As most of you know, we're currently in the midst of developing our newest version of Clover Sites, which has taken a lot longer to create than we originally intended.
Even though things are taking longer, one of the many good things that has happened over these last couple years of development, is that we've had time for introspection... Especially in regards to where we are headed as a company and brand.
The very first thing we ask ourselves when developing a new product is the simple question, "Who are we making this new product for?"
When we first asked that question in 2008, the answer was simple: Sandy, our church secretary. She would more than likely be using our product, and as a 60+ year-old church admin, she wasn't the most tech-savvy of people. This gave us a crystal-clear picture of our customer: A non-techie, non-designer, Christian church admin, who had the responsibility of maintaining a web presence for their church.
Over the past few years, we've been lucky enough to have a much more diverse group of customers then we ever planned... From developers to designers, small business owners, photographers, schools, and even musicians.
As our customer-base changed and expanded, we were compelled to open Clover up for more than the original church market. Daily we would get the question, "I'm not a church, but can I still use Clover?", which in turn led us to begin to be intentional about inviting different categories of the market into the Clover world.
Although this was probably the right move for our company at the time, we realized something after a while... That initial question of "who is this product for" began to get much more watered down. It became harder to say to the realtor or photographer that Clover was the best fit for them... We simply weren't. It also became much harder to communicate what Clover was all about.
Fast-forward to today.
We've asked ourselves this same question in the development of Clover Sites 3. And our clear answer is: The Church.
Ben and I created Clover as a resource for the Church. We created Clover because in 2008 most churches we knew were spending $10-20K to (hopefully) get a decent website. And even after spending that kind of money, they were often stuck with something unusable after their developer moved on. When we made Clover, we had no intentions of building a business. We were simply trying to provide something beautiful and helpful for the Church.
This next season of Clover will be intentionally devoted to equipping the church. It's kinda weird to say that we are "coming back" to our roots because we never really left… but in a way, that’s what it feels like. Now everything we are doing for Clover Sites, Clover Donations, and even Echo (our prayer manager app) will be more focused on the Church than ever before. It's so much more fun to be focused on lasting, Kingdom things, rather than just trying to be useful in a market. It’s where our hearts have been this entire time, but I think we haven’t always communicated it well.
I also get that the concept of a more "focused" direction internally might not mean that much to you guys... That's cool too. I think the effects of this focus will be fleshed out more and more with Clover over this next season.
When I started writing this blog post, I didn’t mean for it to be a manifesto. But I guess that’s kinda what it is. Our mission is to create world-class, industry-defining tools to help equip the Church. For those of you who want to engage in that mission, we hope you’ll come along with us.
And thanks for sticking with us as we've tried our best to navigate the church/tech world over these last 6 years. Hopefully the next are even better.