Learning happens mostly through mistakes. Smart entrepreneurs learn not only from their own failures, but from those of others who have walked a similar path before them. Outsourcing software development services is an option most small and middle enterprises contemplate, as competences become ever more specialized, and business processes not core to the company profile flourish more in the hands of experts. Though IT development can seem way too technical for the uninitiated, efficiently outsourcing it offshore is down to a few simple principles. We’ve compiled them here, based on the valuable experience of two entrepreneurs, David Goldberg, CEO of SurveyMonkey, and Brittany Hodak, co-founder of ‘ZinePak.
DO think ahead.
Being a responsible leader means looking for new opportunities and anticipating challenges all the time, even when the company is rattling along fine. It’s too late to scramble for quick fixes when trouble rears its head: you have to be prepared. Software development being such a complex process, a number of things can go pearshaped any given moment – especially if it’s handled by a remote team. On the other hand, the occurrence of unexpected opportunities is just as likely. Don’t let these catch you by surprise – scout them out and be the first to know.
DON’T try to handle it all.
The heads of small businesses or startups will often feel that they have to be a jack-of-all-trades, to know everything about accounting, sales or even IT. While this could be necessary at the outset, due to limited budget and staff, if all goes well, you should quickly get past the one-man-show phase. Stop doing and start delegating; find people who know more than you about specific business processes, including software development.
DO focus on business, not only your product.
Many startups get so caught up in developing their product or service that they forget why they were founded in the first place: to make money. While it’s understood that any venture needs time to take off and revenue won’t start flowing in immediately, it’s important to have a business plan that’s sustainable in the long run. Building the right software, with competent partners, can make or break not just your product, but also your profit.
DON’T be afraid to fail – just do it fast.
In software development, as in any creative process, you need to have a lot of ideas because the majority of them just won’t work. Let the inhouse and offshore teams experiment together to find out what flies and what flops. But then steel yourself and weed out the useless initiatives as quickly as possible, so as not to waste time, money and effort – precious resources, especially in a small company.
DO differentiate between markets.
Considering expansion beyond borders? Instead of viewing your prospective customers as one homogenous mass, think of them as multiple markets and be ready to address their specific needs accordingly. “Global” doesn’t mean “one size fits all”: you’ll need country-specific insights, local networks and expertise to gain a foothold abroad. Your offshore software development partner can provide an ideal gateway to new markets.