Taking Care of a Newborn Idea
Well, the die is cast – you have a solid idea for a product and are now taking steps in the necessary directions for manifesting that idea into the real world. Excitement, trepidation and hope are the three emotions that characterize any sane entrepreneur, especially if this is their very first step into this world. With this article, we aim to ease your progress into that world by giving you a few insights into outsourcing.
The contemporary world thrives on specializations – no jacks of all trades manage to survive the entrepreneurial world for very long, so there are mostly go-to agencies for everything, including product development. You provide the vision, they manifest it. Terrifyingly simple. Or is it?
Well, step back and think about it for a few moments. While there are a smattering of agencies that may seem right for the job, you’d probably want some sort of insight into where you should be putting your crucial investments, because, let’s face it, not everybody can afford to make mistakes on the developmental scale, weather the shock and be back for a second round of monetary influx – the time, and considerable emotional investment involved can stagger many.
The rate at which technology has superseded our own development can be daunting for many. Often, idea-generators are not technicians by themselves. To learn source code and then become a full-time techie can take years of skill building, which may not be the best option given the stagnation of ideas. If the product you envisage requires a high degree of know-how, then it is best to seek a tech developer who you personally know and their abilities come recommended. Not everyone has that luxury either, so a firm is your best bet.
Contract of a Lifetime
Developmental companies are of various types. Since you are probably making the contract of a lifetime, it is better to seek out companies that keep you fully involved and in the loop, from the start to the finish. This also requires personal commitment – you cannot simply hand over the designs to your coveted idea and take a back seat. It is absolutely recommended that companies maintain a fair degree of transparency with you, so that you can be more familiar with the process, and ensure that your product is looking exactly as you wanted.
Hence – Do not hire opaque companies. If they blindside you, and are being obstinately vague about technicalities and the process – then it is time to terminate, or not even enter the contract. Many entrepreneurs make the smart move of granting a stake to the tech developers, making allies while also ensuring a good degree of symbiotic serviceability.
Fleshing out the Big Bucks
If your budget is pretty immense, then you may also approach a company that is all-inclusive in their scope: a complete package, to be exact. These companies are cost heavy, sure – but they also have an added disadvantage of folding over. The money needed to keep them afloat should reflect directly in what they are charging you – do not leave your back open in terms of creating Plans B, C and even F if it comes to that.
What we mean is simple – you could be saving a lot of that massive budget (for those big players) and to those who need to start small, this is an obvious alternative – hire different firms for different processes. Or different experts, to be exact.
There are various types of freelancers and experts that have flooded the market of late – utilize them. Marc Theeuwes, a professor at the Stanford University of Engineering Design and the author of “Make It Big: Crossing the Entrepreneur’s Gap” declares that most firms should be judged on the basis of the quality of their product engineers, examples of past products developed and customer feedback. Stressing on the level of costs added when consulting a big time industrial design firm, he also remarks that they base the amount of engagement with your product on product history and rates of success.
This is a raw deal for an entrepreneur with a fresh idea on the market – you possibly may not have that backing for them to take an interest in your project, and they may charge higher rates to cut back on consecutive losses that may accrue, even as your product is only in its infantile stages.
Super-specialize me, De-centralize me
Relying on multiple freelancers may be taxing, sure, but it’s ultimately cost saving, and a healthy learning process to be involved in. If one folds or fails to deliver, then at least there is a backup with this decentralized approach. Freelancers may also bill on a project basis; unlike big companies that may deal with the hourly minting machine.
Product design and development is divided into several crucial stages. The concept, identification of customer need, product design (ergonomics, fit, look and feel) and product testing are all involved in the design part. Development deals with the product specifications, necessary software development (mostly required for businesses nowadays) and charges accrue according to time, materials expended in the prototyping process and expertise.
Thus, identify your experts. Identify the kind of contracts that you desire, because the options are many. Big-companies indulging in hourly time-money-materials based contracts will also throw together a team, which will then have a project manager – further adding to the costs. If the company can showcase a demonstration of how they work, then making a decision is easier for you – otherwise, individuals are easier to assess in terms of their previous engagements and technical skills. Decentralization also works in terms of having different fees for different experts instead of one hefty-package. Do your research for the standard charges for these processes and then take up contracts to avoid potential money loss.
Mobile app developers, engineers in the mechanical, electrical and industrial domains, experts that can optimize a previously non-existent technology to fit our capabilities and the list can go on and on depending on how complicated your idea is. Hence, clarity is of paramount importance. While most articles simply assume the clarity point, we encourage you not to take the splurge into outsourcing if that is lacking – it is a lose-lose situation all around.
Well, there you have it – hopefully, this article provides a few helpful ideas while you cradle your newborn idea, hoping to manifest it successfully.