Software Development for Start-Ups
The most challenging aspect of creating a new start-up is developing your flagship software application from a raw idea. This poses several challenges, as it usually means developing software under highly uncertain conditions and tackling fast-growing markets with limited resources. Choosing the right features to build and adapting quickly to new customer requests is therefore crucial to the success of the business against this background.
From a software engineering perspective, start-ups are unique since the software development doesn’t have to follow a prescriptive methodology; it’s usually a learning process that hopefully leads to a clear methodology and specification for the product.
That journey from idea to a solid specification is one that a good developer can help enormously with, especially if the scope of the project needs fleshing out in terms of technology, languages, API integration and platform. And like any other area of business, developers have a project fit, just as a product has a market fit.
Since most start-ups are not tied into existing technologies, the best strategy to save on development time is usually to use mature (enterprise-ready) frameworks since they come with multiple modules; they enable deployment in minimal time; and they work right out-of-box. This can be important in the early stages of development, since technical requirements can often change due to refinements in market needs and end-user expectations.
Another factor to consider is the innovative and fast-moving nature of the software industry, which makes the marketplace for software applications intensely competitive. So even with an innovative new business idea, it’s essential to get your idea to market in a timely fashion, and within your budget.
To achieve this, the most important factors to consider are:
- Planning your idea carefully.
- Choosing a software development company that you can trust to deliver that idea. Look for a vendor with a solid IP rights management policy and make sure your vendor has an NDA to sign.
How to develop your idea
- First, form a concrete strategy out of your basic idea. What exactly do you want to achieve? What problems does it solve? Do you have a clear, comprehensive strategy for your start-up business?
- Do you have a design for how the app will look and work? If not, think about creating one. Your design should be clear and include the structure of how you want your database to work. This will give everyone a clear overview of how the software is theoretically supposed to work and provide the developers a framework for creating a prototype.
- How feasible is it to execute your new idea within the constraints you have? These constraints can be resource based or time based.
- Where might the difficulties occur during development? These could range from reliability, functionality, time or cost.
- Does your application need to be constructed from the ground up? Since everything rests on the quality of the programming, how much of the developers’ job can be reliably done by using a development platform that comes with pre-built codes, such as BBWT? This has the added benefit of reducing development time!
If your budget is limited, simplify your idea by focusing on one core feature to develop a minimal viable product (MVP). The purpose of an MVP is to demonstrate to early adopters or investors that the idea works. It also means you can release the product at the earliest opportunity.
Once the first version is up and running, don’t worry about polishing it up and honing to perfection as the very first version will probably be improved after release. It’s more important to let the end-users guide your iterations and revisions from their feedback.
How your software developer can help
- Create an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) to prove that your commercial and technical model will work. This will be cheaper, and once the market has been tested, your developer can move on to complete feature development.
- Leverage any work already done – so if you’ve already invested time and resource into a crude version of your software, your developer may be able to use it as an initial step to build on.
- Provide finance solutions for funding the development project, where your own funding is not available. For example, through R&D tax credits, or by investing in the project themselves.
Finally, see if your software developer has previously worked with start-up companies that have gone on to be successful.
At Blueberry, we have a portfolio of start-up companies that are now successfully trading, including several showcase examples that we can share. Give us a call if you’d like to discuss what Blueberry can do for your start-up business.