If launching a startup has graced your list of new year’s resolutions, you’re likely in the process of scavenging for a million-dollar idea. Maybe you’ve entertained the idea of debuting a freelance writing business. Perhaps putting your professional weight behind a food delivery service or a pet grooming facility has crossed your mind. Or maybe your creative juices have run dry, and you’re not sure where to turn in your entrepreneurial pursuits. In which case, building software products as a startup might be the path for you.
While kickstarting a software startup boasts ultimate scalability and ease in setup, many companies don’t last long. For that reason, see the valuable tips compiled below that can contribute to your success.
Take advantage of outsourcing
Outsourcing sometimes gets a bad rap. After all, offloading your essential tasks can be challenging, especially if you don’t trust that the people you hire will perform at the required level when they’re not part of your own business. However, the strategic application of outsourcing may be what makes (or breaks) your business.
The reality is that as a startup, your business has limited resources. With this deficiency in manpower in mind, you’ll need to ask yourself: is it more cost and time-effective to hire a full-time dedicated QA expert or instead partner with an experienced software testing company on an as-needed basis?
Don’t underestimate social supports
The devil perched on your shoulder may nag you to do all the work yourself, especially when you’re getting your startup off the ground. But in any business, to put it simply, you need helping hands. Networking will get you far in any field. Obtaining funding, spreading the word about your business to new customers, and learning about emerging software trends in your niche are just some of the benefits of making networking a priority.
Furthermore, don’t be afraid to delegate work out to other people. Your first few employees should be generalists who can help you with as many aspects of the business as possible. After all, employees’ salaries can bite off a massive chunk of your monthly spending budget.
Thoroughly validate your product idea
You want to make sure you know your niche. The ability to do so will mean your software will address the needs of a specific target market you know inside and out. It’s not a bad thing to be specialized when you begin because expansion builds on a solid foundation. Nationwide businesses can be traced back to humble beginnings in a single city. Therefore, you’ll need to pay your dues and accomplish a relatively narrow goal to establish yourself as an expert–rather than a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none.
Specialization doesn’t necessarily mean your idea needs to be exceedingly complicated, either. Simplicity is much, much easier to implement. You might consider building low- or no-code prototypes just to gauge what potential customers think of the user experience. People need to not only agree that there is a need for your software but also be willing to pay for the final product.
Consciously adopt business-oriented thinking
It’s an unfortunate truth that talent alone does not make a successful startup. Talent combined with business savvy is much more likely to make it past infancy.
In your startup journey, acquiring funding sources, hiring quality employees, and making everyday practical decisions will either fall on your plate or on that of someone whom you trust to handle the business side of things. Your priorities should reflect that your business is more than your product itself.
Leverage state-of-the-art business intelligence tools
As you make these business decisions, bear in mind that they can only be solid if your supporting data is solid. Business intelligence tools like Tableau come in handy when compiling data. Tableau is an indispensable data visualization software that makes it easy to analyze the numbers driving your business accurately.
It may be true that not everyone can be a data expert, but using the appropriate tools is at least a step in the right direction. Business intelligence software should be a tool in any business’s arsenal as the basis of informed choices.
Thoughtfully determine where and how to sell your software
Brushing up on relevant data trends whirring around your software startup is crucial. Without this industry knowledge, you won’t be able to confront the issue of how and where to sell your product. Along with studying top trends, you’ll need to weigh the various logistical factors, such as where your physical office should be located (if one is needed) or whether you should invest in your website versus selling through an existing software marketplace.
If you choose to invest in a website, another component of selling your software is finding the most effective marketing strategies. For example, though you may not initially have a full-time marketing employee, you can still utilize SEO techniques to better reach your customers.
Constantly innovate and anticipate shifts in trends
Your software will swiftly become obsolete if you’re not able to demonstrate adaptability and a keen eye for trends in software development. Recent years have seen a rapid shift toward remote work and modernized software, yet, as Forbes reported in February 2022, “more than 72% of IT resources [are] dedicated to the maintenance of legacy systems and backlog.”
Knowing of challenges like this will help you more effectively decide how to allocate your business’s resources. Though it may go without saying, informed decisions tend to be better in the long run than reactive ones.
A final word
For better or for worse, your software startup will demand much more of you than an interesting idea and some programming expertise. Keeping these tips in mind should help you maintain a healthy perspective on the bigger picture behind your small business.