A Guide For Tech-Enabled Entrepreneurs On How To Execute
A lot of people have great ideas that could be turned into viable businesses, yet most of these ideas are never executed and remain in pure abstraction. The gap between conception and profitability is marked with various uncertainties which make the apparent risk to reward ratio even less appealing for those who would otherwise plant the first step in the tortuous, but extremely rewarding, path of entrepreneurship. This article is written for the purposes of describing how INTP can help execute your idea and see it come to fruition.
Know Your Market
The first step towards execution is knowing your market. What is your value proposition and how will you differentiate yourself from your competitors? Do you have an idea that’s tailored for average consumer use or for business use? If the end goal is an idea that’s suited for both, it would be best to determine which route should be the first one taken in order to demonstrate the POC (Proof of Concept). Typically, the entrepreneur should pick the business route to implement first due to a lower requirement for startup capital and a more ideal beta testing environment.
From here, the exact use cases for the idea need to be established. Who will use this product? How will they use it? What is the value added for the end user? How will profit be generated? Be able to distinguish between the core functionality of the product and features that simply extend the core functionality. How will you explain your product value added to key users in one-two sentences?
Many times, it is useful to have a storyboard of the end user, even assigning names to particular use cases. For example, Bill owns a manufacturing business and needs to easily view all incoming, warehoused, and outgoing inventory with an intuitive User Interface (UI). Setting up the use cases in this way allows INTP to more easily produce backend UML flowcharts that outline the logic of the software as well as frontend wireframes that model how the UIs will look.
Prototype & Alpha Test
Once most of the upfront logistical issues have been determined, you are ready to begin implementing a prototype. Whether you have a consumer based product or a business based product, you will need to develop an MVP (Minimum Viable Product), or a low cost iteration of your idea that you can present to banks and investors, if it’s a consumer product, or beta clients, if the end users of your product are businesses. Many entrepreneurs have obtained capital without first having a prototype, however, their WACC (Weighted Average Cost of Capital) is higher, as they have presented investors with greater risk. By having a prototype and a POC through beta testers, in addition to a well-drafted business plan, you will be demonstrating to those willing to fund your venture that you know how to manage funds and implement your ideas, eliciting a lower risk premium. INTP can help by creating this business plan and prototype for you.
When we create your prototype, we develop the most cost-effective solution that demonstrates the core functionality of your idea. We have developed enough experience through countless projects to know how to implement the MVP in such a way that it is rapidly developed yet still easy to grow and develop in the future. The phrase that refers to this concept is Technical Debt and it translates directly to financial implications, as the most expensive portion of any software engineering project is the developer time.
The final step before releasing your prototype to the initial beta testers is QA (Quality Assurance). Our team goes through the software’s use cases and determines that everything functions according to plan. This is called Alpha Testing and is an important component to user acceptance of your prototype.
Beta Testing is the process of opening your prototype up to an initial customer base to gauge their reaction to your product and to work closely with them in polishing your product towards its initial production version. Regardless of your idea, you need your end-user to LOVE, not just like, your product, and beta testing aims to accomplish this.
For this stage, INTP can help identify these ideal beta customers and help you approach them in such a way that they are eager to work with you. Once they have become your beta customers, we can represent you as your technical team and refine your product according to customer feedback.
Even if your idea is a consumer product intended for mass consumption, we always advise to implement an initial beta testing. This will help you determine market sentiment towards your idea without needing to risk large amounts of capital on going directly to a production version. When you do appeal to lenders and investors for funding, if you are not funding the project from your own means (bootstrap funding), you will be able to eliminate profitability ambiguity in relation to market sentiment and your allocation of funds, and thus, will receive more ideal financing options. INTP is able to generate technical and financial reports for your business that you will be able to present to potential financiers.
Deploy & Market
When your beta test clients love your product, you will be ready for a public release. We do not recommend rushing through to production because user acceptance is critical to your success. Thus, careful diligence is performed in the beta testing stage to ensure that your beta test clients have their wishlist in regard to the product fully completed.
This stage of the software development may be marked with a large overhaul of the previous codebase so that features that were added quickly during beta testing may be more robustly integrated into the source code. Refactoring and rewriting the code base before this point typically ends up being more costly and inefficient. Thus, incurring little technical debt during the MVP phase and paying it off later before production can actually save you time and money while minimizing your market risk.
Also in this stage is the time where our graphic design team will create the release-version graphic assets. Graphic design can be expensive and the INTP team does not feel it is a necessary risk to undertake before your product is ready for production. However, your product up to this point will be nicely styled and presentable still. These digital assets will additionally be used as marketing material on the Play and App Stores as well as any other landing pages that will represent your brand.
The landing pages described above will be used to funnel traffic and collect market information and most often consist of a website and various social media platforms. Each landing page offers something unique to the end user in hopes that a single user may subscribe to multiple platforms. Our internet marketing team has found that SMM (Social Media Marketing) and especially subscription-based marketing yield the highest conversion rates. INTP utilizes app push notifications as well as the traditional form of email marketing for our subscription model. Our data science team analyzes the data procured by the marketers and determines specific target demographic groups and general protocols of marketing to them that will generate the highest conversions. By default, the steps outlined above lead to the greatest SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and real estate utilized by your listing on the results pages of the major search engines.
Many aspiring entrepreneurs are discouraged to go down the route of actual execution because of various unknowns that linger in their mind. Sadly, a lot of their great ideas end up as perpetual what-ifs and disappointingly missed opportunities. Without knowing exactly what are the steps to production and how to appropriate finances, those who do take the first steps end up quitting in frustration having spent large amounts of capital following a loosely constructed plan of execution.
At INTP we function as an on-demand supplementary technical team to enable entrepreneurs. We provide business feedback and architecture advice based on our experience, have the technical expertise to provide completely custom software and the marketing experience to drive the final product into profitability. Our mission as a technology company is to drive our customer’s success at every stage of business and we would love to talk with you about yours.
For a free consultation on how to get your idea from conception to profitability, please feel free to call us at (303) 902-6422, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or fill out our contact form at www.intp.io/contact. We look forward to working with you.