Undoubtedly, the software industry is one of the most dynamic and challenging marketplaces out there. Not only do you need to have an in-depth knowledge of customer needs and competition, but you have to spend thousands of hours producing a product before you can generate revenue. With such a high risk to reward ratio, it’s more important than ever to ensure that your business strategy is clearly thought out and based on actual market data.
By following just a few of these simple steps, you can make sure that every single line of code you write is instrumental in working towards your financial goals.
#1. Find Buyers Before You Start
Before you compile your first prototype, take the time to reach out to your potential client base. Pitching your idea to future buyers can help you gauge the market.
- How strongly did users respond to your idea? Ensure you take all of their thought into consideration. This is an excellent opportunity for you to refine your idea.
- Are there any changes you could help you appeal to more customers?
- Are these individuals expressing needs you didn’t previously know about?
- Are there any competing products in the market?
These are all very important questions to keep in mind. While you are gathering important information about your future user-base, be sure to sell your idea. Let them know that you’ve got something in the works that will fix every one of their problems. Build hype.
#2. Carefully Think out your Pricing and Market Size
Writing software is a very time-consuming and involved process. Before you make such a large time commitment, it’s vital that you have a clear idea of the potential revenue of your product. Consider how many people might use your product. What can each of these individuals afford? If you are creating a program that will help save them time or money, factor in the expense to perform the task manually. If you have a program that can reliably save a company $2000 a month in labor, they may happily pay an expensive monthly fee. Alternately, if your software does something that can be outsourced to
Alternately, if your software does something that can be outsourced to odesk for $100 monthly, it may be difficult for you to be competitive if you sell your product at a premium. Remember that every one of your customers has different needs and expenses.
It can be challenging to find an equilibrium price point. With every dollar that you reduce the price of your product, you are giving up potential revenue. But every dollar you increase the price, you are alienating potential customers who may be unwilling or unable to afford it. Try to consider ways that you can sell the product to each of these groups individually. Perhaps you can break your product into tiers, with the most expensive version servicing the high-value clients and a stripped down version for individuals who only need a few features.
#3. Get Unbiased Advice from Industry Forums
Have you spent a ton of time crafting your online reputation? It’s time to log out. If you want honest advice on your product, you need to register as a new member. When you are getting feedback on a concept or prototype product, your reputation is a huge factor in the type of feedback you will receive. Clients who are used to your offerings may respond positively based on your reputation alone. If you register as a new member, you will be subject to the highly critical and honest reviews you need to address problems early on.
Remember not to take criticisms so seriously. Heck, even Apple’s products tend to receive tons of negative press at launch, and yet they continue to sell millions of units! Criticism, at this stage, is not failure. It is the opportunity to tweak your design to meet client needs before you launch. Be sure to take all feedback seriously, and see if there are any ways you can modify your product to create a better user experience.
#4. Work with Industry Bloggers to get Attention.
In many industries, bloggers make their money by sharing the latest and greatest industry tips with their readers. Reaching out to these individuals can create the hype that your product needs to really take off! Position yourself as a revolutionary new solution to a frustrating problem. Demonstrate how your product can save people time, money and aggravation. You want people to view your software as a clever hack, rather than another bland corporate tool.
If you are able to resonate with this new reader base you can easily make your product look like more than just another solution, but an essential tool that their competitors are already using.
#5. Take Care of your Customers
Client care is one of the main opportunities you have to really stand out as a solution provider. Remember that every customer has helped to build your business. Ensuring their continued happiness is vital to crafting a loyal following of consumers. The market is highly competitive and can change at any time.
Your largest clients may leave and go to your competition. Your small clients can grow and take their place. Ensuring that each of your clients has all of their problems solved addresses two of the primary issues you face as a solution provider.
First, this well help you understand the unique needs of your clients and adapt to a changing market. By offering unparalleled customer service, your clients will believe you have their best interests in mind, and this is something they can receive exclusively from your business. Client loyalty has a massive impact on repeat business, and when you get it right your business can grow exponentially.
Although it can be difficult to establish yourself in the software industry, these are just a few of the simple things you can do to set yourself apart from the competition. If you notice one common theme, it’s that communication is key. No amount of market research of data can replace real, direct, human contact with your client base. Making your customers feel understood and appreciated is instrumental in developing software that solves real problems and capitalizes on client needs.