So, you’ve had a great idea for a new software product, you’ve scribbled something down on paper and have a majority of the details in your head, and started coding – Right??
Not so fast!
” make sure that you do your homework first!”
All successful products (software is no exception) are based on the company/coders doing their homework first. Although, it’s boring and sometimes very frustrating, find out why people would buy or even use your product, and what it is they miss or find unhandy with the existing products. Don’t send out an email and ask people, ‘why’ – most people struggle at explaining things, but use a short to the point questionnaire, focusing on the core functionalities.
Also, make sure that you have fully understood what your competition offers, by producing a sheet of pros and cons of each product. You should generally find that a competitor’s product is better at certain things, and worse others. Try to read any customer reviews too, as these can be invaluable. Collecting these pieces of information should help you fine-tune your ideas about your new product. Remember: the key to a product’s success lies in “giving them what they want”, not what you think that they want.
After completing this phase, you can objectively see if there is a business case for your product.
Beginning the design
Great! You’ve decided that there is a business case.
Don’t start coding yet! Make sure that summarise the homework phase and use it to produce your product specifications and system architecture documentation. Get colleagues or peers to review that key concepts in order to see if you’ve missed something or if there is flaw in the concept.
Now for the exciting bit
You can now start coding! Try and split the design phase up into manageable chunks, and don’t be afraid to leave out features for your first release.
Try and build up relationships with prospective clients by showing them your progress (posting short videos to blogs are good), and listening to any feedback that they may have. The key here is building up your mailing list of prospective clients before you release.
Sometime later, you’ve gone through the Alpha and Beta testing and are now ready to show the world what you’ve done, and start earning some money for your endeavours.
Selling your product
Believe or not, this is actually the difficult bit!
Using the mailing list that you should have hopefully built up, you can email your prospective clients. Don’t just send one email and sit back, you need to be a little more proactive than that, and chase up leads. Remember, most people don’t care that you’ve created a new product or even share the same level of enthusiasm that you have. The solution: you need to convince them with examples, but how?
This is can get very tricky, as everybody hates receiving a, “hey, buy my stuff” email. The best advice here is don’t even mention price, focus on the ‘why’ question, i.e. just like your homework phase, why is this useful for solving their problems? Give practical examples (videos, whitepapers or even presentations) of how you can use your product in solving real world issues/problems – hopefully there will be some overlap with a problem that they’re currently facing, which arouses interest.
For many people, price becomes less important if the product solves their problem. However, money is money, and price is always important, so don’t be afraid to directly answer their question if they ask, “how much does it cost?”
If you hear, “It’s too expensive” , “let me think about it” or “I’ve haven’t had the time to look at it yet” then the client has their serious doubts, so the practical examples (case studies) are essential. However, don’t overdo it, and remain polite at all times, even if the client is being rude.
If these hints helped you, please click on like or leave a comment below.