Developing customized software is done to fit precisely into the specific needs of the company and the clients using or purchasing what is being offered. For startups, the customization and speed of this type of digital solution is particularly beneficial.
The beauty of startup culture is that companies are all different. This allows for tailored products, fantastic competition in quality and a rich entrepreneurial culture full of innovation and growth. Much like an ice cream shop, there’s a flavour for every taste. Much the same way, your business must offer the clients a tailored experience on your website and with your product that can be sold as an asset if you decide something didn't work, or a shift in direction renders something viable to be sold off. All markets shift towards occasional volatility, and great business plans are built around the value of not just product being offered, but the internal structure of the entire business.
Much like a home, it is more valuable when built upon a solid base with a good foundation with no holes or cracks. Custom code built for a company becomes a valuable asset since it can be changed and built upon if a company is sold or goes through a merger; there is no need to rebuild from scratch (usually a very costly process), and so custom software is considered a valuable asset the company can never lose.
The most frequent excuse most business startups give when they are in the beginning stages of picking software is cost worries. It is commonplace to hear reasons citing expenses and speed as the reasons off-the-shelf software is chosen over solutions that are custom built.
The quality of custom software should be an asset to your brand, not a deterrent in business. The downside of a rich entrepreneurial community is that there’s always going to be someone waiting to woo a displeased customer away. It's tempting to grab at a few different quick parts to purchase and hope they all end up working together, but what most often happens is a lumbering frankenstein of a software creation that is not only slow, but doesn’t encompass the company needs and the quickly turning wheels of business: the very thing that startups are known for, agility.
So what must you consider before you decide what is the best plan of action for your startup? Here are five tips to help you hone in on your needs and understand the difference between custom software and off-the-shelf solutions.
Identify your Business Needs
A well-planned business analysis is vital to identifying the organization’s business needs. For a startup, discovering the identity and necessary action plan is even more critical; the direction towards establishing oneself and one’s clients helps towards a clearcut path towards future success.
The build of each business looks different, but there are some important web application development solutions that must be a part of every good foundation, for example, a good user experience online and in-app is key to building out initial relationships between you and the customer.
A custom developed application that speaks to each unique challenge and need of your business can sometimes be the make or break of a startup. Most customers are demanding and fickle, and without starting off strong and fast, there’s no guarantee of success; your communication must be seamless and built for exactly what your product is and with a deep understanding of your customer base and their likes and dislikes.
Remember that you’re looking for your business to be ready to scale when it needs to, most off-the-shelf software is not capable of big leaps and bounds or hard shifts when necessary. A custom built software delivers better data security and unlimited possibility for updates and changes.
The Essential Guide to Custom Software
Learn about custom software, the costs involved, and the advantages for your business. Whether you have an app idea, or need software for your business.
Set Clear Requirements for your Software
Product envisioning, roadmapping and continued support is the invisible part of planning that is invaluable, and most businesses don’t realize how much the lack of it is hurting them until it's too late, or they need to start over.
Setting requirements for your business is actually the part that many entrepreneurs get stuck in. When you’re picking what you need, “everything” is not the answer. It’s easy to reeve off course and end up wasting valuable time and money to develop or buy something that doesn’t truly solve your problems, but many theoretical ones your startup may never even come across.
A foundation of clear requirements is a must to start. One of the reasons custom software is so popular with startups is that beyond building out a project, a good software company will have a project manager who will work with the company to develop and guide a game-plan without steering off course. That way money wasting testing and distractions are avoided, often saving money.
Start testing at an early stage
Test, test, and then test again. Those are the three golden rules to saving time, resources, and getting to the market early and in stride.
Do not wait to test until something is completed or close to being done. The faster you can spot potential roadblocks or glitches in code, the better. Likewise, testing with clients gives you the opportunity to pivot and shift direction if you notice a test group is not happy with the product, or offers a better, more aligned direction in which you should go.
Testing your software over the many stages before completion puts the vision of development in the control of the people who will be using it, your customers, and the challenges of faulty or unfitting code to be tackled and resolved much quicker than if something has been built with it. Like with a sweater, it is easier (and cheaper) to stop weaving and rethink the strategy before moving forward, than to unravel the whole piece and start over.
Look into Agile Software Development
Have you ever heard of the term “fail fast”? Every company will have roadblocks and issues in their process, but the key to success is to get over those failures as quickly as possible.
This all goes back to testing. Imagine you know there’s a hole in the market for a product you can fill. Your product will be the first of its kind once it goes live. You’re worried there are others like you who noticed the hole and are also racing to get a product out. What do you do?
Your top priority is to be the first with the product to the market with one or two core functions of the product. It’s best to get something out that has the sufficient (minimal) amount of features to be released to early adopters. This is called the MVP (minimal viable product).
The agile way of software development is perfect to bring quick results and good working products. The collaborative style of developing software allows for a speedy completion that doesn’t cut corners on quality. You can send your product out in increments (with fully working, well-built code) before the entirety of the project is fully completed. This allows for faster growth on the market, but more importantly, the ability to start testing early, using the guidance of testing and early customer feedback to develop, improve, trim, and guide the production of the rest of the project.
The result? You’re the first company to market, sometimes termed “first mover advantage”. Your users are much more likely to continue using and like your product because it’s already been tested upon and improved. Additionally, companies who are first to market tend to be seen as better quality and more reliable overall.
Consider hiring a professional Software Development Service
Startups are highly competitive, colourful and demanding. It’s easy to get caught up in the frenzy of ideas and often hard to keep on track. A professional software development service is everything you need in a partner. You’re dealing with marketing, sales, client support, investor meetings, design, customers, supply chains and more.
A company hired to build out your software partners with you for much more than just coding out a website; you’re getting support and guidance from professionals who have been in the field for years, with invaluable tips and directions. A good software company will work with you, not for you. It will help guide the vision, design, speed and smooth integration, which in turn will help ease friction in areas like sales and marketing.
The Konverge process is meant to ease your workload and stress in every way. We take your idea and help shape it into the success it has the potential to become. From concept to completion, security and beyond, our company has over 25 years of experience in leveraging technology to help companies meet their directives.
If you're ready to see how Konverge can help your startup with it's custom software efforts, then fill out the form below for a free consultation.