Like any other mature line of business, the software industry has great potential for those with the right talent and understanding of how to run a business. A software company develops and distributes computer software designed to provide custom solutions in a variety of ways in virtually all industries. They also deliver services to client software issues. They can operate with different kinds of business models, such as charging license fees, offering subscriptions or charging per transactions. Here are key steps to consider in setting up a software business of your own:
Do your Research and gain some experience: Obtain a degree in computer science by taking programming classes in a variety of computer languages as well as business courses in accounting, finance, marketing and human resource management. If you feel you have the right skills without getting a college degree, you can get an entry-level job at a software company where you can train with a software development mentor. Conduct a survey of the market and see how other companies in the same area as yours are functioning.
Determine your niche and entry strategy: There are mainly two sectors to consider when coming into the software industry – software products and software services.
- Software products are applications developed for particular tasks. Software products can target individual businesses, individual end-users, a particular market segment, etc. A client can also hire your software company to make custom software products for them.
- On the other hand, software services cover marketing or maintaining software products that might have been developed by your company or someone else. It can also include custom software migration like helping a company move its existing records to a new system, among other things.
Beyond these basic considerations, you will also identify which industries you will focus on. All these decisions will be largely guided by your research, experience, and exposure.
Prepare your comprehensive business plan: Write a strategic business plan that describes the purpose of your business, product, branding approach, market audience, product competition, and financial needs and plans. This is a strategic plan that will guide you in achieving your goals for the business.
Purchase the necessary equipment and applications. Equip yourself with the necessary applications and whatever you will need to deliver your services or develop your product. Where applicable, equip your development team with computers, programming applications, data storage capability, servers and all of the necessary tools for creating and distributing the software. Here you need to consider the balance: If you will be hiring a technical team first or sourcing software projects first? Clients are crucial. So is your team that will do the job. Obtaining contracts and then hiring a technical team makes more sense. You could hire specifically according to the requirements of the project. As your company grows you could keep a multi-talented team working on different projects at the same time.
Generate a product idea & develop it: Develop an innovative product idea based on what you have learned and observed about the needs of end users. Once it becomes clear that a market exists for your product idea, you can build you software company around it. Your experience and research are very key here, make sure your product idea is viable, speak with experienced software developers and test out your idea before making further investments of time and money. Furthermore, protect your product idea by getting the necessary patents and trademarks. Ask your team of collaborators, if applicable, to also sign a non-disclosure agreement.
Incorporate and start promoting your business: Incorporate and properly set up your business administration details. Focus on selling and promoting your services. You need to formalize a sales cycle: a process for finding prospects, cultivating your relationship with them, educating them about your services, offering your services to the right ones, fulfilling their expectations, and developing that relationship with them – where you have a product, you could hire a marketing firm or experienced marketing professionals to work for your company. Consult with such professionals during the product development process to help shape decisions about product features, uses, and market audience.
Take advantage of the online freelance marketplace
Establishing a robust online presence is also a consideration to strengthen your marketing position – a website, social media presence, etc. Furthermore, use websites that advertise thousands of real freelance jobs every day. You can create an account for free, and start applying to jobs within minutes. Go to sites like www.upworks.com, www.peopleperhour.com, etc to get started.
Always keep an open mind – quick to learn trends and new imaginations in your line of business. Persistence and the determination to succeed are the most important skills you bring to the table . . .