Inside the web development industry, it is extremely common for client/vendor relationships to go south due to misunderstandings of changes, inability for both sides to communicate ultimate vision, and the inability to account for every variable that is not defined in the scope of work, but mentioned in passing conversation. This can lead to severe mistrust on both sides of the business relationship, with neither side wanting to go the extra mile. In my opinion, the core of this arises from a fear of being taken for a ride.
The Foundational Issue
For the client, frustration often comes because we’re literally speaking a different language, everything doesn’t work correctly until very late in a project, and simply because they are writing a check for something they can’t touch. So many have been burned in the past, their paranoia is legitimate, but in reality it ends up fulfilling...
I have a friend who always tells me his latest business idea. I’ve listened to dozens of his ideas at this point, and I can always tell what he’s actually thinking as he talks:
“This can make me a lot of money.”
Don’t get me wrong. I like money as much as the next person, and making money is absolutely the goal of business. But, over the years, I’ve realized that when you start by thinking, “How can I make a ton of money,” your idea probably isn’t going to get very far.
That’s not because it’s not a good idea or you’re not smart enough, connected enough, funded enough--or any of the hundred reasons we give for startup failure. It’s because when you’re reaching for ideas to make money, you’re probably going to look too far from your own experience.
“Write what you know” is common writing advice. The same concept can be applied to entrepreneurship:
Build what you know.
When you draw from...
You probably find it interesting that there are so few companies well known for doing good business. Not just having great prices, but fantastic customer service, going over what is expected and truly making every effort to stand out from the crowd.
While there are many reasons for the lack of this passion for excellence, in my opinion it boils down to a few key reasons.
Abuse of “The customer is always right”
Business owners generally embrace the idea of treating the customer like they are always right, even when they aren't. Over time, it becomes more and more difficult to let rude customers push for more than they pay for, under appreciate going the extra mile, and occasionally refuse to pay.
As this happens for years, going the extra mile and trying to treat all customers like they are truly special can become hard. Doing just the minimum just to justify price becomes the norm....
You might immediately think “Is he saying business is just gambling?” While business does require the confidence to take risk, it’s not about just having wild All-in moments. Actually being successful demands you make educated gambles.
Top Level Poker Analogy
So how does this relate to poker. Most people who haven’t played poker at a high level think all it takes to win is pure luck. Of course you can’t control the cards that come out, but you can control the ones you play. Once the flop comes, you then can calculate your odds of winning based on what you hit, draws, whether to bet and take down the pot, should you call, and most importantly what do you think the opponent is holding.
In business, the same kind of things should be considered. Should I spend X dollars on advertising, when to ask for a deal, who should I hire, does my competition have a real competitive advantage or are...
Let’s be real. It’s hard to design and develop a tech startup MVP. While at the same time determining revenue models and customer acquisition strategy just to get beta clients. In a previous post on intrapreneurship, we talked about how many major corporations are beginning to develop startups internally, rather than force team members to exit and take all the risk.
On the software development side of the table, we are actively looking for joint ventures to help accelerate intrapreneurship. As the Director of Startup Equity & Joint Ventures, a major part of my role here at DevDigital is looking for JVs that fit into our wheelhouse; while in the process of normal business development identify key opportunities to take an equity stake in startup concepts.
Why We View This As The Future Of Technology
Sure it’s great to have a lot of traditional clients. They certainly help pay the bills...
Until recently, employees with a great idea to solve an industry problem often were faced with having to leave their job to bootstrap a startup. While being experts in their field, most have never built a business from scratch, and get overwhelmed with all the hats required to grow a startup.
Thankfully, as acceptance of technology has grown, not to mention how quickly pivots need to be made, many corporations are starting to latch onto the concept of “intrapreneurship”. Helping their employees take an idea from start to finish and turn into a profitable business extension. This enables vital expertise and vision to be coupled with funding, potential clients, mentorship, and a plethora of other opportunities which make bootstrapped startup founders green with envy.
Now why is intrapreneurship so vital to company growth and longevity?
Well, it’s pretty simple...
First off, let me preface this by admitting every project is different. It is completely impossible to account for every possible variable. It is possible, however, to mitigate most issues by having a solid process in place. Ours has be developed over the years by trial and error, but the great thing about running into problems is it forces solutions to be created.
So without further ado, let’s dive into how we handle client projects after contracts are signed and the rubber meets the road.
Step One: Functional Specifications
The importance of functional specification documents are discussed in another post, and this is step one of our process. In our experience if you dive into design, or start writing code based on a few conversations, problems are destined to arise. By having brainstorming sessions to cover as many variables as possible, then actually writing them down formally in a...
Unless this is your fourth or fifth trip down the road of developing software, more than likely all the complexities that go into professional software development aren’t your areas of expertise. Don’t feel bad, you’re certainly not alone.
If your project is very small and simple e.g. a normal website, then it’s entirely possible to quickly determine a timeline and cost estimate. With larger projects, e.g. web and mobile applications, it’s much more difficult AND there will always be functionality nobody will think of until the project is underway.
So without further ado, let’s dive into one of the most essential pieces to a great development experience and a question you should have answered before choosing us or any development shop.
Question : When and how much do you charge to create a functional specification document?
Most companies of experience have a process in place to create...
Everyday a great idea crosses someones mind on how “if there was just an app that does X” it could revolutionize an industry, personal life, or just improve day to day existence. So many of these sparks of genius are never realized and no action is ever taken.
There are many reasons for this. It’s often very expensive to build just a prototype. Raising capital is extremely difficult and very time consuming. Most often, the individual with the idea isn’t a mobile or web application developer, designer, marketing strategist, sales professional, business model expert, CPA etc etc.
Each one of these niche professionals is vital to growing a successful company, whether it's a startup or an established business. Since there is a million to one chance you are an expert in all of these fields, it's extraordinarily important to make the right choices in who you partner with, hire, or gain...
On a daily basis business owners like you get phone calls from a company trying to sell a new website. Fancy terms like responsive, user permissions, API development, cron jobs, user engagement improvement, bounce rate, UI/UX, and so on are tossed out in an attempt to sound cutting edge.
More often than not, because of the bombardment of sales calls and the simple fact that an average business owner isn’t an expert in web design and development, most of this means absolutely nothing. Closing the deal if they happen to get in front of you comes down to price not value.
Is cost a major factor in decision making? Of course it is. But what most sales people in the industry don’t realize is the vast majority of business owners aren’t afraid to spend money, assuming there is justifiable ROI on the investment.
So without further beating around the bush, why is it important to have a...