Planning a start-up is a hard thing. You must make many assumptions because you have no idea how the market will react to your software solution and what specifically your users will like about your program. Also worth mentioning, you must be precise in service monetisation: this is crucial to a digital service’s success or failure regardless if it is the end version or minimum viable product.
The best advice for every entrepreneur: start small and get constant feedback. The following three software development stages will help save you time and money while you build the end product your audience wants: prototype, MVP, fully functional solution.
Prototype is a sketch (e.g. it might be wireframes of a future mobile app) that clearly presents your concept. A prototype is needed to find investors (perhaps, get on board with an acceleratorA program targeted to help recently backed entrepreneurs learn how to do business, meet useful connections and get media traction.) and win attention of media and potential customers.
This is the first ‘raw’ look of your idea. It does not require much development time or advanced skills from your team as it does not have to work smoothly. But it has to demonstrate how it solves an issue your audience has and whether or not you are able to solve the problem in a cost-effective way.
When the prototype is successful – your investors and audience have shown interest – it is time to start app development. The best strategy for every start-up is creation of an MVP – a product with only the core, most valuable features based on feedback from your main audience. With an MVP, you deliver your product to market as quickly as possible to ensure its visibility. At the same time, you test your solution with minimal expense and save your budget for future challenges.
After you have tested your product and know what new features your customers need the most (these are your growth opportunities), you can start adding them one after another to build a fully customized solution based on customer experience. This is the stage when you must polish your digital product and get prepared for rapid growth. This is a crucial stage because you must retain your customers with your high-quality service. At this juncture, you increase customer satisfaction by solving their issues with new functionality and start enjoying your revenue.
All digital service providers know well that their work is never done. Product release might mean more work. There have been cases when start-ups completely rebuild their business models and/or digital solutions after customer feedback proves something else has much greater appeal, thus finally providing their audience that exceptional experience they need – and demand.
For example, PayPal started as software for secure money exchange between PDAs then expanded to a major online payment service. Amazon began as a book store. Now they have become the largest trading platform. And it keeps evolving: Amazon has become one of the leading tech companies providing cloud storage and experimenting with drone delivery.
Again, the common thing about all successful tech companies: they start small and never fear constantly trying something new and different.