Roadmap to small business

IT news

a year ago

The world has become smaller with the inspiring capabilities to unify people within the global network. It seems that small businesses have never had so many tools to successfully leverage talents pool and emerge. Moreover, modern customers are eager to contribute to the market by sharing their experiences and encouraging desired changes.

We’ve come up with the roadmap to running a small business, considering the budding trends and stealable ideas of 2015-2016.

Connection economy

If you’re looking for inspirations to start a small business, consider involvement into the connection economy, which by estimates is going to be among leading trends in 2016. This implies setting connections between service providers and customers.

The value within this framework is in building convenient platforms that would allow customers to find matching sellers. Unlike assets-based companies, those who trade connections don’t require many spends on manufacturing and distribution.

“Facebook as a media hub doesn’t create content itself as well as Uber doesn’t own vehicles.”

Lean development

Proper planning is a cornerstone of success. It’s a common case for our development experience when client’s expectations considerably exceed both budget scope and actual project requirements. Some features and modules listed in initial documentation can be superfluous for the first launch version. These don’t contribute to success but entail expenditures and delays, which can be painful for small businesses.

The lean development technique is designated to eliminate the superfluous efforts and focus on the major project aspects. It takes much determination to document your desired ideas and tag the 2/3 of these as waste.

So the key principles of the lean development are:

  • Get rid of waste;
  • Focus on value;
  • Develop within an iterative workflow;
  • Align deliverables with clear milestones;
  • Be fast;
  • Optimize.

This approach will allow to launch earlier, start growing and building grounds for all desired features.

Crowd investments

A tight budget is among the most trivial reasons why 90% of startups doomed to failure. Technologies and the related tendency to globally connect people have improved the situation by the democratisation of fundraising. As the crowdfunding is widely known, there’s also its less popular sibling. The crowd investing (equity crowdfunding) model is the way to sell slices of a company by receiving small investments from individuals. In this case, the amounts can start with $10, and the average investment is $3000.

Investments are still overregulated in most of the states and remain the privilege of an elitist club. However, unlisted small businesses can rely on a number of existing online services that process equity crowdfunding on their premises. So, even if you want to establish a hot dog stand and you’re short of money, try visiting CircleUp and Crowdfunder for the US and Crowdcube and InvestingZone for the U.K. You may be surprised by how many people are ready to contribute in order to see their investments turning into a developing business.

Strength-based leadership

Facebook, 3M, Google, and a number of other unapproachable giants are doing this. Probably, that’s the main reason why small businesses hesitate to do this. According to Ian Altman’s piece in Forbes covering the trends of 2016, the strength-based leadership philosophy is the “top businesses” trend. But the technique can easily be adopted by small firms as well.

The idea behind the strength-based leadership is to let employees be engaged in things they are passionate about and skilled in, rather than to correct their skillsets to fit into a particular niche.

Being innovative implies focusing on strength:

  • Freedom of choice. Ask employees who want to get in charge of a task instead of assigning it according to the rigid matrix of responsibilities.
  • The diversity of talents. As a company primarily hiring full-stack developers, we know the sense of diversity. Versatile professionals build a flexible team forming ingenious combinations to handle unconventional projects.
  • The power of transparency. Be a listener, not a speaker. Being attentive to what your colleagues say and encouraging their passions will respectively lead to greater openness as well as further findings.
  • The variety of opinions. Once you empower creative thinking, you’ll face the clash of opinions among your teammates. This rivalry is a fertile environment for promising options, and your role as a leader is to efficiently select the best direction to move forward.

Although avoiding generic approaches is always a risk, it’s worth trying for small businesses since the feedback from employees is rapid and a small team can be extremely flexible.

Outsourcing

The times when hesitations regarding whether to outsource or not have long gone. According to Forrester Research in 2015, 542 000 IT jobs only were done overseas, which is about a half of the existing software development market growth. Nonetheless, some entrepreneurs consider outsourcing as a too risky step, and a number of analysts argue that outsourcing may even increase spends if compare with an equivalent in-house approach.

There are several misconceptions about outsourcing that make CEOs of small firms turn their backs on this alternative. The major one is to consider it as the way to reduce costs only, which is perhaps inferior to other benefits.

You definitely should outsource to fill in specific gaps in your expertise. The global pool of talents, especially for IT technicians, is what can be a great source of unique skillsets.

Reluctant marketing

A lot of marketing campaigns still intend to promote only and fail to provide value or experiences. However, the ways to efficiently leverage content marketing are continuously evolving. And one of the most promising trends today is reluctant marketing.

Sometimes it’s extremely hard for a customer to decide a service or a product which is actually needed and conforms with available finances. Making your pitch with “Take two for the price of one” doesn’t resolve doubts. Here is why generating content which helps to choose the right service or the product may be highly valuable for customers.

Here’re the major principles of leveraging customer’s reluctance:

  • Provide a manual on how to make the right choice;
  • Showcase the product in use;
  • Don’t be afraid to describe both advantages and disadvantages;
  • Be more human, unbiased, and believable.

While assisting, you raise customer’s trust and it’s likely that the final choice will be made towards your brand.

Mobile

Although the development of mobile applications or making your website responsive is considered to be pricey, going mobile is still the way to enhance your sales greatly. Moreover, there are platforms and technologies that streamline a development course and reduce expenses. For instance, we at DDI Development constantly utilize the PhoneGap framework to deliver mobile applications faster and on tighter budgets.

To depict the emerging importance of mobile sales, we’ve composed the concise infographic covering online sales and browsing on 2015 Thanksgiving and Black Friday in the US.

Making the world a better place

The future has officially come, and, by the way, Marty McFly has arrived. These are the times when capitalism is being rethought. Modern customers seek inspirations and want to be engaged in the world-changing contexts.

It’s hard to stay insensitive to what Elon Musk does, and people are buying Tesla not only because it’s an awesome car but also because it prevents the environment from pollution. Uber has made commuting as affordable and fast as it has never been before. As well as Google contributes to science by their innovative and at times surreal initiatives.

“When purchasing, a customer doesn’t want to add a check mark of another item in a to-buy list only, but become a character of a story, one of different.”

It seems that making the world a better place is an unmanageable mission for small businesses, but it’s more the matter of ingenuine thinking than of a big budget. Consider the ways your service makes live better and focus on it.

Eventually, this commitment will be the decisive argument for your customers to be engaged.

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