We’ve blogged a fair amount about our processes for software development. But we also have processes for building new customer relationships. And, if you’re someone looking for a developer to build your mobile app or web project, we think it’s important that you should have one too. One of the most important processes you should have in place is a willingness to actually meet your software developer even before you start focusing on costs.
One of the things we try to establish with new clients is where we fit in the Tech space – many folks who approach us are looking at a launching a software project for the very first time. Some are looking for co-founders, or partnerships. Some have limited budgets. Some have a clear vision and just need to get it started. Some need help developing and refining their vision. In any of these cases, it’s usually a new experience and there’s a lot of information to process – some of it is concrete, some of it is abstract. As humans, many of us struggle to deal with things that are more abstract. Cost, of course, is not abstract, so it’s a way to bring order to what might otherwise be disorderly. Or so we think.
So, given this, typically one of the first questions folks who meet with us wonder about is what their project will cost. And we will tell them the truth: We wonder that, too. From our standpoint, we want to make sure folks understand all the services that are offered by us as part of our standard development process – brainstorming, wireframing, researching technical requirements, developing software architecture, building mock-up versions, and so forth. These services are vital, they bring significant value to the process, and they require an investment of time, energy, and money. In fact, they are needed in order to determine overall cost. From our end we want to make sure we understand, among other things, what type of budget a client is prepared to invest in a project, at the same time they’re wanting to understand what we do and what they can expect in terms of costs. So in an interesting way, both sides are focused on cost, but from entirely different perspectives.
An so an early discussion point goes along these lines – one party wanting to know how much something will cost, the other wanting to know how much can be spent, and both simultaneously trying to figure out if the relationship is the right fit for them. Here’s the thing – these types of discussions really work best the old-fashioned way. Face to face, in a meeting, with time spent getting to know each other. They just don’t work the same over the phone, or over Skype. And yet we–and I mean all of us–are so often trained in rapid communication, that relationship building can seem foreign at times. After all, we can check bank statements through an App – no need to call or visit our bank. We can place orders for pizza through a phone or web browser – no need to call the pizza parlor. We can send emails or texts quickly to those we conduct business with, and get quick answers to our questions. We can live-chat online if needed. On the rare occasions we do need to call businesses that we work with (the cable company, for instance) we generally expect to use an automated system, get the information we want, and be on our way. We only talk to someone when there doesn’t seem to be any other choice.
The great irony is that in an age of high-tech rapid communication, in-person relationships and meetings still work best for complex, long-term business partnerships. And so, when someone calls us asking about an app project, we’ll ask a few basic questions, and try to get a general overview of the project. Sometimes it’s evident right away that it’s not a fit. But if there is an opportunity to move forward, we quickly invite them t to come in for a Discovery Meeting, so we can get to know them better and take the time to understand what they want, and explain what we offer. After all – the willingness for both parties to commit valuable time and energy to exploring an opportunity, in itself, shows a lot. Folks that don’t want to invest that time, but rather are simply price shopping, are usually not a good fit for more experienced developers. And they often wind up with bigger headaches down the road, and having extremely negative development experiences because they wound up with the wrong partner who misled them with a low price or a fully outsourced/offshore model that doesn’t bring value in any area other than coding.
If you’d like to begin a software development project, or make a mobile app, or develop hardware and software projects together – talk to us. Come meet us. When both parties invest time early on, it’s a building block for a great long-term relationship.