The new normal has brought a wave of new business opportunities. The need to continue operating business models that traditionally were face-to-face, has generated endless ideas that seek to break through the arduous path of entrepreneurship.
In the last few weeks I have noticed a considerable increase in the number of requests that I receive for the quotation of digital products that seek to break into the technology market and, although some ideas are very good, in most cases a peculiar situation arises: The project specifications are based on what any given app of a unicorn startup does.
Generally speaking we believe that to undertake in the digital world you must know how to program. However, it is possible to launch your digital product without having knowledge of programming if you rely on technology consultants who help you define the technical requirements of your product. If you have a business idea and you are right in the previous scenario, I have some points for you to consider in order to advance your idea.
DO NOT SEEK TO QUOTE A WHOLE PROJECT IF YOU ARE NOT CLEAR HOW IT WILL WORK
The first wrong step is trying to find out “how much the entire project will cost.” Why? Because a technological entrepreneurship project is not something that has an end point. This implies a paradigm shift in the way a traditional business works. You can visualize it this way: You have come to this point of search for innovation because the traditional version of the sector you are looking to break into has remained unchanged for years. This is precisely what makes a hairpin turn necessary and opens the opportunity for your idea. If you plan to quote your entire startup project, what you will get is a giant figure for requirements that may not be essential or that will change over time.
Within software development there are work methodologies that prioritize the launch of your product as soon as possible to receive feedback from the end user and as a result continue to improve the product. Methodologies such as Agile, focus on 2 premises:
If you are going to fail, fail as soon as possible, since from there, you will know how to adjust your project.
Launch in stages. Focus on developing what is part of your core business, launch, measure the response of your users and, later, adjust and improve what you have.
DEFINE YOUR MVP
An MVP (Minimum Viable Product) is the definition of the minimum functionality that your project must have to go to market. Define what is essential and what is not. This way, you can focus on the first version of your project that can best solve the main need of your audience, instead of having too many features that will be used very little or that might not even be necessary for your audience.
Once your project is launched, the feedback from your users will be crucial to prioritize which functionality will be adjusted or improved.
DEFINE OFFLINE LOGISTICS
You think your business idea will be successful because it is very likely that no one else is doing it. That means that you are innovating and probably you will need to define many aspects of the business, in addition to the definition of the technological part. If you plan to hire an agency to develop your project, it is important that you have defined the logistics of how your business will work. The aspects that are resolved within your digital product start from what you as an entrepreneur want. That is, if the user needs to pay you, you must understand which payment will work best for your audience, whether it’s credit card, electronic transfer, auto-payment, referenced payment or cash. In your idea it may sound logical to say that the user is going to pay, but in reality that aspect can imply considerable differences in time and cost for you, depending on the solution selected.
Think of this as a range model in a company: The business owner or a specific department is in charge of defining with which supplier they will buy their supplies based on what is most convenient according to the company’s standards and needs. Once that supplier is defined, the collaborators will be in charge of using these inputs and producing the product. Similarly, you should see the development of your digital product. You cannot leave everything in the hands of your development agency. Your participation in the definition of those business aspects that will make your project profitable is important.
HIRE A TECHNOLOGY CONSULTANT
It doesn’t mean that you should do everything by yourself or only with your internal team. As in any traditional company, you must form a team. Although this team is initially made through suppliers, it ensures that you have access to the knowledge and experience of consultants who help you define the bases of your digital product, not only in the technological aspect.
Think that you want to build a house and the different variables that exist to arrive at the final product. If you want to know the final price of your house, you must first define what type of house you want. A 1-story house is not the same as a 2-story house with a pool. The square footage of construction, foundations, materials, facilities and other factors will play a key role in defining the cost and development time of your project. As part of the process, you will need to first define a construction project before laying the foundation stone and get a final cost.
Going back to your digital product, leaning on a consultant will help you define that master project, land requirements and needs, define technology and services that you will use, transfer your ideas to practical processes and even visualize them in a prototype that allows you to validate your idea. Then, when you have your master project defined, you can start evaluating the cost of production. In general, this consulting process can be done directly with a development agency or you can hire an external consultant and then approach a development agency.
If we conclude the premise of the article using the analogy of the house, think about whether you would leave the construction of your house in the hands of a contractor whom you have told you want your house to be like your neighbor’s and he/she has given you a budget without seeing blueprints or getting access to the interior and distribution of the house. I wouldn’t do it.
If a brilliant idea has popped into your mind or you are starting a venture, I hope that these 5 points help you have a clearer picture of the approach you can make with external suppliers to make your idea come true.
At Mijo! Brands, a creative digital marketing agency with headquarters in Mexico City, Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta, we have a team of professionals in all disciplines that works to offer durable solutions to our clients and guide them through the processes that they are unfamiliar with to ensure that their project is successful.
Ramón López is the Director of Mijo! Brands in Jalisco. He studied Multimedia Communication at the UDG. His professional training kept the focus on digital and printed design, but his passion for technology led him to programming and interface development, in which he found the fertile field to balance the two areas. He is a founding member of Mijo! Brands and one of the main people in charge of the collaborative philosophy that identifies us. One of the things he is most proud of is being the father of children who are motivated by constant curiosity, to the extent that one of them is in a high-achievement program.