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Over seven years of app development and we’ve served more than 700 projects. Wow, 100 projects in a year, you may think. Well… Some of them are really small gig works that we’ve done in a week, the others are big enough and took us half a year to complete. And some of our clients continue to work with us up until this very moment, for five years in a row, maybe.
For each of this 700 projects, there are another six deals we didn’t manage to close. Mostly because of the cost, of course. Partly, because of the tech stack we serve. Sometimes because the client hasn’t refined his idea and it had too many blind spots that made it commercially unviable.
What’s interesting those six clients eventually close deals with another team but tradeoff their idea, or come up with a completely different variation of their idea. Frankly speaking three out of six clients we’ve lost eventually make a tradeoff. There are many examples of how the web app has turned into a landing page and manual call center, or multi-platform mobile app that turned into never-ending MVP.
So how to preserve your idea, test it early and keep the faith? We’ve come up with five questions that may help startups to decide whether to move forward or pursue their goals.
#1 How much does your idea cost?
The idea is priceless, the execution is what matters. And the execution is what takes money to develop. And c’mon, software is not cheap. This is the most overhyped industry in the world. And so does the prices, even when you go outsourcing, don’t expect it to be cheap.
As it goes, 90 percent of clients underestimate the budget required to bring their ideas to life. That’s why we advise to sit down and write a price you’re ready to pay before requesting an estimation. Think about all those features you want to have and the number of professionals required to deliver the app.
Now, just write the figure down, don’t tell it to the sales manager, even us. This figure will be your starting point. Once the estimation is ready, compare those numbers. I bet you’re surprised and even frightened about the difference. Sorry, software isn’t cheap!
Just be prepared, a simple app development costs start new 40k, according to GoodFirms' survey. Even the discovery stage costs about 5k. And specification for development may vary from 1k to 3k depending on the complexity of the app.
#2 Are you ready to adapt?
This question goes hand in hand with the previous one. Many tradeoffs occur on the specification stage, or even during the estimation. The client and development company, both try to reduce the costs. The client usually tries to squeeze into the budget, the team tries to get you on the hook.
The good strategy here is to face the truth, require the full picture and ask the team to estimate the worth-case scenario. Only from this point, you may try to adapt and shrink your app. Your idea should have the gap where to downgrade in order to mitigate risks.
Good teams are frank and give a full picture, bad teams make promises they can’t deliver and require additional money during the development. Such projects are usually poorly written and degrade quickly as the new demands and technology standards arrive.
There are always complications during the development, and you’re the one who will pay for them. Our enterprise-level clients from fintech know that better than anyone. That’s why they prefer fixed-price contracts with all the risks inside. They know it is better to overestimate the budget than to do business in uncertain conditions.
#3 What’s your schedule?
The longer you wait, the more expensive the work will become. Start as early as possible. Don’t lag behind, don’t delay the decision. Start from the estimation, it requires only a few words from you. Give us a notice, and the wheels will start moving.
If you have a list of conferences to show your prototype - then you should start at least 3 months in advance. This will sound like self-pity but we had customers that refused to work with us only because our schedule didn’t come along with their plans. Eventually, they didn’t make it to the conference floor either way.
#4 What’s your goal?
A clear understanding of the app’s purpose makes it easier to develop use cases and user flow. Having a clear picture greatly reduces the time for specification development. This understanding can cut you as much as a month of development works.
In addition, the clear understanding of the goal allows an entrepreneur to strip away all unnecessary features and leave only ones that matter. Which is great if you’re short on budget. It allows us to design a solid architecture. Then you may develop an MVP or a working prototype that can be upgraded without the need to rewrite everything off the ground.
The clients that have no clear vision usually behave like copycats. They want something like Uber or something like Tinder. You better demand something impossible than another Facebook.
#5 Are you ready to fail?
Sorry, but entrepreneurship is risky. And it's fact. Software developer can’t risk for you. It’s your call to put everything on the map. Once you started the process, you have only two option left: get a complete product, or fall back and lose all the money already invested.
Changing something in the middle of the development process is a bad practice. It usually adds up a 1.5x time increase to the new tasks you want to add. That’s why if you have an idea, you need to believe in it or have a brave heart to take a chance on it.
Apart from the size, complexity, and uniqueness of the project, there are things that all those apps share in common. They all are software applications, obviously, and they all started from a single idea.
But it not the idea that’s going to make or break the next biggest web company in the world. It’s the execution of that business. And the execution is more than a single person. When you’re talking about building a company that’s going to be large and successful you need a team of people. That’s because one person doesn’t have everything, and that’s where a reliable outsourcing partner come in handy.