06-13-2018, Web Development
by Mateusz Raczynski
How to Invest Less in a Product
You can get a web product cheaply. You just can. But even though a cheap product might produce savings at first, it can create massive headaches just as your company is beginning to grow. How can you avoid most of these problems?
A lot of startup founders want to share their idea with the rest of the world. Some of them just want investors, while others are already creating the MVP.
But the MVP is often misunderstood. One of the principles of its development is to create a basic version of the product to test whether it meets the needs of and solves any of the real problems in the market. And since they don’t know what these are…
They Want To Make It Cheap
It makes sense to get the product coded cheaply at the beginning. What if the idea is not very good at this early stage? Or what if it doesn’t respond to any real problems and needs a complete revision? You want to minimize your losses during MVP testing.
But starting a new company involves risk. And just as there is a risk of failure, there is also a risk of success – a chance.
So what if your MVP is a success? What if you have the next Uber or Airbnb? Or what if the results are just promising enough to sink more investment into further developing it? In this situation, if you purchased a subpar web product, you have to live with it.
And you two might not get along well…
And So The Problems Come Your Way
If the MVP was successful on the control group, you might want to begin scaling it. You need to reach a wider audience by doing a proper SEO on the website and some paid advertising.
This is where things become complicated. You might observe high bounce rates and not as many conversions as you thought you’d get. Maybe something’s wrong with your product?
Maybe not. The problem might not lay in your product, but in your online presence. The problem might be your website. If it is coded poorly and, for example, loads slowly, you might observe an extremely short average time spent on the page, increasing the bounce rate. Users are accustomed to certain standards, you know? If your website’s performance doesn’t meet those standards, then your product’s performance will be affected.
Those beautiful animations you asked for – if they’re done in a rush and without the knowledge of how to do them right – can kill the user experience. And what’s up with the site’s responsiveness? Are you sure the website or web app works well on every browser, operating system, resolution, and device? You can check that on Google Analytics. Maybe, say, it performs a lot worse on Safari for some reason?
And there’s more. You’ve founded a startup to create profits, which, of course, means selling something. And to sell, you need to know who you are selling to. It’s a deal, and you need to collect personal data to close it.
With the GDPR and all the other privacy and data safety regulations lurking in the background, are you sure the personal data you need is being collected securely? How can you be sure that there won’t be any breaches compromising sensitive data?
You can’t be sure if you’ve purchased a cheap web product. There are simply no web service providers that are at the same time cheap and reputable, experienced, and employing high standards.
But You Can Fix It, Can’t You?
Unsolved problems often gather into high stacks that will eventually fall. You hire a new agency or developers to fix all your headaches, but you still have a limited budget.
Yeah, they are not too happy about what you want them to do. Once they get the code, they raise the price. Greedy bastards.
Why do almost all of them do that?!
Because they can’t work with the code like they need to. It’s poorly written. There are lots of unnecessary lines and workarounds, and the previous developer clearly didn’t follow the best practices of the most of the experienced coders.
It’s difficult for them to sort through the code and find the problems you and – more importantly – your users are experiencing. But life’s life and the job has to be done. They manage to fix all the stuff but leave you with a piece of advice – build your product from scratch again.
Still hesitant to do that? Okay…
Your Business Grows
After these fixes and security improvements, you’re finally back on the right track. The clients love your MVP, so you scale and plan to develop the product.
But as you scale and grow, you encounter other problems. The architecture hits its limits. Performance drops. There are more and more unhappy customers who need to have their problems solved or they’ll stop doing business with you.
You have lots of fires to fight, and fighting them becomes more and more expensive. Not the ideal situation.
You Had One Job
As I wrote, problems can mount into high stacks that eventually become so unstable they fall. Fortunately, it’s easy to avoid this situation. They say entrepreneurship is about putting yourself in a position to succeed and then taking action according to the business plan.
All you need to do is to put yourself in a position to succeed. If you hire an outside agency, you need to hire a good one.
And here’s why.
An experienced partner can help you not only with the coding part, but can also give you good advice on how to execute it. If you maintain good communication with this partner, you won’t even feel that they’re outside your company. You’ll see them as a part of your team. You can benefit greatly from that, especially when creating an MVP startup.
As for the code, having it written properly from the very beginning can save you lots of money in the long term. This will ensure that it won’t need any major fixes. The code will be clean for any other developers who touch it. It will also be secure – there won’t just be assurances that ‘it’s secure,’ but it will be thoroughly tested for any security issues.
But we’re still talking about startups, which must be scaled. Understanding at the very beginning that this is necessary, developers can establish a scalable product architecture that will grow seamlessly with your company and will adapt quickly to shifts in the business model.
High-quality products are more expensive in the short term, but in the long term will save you money. And not only that – working with an agency that has proven its worth can make your product better.
Of course, there’s still a risk of investing too much in something that might not be worth it. But if you could be sure about future success, would it still be fun to create a startup?