram follows: 639 - Number of Types of Cheeses: 255 - Twitter followers (haven't been using it tbh): 49 (untouched as yet!) Engagement is up massively on social channels. Interactions and conversations are massively up and leading to some great conversations and growth. This has so far cost me $0 this year but obviously my time. I put in 2-3hrs last night on creating some nice Insta/FB story templates and some post templates too. I am spending odd bits throughout the day managing this and replying to posts, but not a huge amount due to work commitments. I will continue with this approach but look at automating twitter posts, and I have today started trying to utilise my templates for use on Linkedin as well to target producers etc. I have just also started a $100 campaign to get more page likes on facebook. I know I said spend isn't worth it like this, but that's for app downloads. Getting more people who like cheese to your cheesy page where you post a lot on cheese and then every now and then plug your app is different! I'm trying to keep costs right down. I'm going to find out what it'll cost me to get the app translated and also find out how I can get the current user base email addresses from our DB and create mailing lists on best pairings/ new cheese highlights and try to get people to use the app more as well who have it. This is where we're at right now. I'll keep posting my updates on where we are, how I'm doing each month. I'm open to questions on the process too. I'm no expert, just trying to do what I find works and learning as I go!