Turning Abstract Ideas Into Coherent Products

Have a clear business plan. Pixabay

Coming up with a great idea is already difficult, but to turn it into a coherent, beautiful and intuitive product is even way harder.

One thing I’ve discovered, after working with a wide range of clientele and projects for the past 14 years as a self-employed software engineer and UI designer, is that there’s usually a recurring pattern for a potentially perfect product execution.

If you’re an entrepreneur who’s planning on pursuing your million-dollar app idea, here are some things you might want to check first before recruiting a tech team.

Have a clear business plan

When you don’t have a business plan, you don’t have a business. Some of the clients who I’ve met that ran out of money didn’t originally have a clear revenue model in the beginning. Apparently, a lot of entrepreneurs do this bad habit of just “testing things out.” And the fact of the matter is, unless you are a developer yourself, testing out ideas without a solid business plan will be quite expensive.

Consider a prototype before an MVP

An MVP (minimum viable product) is a more polished product than a prototype which means it’ll be more time consuming and expensive to execute. Again, unless you’re a developer who has years of experience, you might want to consider a prototype.

A prototype is a very barebones type of product that has the fundamental functions of what the entire business is about. For example, a few years ago, when I started my first business (a bitcoin exchange) with co-partners, we didn’t exert too much time beautifying the website in its first few weeks.

I designed a quick logo, used Twitter Bootstrap, and built the bitcoin exchange in less than a week. While it did look amateurish, we were able to validate that there was indeed a market when we got our first 10 customers.

Once we had market validation, we then invested more time in the design and user experience of the exchange. It allowed us to save more money and save more time.

Break down features into different release stages

Never launch your first app with tons of features. Not only will this confuse the users, produce bugs that you can’t pinpoint, but you’ll also be spending a lot of time and money on things that you don’t, or probably won’t, need.

It’s like having that first date with someone, and sharing everything about yourself in one go; not even leaving something to look forward to for the other person. Users want to be loved but at the same time you have to make your product lovable and interesting too. And it’s counter-intuitive when you bombard users with too much information.

List down the top 3 most important things that your product needs in order to function its business user requirements. For example, going back to my bitcoin exchange, our top 3 functions were:

  1. Create a sell order.
  2. Create a buy order.
  3. Fulfill an order (Admin).

Once we’ve reached a point to where multiple customers were asking to see their past order history, we decided to start rolling out the other features in the pipeline like the account system, bitcoin wallet integration, and so on. We saved time, market validated, and really understood what customers wanted.

Another key is to also progressively add things to the product without getting burnt out or run out of money. If you overspend your budget to compensate for the lack of a clear plan, you’re adding more unnecessary risk to yourself and to your business. It also makes the product convoluted without clarity or direction.

Have a really competent tech team

Oh boy. Not only is it hard to find (and retain) a really good developer, but it’s way more difficult to build a really effective team.

This is why I started a Web Development company called MergeCommit Solutions. My mission is to help startup entrepreneurs and businesses build their million dollar ideas as efficiently as possible. While at the same time, allowing our developers to utilize their specialty of choice on the projects they want to work on.

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. And that’s very true in this sense. You’d need to have varying cognitive stacks to ensure creativity, logic, structure and pragmatism are all exercised when working as a team. And building this particular team is frustratingly time consuming.

With MergeCommit, it uses a model where it allows you to utilize only the things you need to get specific projects done. This saves you time, money and the difficulty in finding great talents.

Same as Uber, instead of having your own car which requires more upkeep, you then use their service on-demand and pay only when you need it.

MergeCommit offers something similar. Our developers can work on your projects that require their specific skill sets. This gives them the opportunity to explore their chosen engineering tools (we have an ember.js developer, a react.js developer and a pure node.js backend developer). While also being able to work on other things when you don’t need them.

A successful product is going to be attributed a lot to whoever is executing it. It’s the key to a successful launch, in fact. The team needs to be able to understand what your goals are. Unfortunately, these people are super hard to come by.

The good news is, once you build this team, you increase the chance of your product becoming a huge success.

The only question is, will you spend months trying to build that team or would you prefer using an existing solutions company like MergeCommit to fulfill that need so you can focus on the business?

Conclusion

  1. Have a plan.
  2. If you don’t, find someone who can make one for you.
  3. Get a really effective team to execute your plan.
  4. Value time and money.
  5. Sit back and watch your dream become reality 🙂

James Florentino is the founder of MergeCommit Solutions. A full stack web development shop that helps startups and businesses translate their visions into beautiful web applications.

Turning Abstract Ideas Into Coherent Products