When building software products for a startup, businesses need to understand all of the different challenges they’ll come across. Small business owners are often under pressure from investors and competitors to release a new solution that will either help drive growth or demonstrate a unique selling point.
Often when entrepreneurs come up with their business idea, they believe that developing a product is just a matter of putting together different blocks, but it isn't as easy as that. Building software often involves making assumptions about how customers will use it and what they need or want out of it. Sometimes, this can end up like the blind leading the blind – especially if you're a startup with limited resources and development time to shape your product into something that people will actually use, let alone pay for.
Creating a vague product roadmap
Before building a solution, there needs to be some research done on the market and user opinions in order to get an idea about what problems should be solved with the proposed solutions. A product roadmap shouldn't only focus on the immediate solution but needs to also look to the future.
If this research had been done correctly, then it'd reduce the risk that the final solution doesn't meet users' expectations. When building custom-made software solutions, you have to think ahead because you never know who’ll eventually become your customer or their needs at that particular stage in their business development.
Having a clear roadmap isn't an unusual challenge when you're building custom-made software solutions. Each product strategy should have well-thought-out milestones to better manage over time. By having a clearly defined roadmap, developers can address any gaps identified in a timely manner, which helps to save rework, time, and money in the long run.
Choosing the wrong development tools
Choosing the wrong tool upfront can lead to many future problems that can drain time and money when building custom software solutions. Companies should know what to look for in a development tool to avoid these pitfalls when building custom-made products. Knowing this information can help developers execute their jobs more effectively so they can anticipate any issues before they arise during the project lifecycle.
While choosing the right development tools isn't a perfect science, there are some key factors you need to consider when evaluating your options:
- Unique features that are important to the product, including integrations with other tools if they're needed for your product.
- An active community of users who can provide support and help drive development. How popular it is or how fast it's growing among developers.
- The availability of updates, bug fixes and security patches so you have no worries about being on an obsolete version on release day.
- If you lack experience in building software, it's helpful to partner with a company that knows the best solutions for specific projects.
Building an application with no market demand
If you aren't able to get users on your product, it can quickly kill any chance of success. Ideally, you want to have beta testers and lots of them before you release it into the wild.
It's important to understand what the market is looking for as it doesn't matter how great your idea is, if you have no one interested in using your solution. Market research is a great way to figure out the big problems and how you can solve them.
In addition, it's also important to have a product that people want - not just something they'll use because there isn't anything better available on the market. Even if your software is the best solution on the market, users won't stick around if they don't like it or if it isn't easy to use.
Prioritizing one-off software development instead of a long-term product lifecycle
Your customers need to feel like the solution you offer is one of a kind. They shouldn't be able to get the same thing from multiple providers, which is why your software must come with features that can set you apart from the competition.
While building a complex product from scratch is time-consuming and expensive, it can pay off in the long run. High-quality custom software development takes a lot of effort and time, but it could be what separates your business from competitors in the long term.
You need to plan for ongoing updates and maintenance with any software project. As new technologies evolve, you need to be able to work with them or risk being left behind by the competition. In addition, as users find bugs and issues that need to be resolved, patches and new software releases need to be accommodated.
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Ignoring the design phase
First impressions matter -- a lot -- so make sure everything is polished for launch day. You won't get a second chance at a first impression once users start using the product or service.
Any software project has to take the design phase into account. A bad design will result in a poor user experience, making your users less likely to use the product you are providing them.
The most serious mistake is not thinking about it at all. You can’t just start building aspects of your web presence without thinking about what they say about your company or how they fit together for visitors who have multiple sources of information about you. Companies need to plan for an overall look and feel representing their brand image while also figuring out how this design will be applied across multiple touchpoints with customers.
Hiring the wrong developers or team
You may not know what skills or experience you'll need on your team if it's your first time creating software. While most coders are competent in a range of tasks, you might simply require specialty or skill on your staff that the average developer lacks - or at least ones who you've sourced for your project.
You should also be aware of how complex a challenge the project is going to be before starting. Finding someone with experience building custom software that meets all of your needs can be difficult. But partnering with an agency to develop your idea, as opposed to doing it yourself, will save time and money in the long run and help bring revenue generation sooner than if you'd done it all alone.
How Konverge can Help you conquer these Challenges
Over 28 years of experience, that's how. Konverge has been a trusted custom software partner for firms of all sizes, and we know what it's like to build a startup.
There is no challenge we aren't willing to take on, and we're available at any stage, from prototyping to patching and bug fixing your existing app. Fill out the form below for a consultation and see how Konverge can help you conquer the challenges in building custom software.