It’s never easy to start a small business of any kind, and while the idea that two-thirds of small businesses fail in their first year is a myth, it’s rare for them to survive ten. The software industry may seem like a relatively safe avenue to go down for your startup, and you’d be right, at least to an extent. More people and organizations rely on software solutions every day, and advancements are being made constantly. Whether you’re looking to design and sell products for personal use or to launch a B2B software startup that offers software to help organizations with their digital transformations, there’s a high demand for software everywhere.
Of course, it’s important to realize that being in a good industry alone isn’t a guaranteed path to success. If that were the case, anyone could start an e-commerce shop and expect to rake money in thanks to the popularity of online sales. To get established, you’ll naturally need to have a detailed business plan, and you’ll possibly have to get investors on board, but how do you effectively manage your startup once it’s, well, started? Here are some great things you can do to manage your software startup and transform it into a successful business.
1. Establish an effective development strategy.
It should do without saying that if you’re a software company, then you need to develop useful software that your target audience will be able to use. You can conduct research on your competitors and the market to get a general idea of what you can be doing better or how you can fill a need that’s currently ignored, but to really be effective, you need a proper product development strategy.
A large part of this is figuring out how to make your minimal viable product (MVP). Essentially, your MVP is the version of a new product with the least amount of features and functionality possible to show your product to investors, other team members, and potential end-users. In the early days of new product development, it’s important to determine what the “bare bones” of your software are, so you can focus on executing these tasks as well as possible. This is useful for product testing since it allows potential users to give detailed feedback on the basic functions without being distracted by extra features. It also helps you get a product ready with the least effort.
When designing your minimum viable products, you’ll need to think about important differentiating features if you’re entering an existing market with competition. Even if you’re trying to break new ground, you’ll need to carefully consider how easily your end users can operate your software and what the average user is likely to do with it. Once you’ve built your MVP, you can measure how user behavior is stacking up to your expectations and make adjustments to all your new software products from there.
2. Secure IP address space.
A software startup is no doubt keeping up its own website, and it’s crucial that you have enough IPv4 blocks to support your site as it expands and to have enough IP address space to host all your users and accounts as they grow. This is why it’s important to buy an IP address space.
Every device that connects to the internet uses an internet protocol identifier (IP address). These are numerical identifiers used to detect devices and direct web traffic. Each geographic region connected to the internet has a regional internet registry (the United States and Canada use ARIN, for example) that assigns local identifiers to ISPs and end-users. IPv4 is the currently used IP system, and it’s served well for decades.
The problem today is that thanks to the internet of things (IoT) and the fact that most internet users connect to the network on multiple devices, we’re simply running out of IPv4 addresses. There soon won’t be enough room left to reliably host all the sites out there and to connect devices to them. This is because IPv4 uses 32-bit numbers for its IP addresses, and the amount of possible combinations is running low. IPv6 can replace it in theory, but its complexities are still so great that most organizations still don’t want to use it.
This is where IPv4 brokers come in. These sellers not only ensure that you’ll have enough IPv4 addresses, but they also ensure that they’re clean before selling them. Many IP addresses become blacklisted due to problems like spam or fraudulent activity. IPv4 address blocks sold by brokers are wiped clean ahead of time, so you can be assured that your site’s reputation stays intact and that you can rank high in search engine results.
3. Utilize goal-setting frameworks.
The best way to manage any business is to make sure that all team members understand your company goals and that everyone is working toward them in an effective way. You can do this by using OKR’s. This stands for objectives and key results, and it’s a management framework that defines goals, encourages transparency, and inspires employee engagement.
Your objectives are your primary business goals. An example for your startup could be to get the first major update to your latest product out before the next quarter. Your entire team will see this as a top priority, and you can use OKR software to track exactly how progress is being made. These progress indicators are your key results. In the current example, key results will come in as progress reports on the software update. You may find that you’re making good time on your objective and can add additional stretch goals. Conversely, if you had too many ambitious goals, you can set more realistic expectations next time. The OKR system has been used by a variety of hugely successful companies like Google, Uber, and Microsoft, and it can no doubt make a big difference to your startup.
4. Control your data effectively.
Data is one of the most valuable possible resources for a software startup. The data you collect helps you make decisions about everything from product development to how you should update business processes to work more efficiently. Data is only at its best, though, when it’s accurate and current. This is why any software company should invest in master data management (MDM).
Software startups need to use integrated software systems so that they can easily send data between use system they’re using. Otherwise, they’d have to rely on the manual transfer of data from one application to another. This is a process that’s both time-consuming and error-prone. With full integrations, the sharing of data becomes easy, and all data shared between applications is called master data. With a reliable MDM system, you can collect all of your master data in one single source of truth, and it’s constantly updated, so you’ll know your data is always reliable.
MDM helps you quickly and accurately determine how effective your business is and gives you actionable insights into how to improve your processes. Essentially, good data management can tie your entire organization together and make following the rest of these tips significantly easier.