This is Post No. 5 in How to Start a Business Series.
After you validate your idea, you should quickly start with product (app) building or creating a service (bundle).
Use motivation that got you started on the entrepreneurial path, to quickly start building first prototype. It is important to start quickly because motivation may not stay for long. So get started and then use discipline to stay on the path.
Where to Start Building?
Start with writing what you want your product and service to be.
What features will it have and what each will do for the user.
It will give you clarity if you are building it yourself and also help if you are going to get someone else to build it.
Once you write, you will know the user flow, relevant details and stuff.
Minimal Viable Product
Once through with writing, you can just start with design/code yourself or outsource.
Since copywriting is interface design, you can do an awful lot of great design in a text editor. Don’t worry about where things will go, or how they will fit. Worry about explaining it clearly and then build the rest of the interface around that explanation.
Jason Fried, 37signals, Co-founder
Here is a list of tools/app that will help you get started.
- To quickly build your website – use WordPress
- To run a newsletter – MailChimp
- For email – Google Apps – this is not free but very effective email client. Same as gmail.
- For project management – basecamp.com is good.
- For collaboration – Google Docs and Dropbox
If you are building an app, in addition to those above following will also be useful,
- Foundation or Bootstrap – frontend framework to build your web presence.
- For lifecycle email marketing – customer.io
- Intercom is also very good to show your customers relevant messages and to help you and gain more revenue per user
- For transactional emails you can use Sendgrid or Mandrill.
How to Find Programmers to Build First Product for You.
Many ideas die at idea stage only – because people do not how to convert these ideas into products and service offerings that people will pay for.
When we get in product building phase and at time idea stage this thought keep coming to mind – I have this great idea but who will build it. If you are more enterprising then you think about doing it yourself even when you do not have the skill. You think that you can learn the skill needed quickly.
Do not try to do everything yourself. If you get right help, you will soon see your validated idea converted into a product or a web presence ready for your service offerings.
This is a big challenge (in their mind at least) to create a product or a web presence for your service offering.
You can post your project on a marketplace like elance. On elance you find a big pool of resources. You can set your price and pick one who fits the bill. Chances are that you will not find a perfect fit. A good strategy is to hire 2-3 resources and give them small paid assignments – move ahead with one which is in sync with your needs.
You can also search LinkedIn with right keyword – something like “app developer” or “website designer” and connect directly with profiles that show promise.
See their work and decide.
You can also do it old way. If you see a webapp that you like then see the link in footer to learn who made it. This is not the most effective though.
Plain old search engine lookup also works.
If you are planning to build a (mobile) app – each city has their own indie developer list. You can post your requirement there.
So find your people, talk to them, get a quote and get started.
Like for elance – it is a good idea to write specifications for a small feature or a mockup and assign 3 people to build it. Do not assign more than $30-50 each so that your testing is done at around $100. Based on their communication, quality and delivery decide on who you want to work with for entire project and go that way.
A good outsourced partner is good at communication – responds promptly to your queries, and understands your specs if you are clear enough in your communication.
Alternate ways is to find friends. You can also send an email to local engineering schools.
While working with outsourced partners or when working with virtual team, you will need to communicate product specifications during product development phase. Here are some thoughts about that.
How to Write Product Specs.
- Be specific.
- Break it in simple steps.
- Add timeline.
If you are sending inputs for a website then tell what all pages will it have. Attach content for each page. Give a list of websites that you like. Tell the developer/designer when do you want to launch your project. Always give mini milestones to be achieved. This way you can be sure of the progress when the project gets going. Link payment release to achievement of these mini milestones.
Do not put too much into one single document; but be thorough without being verbose. Give as much details as are needed.
Now go do it. Good luck with your product development.
Action for the day: Write what your product will be, what it will do. Will you make it yourself or will get it done by someone else? What resource/tools you will need.
Photo Credits: Megan Elizabeth Morris
Very useful post, I am going to go through this again n again and check out all the apps/tools. Even the detailing which you have shared on product specs is also useful for all the start-ups! Feel like going back and start afresh!
Nevertheless, start afresh is good enough:)
Happy to share and good luck with this start 🙂