Each week, we seek expert advice to help a small or medium-sized business overcome a key issue.
WineAlign, a Web-based business that helps oenophiles select the perfect wine for any occasion, has spent $511,000 in software development fees since starting up in 2008. “And that’s just development,” says founder Bryan McCaw. “Not testing, quality assurance or anything else. The total is probably double that.”
That’s a lot of money for a company of five full-time people. Worse, Mr. McCaw thinks he’s still falling behind because technology is evolving so fast.
“We all know that the future is mobile,” he says. “But we’re behind. We’re late to the game.”
WineAlign, which is based in Toronto, has a stable of respected wine critics who review wines as they come into stores in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia. Users enter their postal codes and price point and indicate whether they want a red or white. A list of choices at the nearest store comes up immediately.
Registering gives users access to reviews. Those who pay $40 a year for a subscription can see the reviews as soon as they are posted, rather than having to wait 60 days. In the past year, WineAlign had more than 1.5 million unique visitors to its site. It has done a good job with searchengine optimization and has a high profile on Google, Mr. McCaw says.