Startup & MVPBY RabIT software engineering · August 07, 2018

Entrepreneurs, very often in their excitement, start developing a business idea into a tangible product without determining whether there is a market for it. When you do that, you are likely wasting your time and money on a product that no one wants. That is why it is essential that you know how to validate a business idea first.

Validating a business idea enables you to find out if there is a need for it in the market, can it solve crucial pain points, the number of potential consumers, and how much money they would pay for it. Here are a few ways to validate your idea before developing the product prototype.

Already have a validated business idea? Here is something to help you choose the best software development company for your business.

 

How to Validate a Business Idea?

 

1. Do an Online Search:

It is possible that your idea is not unique at all. Through a simple online search, you can discover products that might have germinated from a similar idea-seed. It is better to think of a new idea if your concept does not offer something extra special or improves the way of doing things.

 

2. Set Up a Landing Page

Setting up a standalone web page, the landing page, helps determine if there is a market for your business idea or not. Your landing page should have a value proposition, concise content, images, and clear call-to-action, and you can promote it on start-up platforms, social media platforms, through SEO and targeted ads. If there is a need for the product, the target audience would flock to your landing page; and if not, you will know from the results.

 

Create an Explainer Video

Visual content does a better job of explaining than text. You can properly demonstrate your product, its features, and benefits through explainer videos. The live and animated videos can tell the target audience about the value proposition. Moreover, you can accelerate engagement with them. This helps to identify the merits and demerits of your business idea.

Here is the very first DropBox demo video voiced by founder, Drew Houston back in 2008. This simple video about an MVP helped grow their beta subscriber list from 5,000 to 75,000 people overnight.

 

Hypothesis Testing

You can assess your value proposition via hypothesis testing methodology, without developing a product prototype. You can use either a Wizard of Oz MVP or a Concierge MVP to validate your business idea.

  • Concierge MVP: You provide the value proposition manually to a small group of test customers, without involving any technology. You perform the service following the same steps as the final product.
  • Wizard of Oz MVP: In this method, you make the test customers believe that the process is automated, and no humans are involved. They see the working front of your product (often a simple landing page), while you complete the service manually in the background.

 

Crowdfunding Sites

With crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter and IndieGoGo, you can gauge the level of interest in your business idea, as well as determine whether the product can solve specific pain points. Moreover, you also find out if the product is exciting enough to get funded.

 

Single-Feature MVP

Single-feature minimal viable product (MVP) enables you to test one core aspect of your idea. You give your end-users this one-core-feature product to use, to get early feedback. It is one of the easiest methods by which you can validate or invalidate your business idea, and you can do so on a shoestring budget.

Now that you have a basic idea about how to validate a business idea, you can get creative and start reaching out to your customers to find out first hand if your idea really has merit or not.

 

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Here are some useful tools that can help you on your idea validation journey:

Toolkit for concept testing – QuickMVP, SurveyMonkey

Create modern landing pages – Instapage, Leadpages, ClickFunnels

Drive traffic to your online pages – Google Ads, Bing Ads, Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads

 

If you need more advice on how to validate a business idea, or plan your first MVP, feel free to ask your questions via e-mail at info@rabit.hu, or by signing up for a free consultation here. We will do our best to answer all your questions, no strings attached. Thanks for reading!

RabIT software engineering

RabIT is an innovative software engineering company from Hungary. Our goal is to help startups and enterprises drive growth through technology innovation and make a real impact in their industries.

Code quality and transparency are our main priorities throughout each project.

SoftwareBY RabIT software engineering · July 03, 2018

Build or buy software? Many business owners wrestle with this question while addressing their software needs. They struggle to decide whether to opt for ready-made or custom software, as both the options have their pros and cons. Off-the-shelf software vs custom software is a decision that depends on various factors, including your business needs, the cost, and the benefits and risks associated with tailor-made and ready-made software.

Here are some pros and cons to consider when weighing whether to opt for custom software or order ready-made.

 

Pros of Off-the-Shelf Software

  1. The ready-made software is a commercial product that is available for everyone, and because of that, you can buy it at a lower initial cost.
  2. Buying of the software allows fast implementation, and its proper documentation, including user manuals, makes it easy to adopt.
  3. Moreover, it has already been tested and proven to be useful for your business needs. Importantly, experts have designed its functionalities after determining the industry’s needs. If you have a small budget, it makes sense to invest in ready-made software.

Cons of Off-the-Shelf Software

  1. However, as off-the-shelf software addresses common business needs, it may not resolve your specific requirements.
  2. You also cannot add new features, remove unnecessary features, or modify its inbuilt functionalities; therefore, you cannot scale it to meet expanding needs and larger demands of your business.
  3. You also fail to get an edge over your competitors, as they may be using the same software.
  4. With ready-made software, there are also integration challenges. It may not be compatible with your diverse set of systems, which will affect your business performance.
  5. And, you may have bought custom software at a low price, but its cost will gradually increase because of updates, maintenance, and compatibility issues.

 

Pros of Custom Software

  1. Custom software can be a perfect fit for your business as you get it with the aim to resolve specific requirements. It is unique, highly compatible with other systems and applications, and provides you with flexibility.
  2. With custom software, you also stay ahead of the technology curve, which gives you an edge over your competitors.
  3. Moreover, you get the freedom to add new features, make changes, and set a time for further updates.
  4. You can also scale it up to meet the expanding and evolving needs of your business.

Cons of Custom Software

  1. However, unlike ready-made software, the custom software takes time to build, as developing something from scratch is a lengthy process.
  2. It demands a higher investment – both money and time.
  3. You will usually have to spend considerable time testing it and ensuring that it is bug-free. To make this part easier for our clients, our QA team devotes considerable time and effort to make sure that every released version works free of errors.
  4. It may also take time to implement custom software if there is no proper user documentation. This is why we think that writing clear and detailed documentation has to be closely integrated into the development process itself.
  5. Anything that comes with the custom tag costs more than solutions developed for mass market. The cost is likely to rise further if your development team does not have the skills necessary to build custom software. You must have a strong, capable team if you want to make it well worth your investment.

 

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Questions to Ask Before Making a Definite Decision

Now that you know the pros and cons, here are some simple questions that you need to ask yourself to determine whether to choose off-the-shelf software vs custom software for your business.

  • Can my business benefit from new cutting-edge technologies?
  • Is there going to be a change in my business structure?
  • Do I plan to scale my business in the future?
  • Will I introduce new services or products in the future?
  • Is there a solution available in the market that fully resolves my pain points?
  • Whether I can afford custom software?

 

Final Thoughts

You can opt for custom software if you have the budget, a great deal of time, and expanding business needs. The ready-made software, on the other hand, is an ideal solution for you if your budget is limited, and you cannot afford to expend time and resources.

If after reading this article and answering these questions you think custom software is the way to go for your business, lets talk about your solution during a free consultation. This way you can get all the necessary information to get started, without any long-term commitment.

If you would like to learn more about working together with a software development team, follow our social media pages.

RabIT software engineering

RabIT is an innovative software engineering company from Hungary. Our goal is to help startups and enterprises drive growth through technology innovation and make a real impact in their industries.

Code quality and transparency are our main priorities throughout each project.

Startup & MVPBY RabIT software engineering · May 24, 2018

If you haven’t been living under a rock with no WiFi for the past few years, you probably noticed that blockchain startups are all the rage nowadays.

By today, the term blockchain has become synonymous with cryptocurrencies, thanks to the media hype surrounding these topics. To be fair, virtual tokens like Bitcoin and Ethereum were really the driving forces that popularized blockchain technology.

However, it is important to understand that there is much more to blockchain than moving and keeping track of cryptocurrencies.

High security, decentralization, immutability, transparency and trust are only a few reasons why industries like finance & banking like blockchain technology.

However, the system also has some pretty significant disadvantages that people rarely talk about. Slow and expensive data encryption / decryption, high costs of maintaining a large computer network, opposing regulation all pose significant barriers to fully adopting blockchain technology.

Despite these obstacles, there already are a lot of blockchain startups out there that are trying to utilize these benefits in new and innovative ways.

 

HERE ARE 10 OF THESE BLOCKCHAIN STARTUPS:

 

OpenBazaar

OpenBazaar is a permissionless online marketplace. It utilizes Blockchain technology to create a decentralized network, that allows everyone to connect directly to other users and trade with them. Unlike other eCommerce sites such as eBay or Amazon, this network isn’t controlled by a company. This means that there are no mandatory fees to pay, and that trade is censorship-resistant.

 

FarmaTrust

FarmaTrust is a tracking system which was created to make sure that counterfeit drugs do not enter the global supply chain. This blockchain startup exists to provide security to pharmaceutical companies, governments, regulators and the public. Their system also utilizes Artificial Intelligence and advanced data analytics to help everyone in the pharmaceutical supply chain identify counterfeit drugs before they reach the market.

 

Ripe.io

Ripe.io is building an unprecedented food quality network that maps out the food journey to answer what’s in our food, where it comes from and what has happened to it. “Building the blockchain of food”, their main goal is to change and improve the food supply chain through blockchain and the Internet of Things.

 

CPROP

CPROP is a blockchain real estate transaction management platform. It was created to solve the main problems and relieve the stress associated with buying and selling property. The platform uses blockchain technology to make the entire transaction process viewable for all permissioned parties to see, building much needed trust and transparency.

 

 

ShoCard

ShoCard is a mobile digital identity card that provides verification of your identity via the blockchain. Enterprise identity authentication, faster and always accurate customer authentication for banking and retail, passenger verifications for airlines, driver license always on your phone. These are only a handful of possibilities of ShoCard.

 

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Props

Props created a decentralized ecosystem of video applications to solve what they call the biggest problem in “social”: a few platforms dominate and control the digital media distribution. Their strength depend on the millions that contribute, yet those only gain a fraction of the value they provide. Props helps users earn for their contributions to a network and have a stake in the community they are growing.

 

Voatz

Voatz wants to make voting easier, tamper proof and verifiable. They want to make voting possible with the simple push of a button from home instead of going to a voting office. Voatz could eliminate all of the flaws in our current voting system, thanks to the implementation of blockchain technology.

 

 

Tealet

Tealet is an online farmers market for tea. Independent tea growers are connected directly to their retail and wholesale buyers. Tealet serves as a transparent supply chain platform that provides optimized online marketing, international logistics, and low-cost payments via cryptocurrency. Furthermore they teach local farmers to produce their own quality tea instead of just producing in batches.

 

DentaCoin

Dentacoin is the first blockchain concept designed for the Global Dental Industry. They created a platform with their own ERC20 token, configured to be used globally in an attempt to improve dental care worldwide, while making it more affordable thanks to the power of the crowd.

 

 

Arcade City

Arcade City created an application which aims to beat Uber at their own game by moving ride sharing and car hiring to the blockchain. Their platform combines the idea of sharing economy with collaboration to help top drivers earn more than ever before, fully secure.

 

Remember, the technology is still in baby shoes. These blockchain startups are among the early adapters. Nobody really knows how efficiently blockchain can be implemented in these industries on the long term.

Although there are already a lot of ideas for implementation, most of these would be possible to execute without blockchain as well. A lot of blockchain startups are simply using the insane media hype around the technology to raise capital faster.

While most of these ideas sound really attractive in theory, we would advise everyone to look at them with a healthy dose of scepticism for now.

The system still requires a lot of invested time and money, and more support from regulatory authorities. It is not just a disrupting technology, but a base for transformation with the potential to change the world.

 

The fact is that interest for Blockchain is still growing every day. Some statistics from a Deloitte survey:

  • Nearly 75 percent of executives see a business case for it
  • Only 22 percent surveyed don’t see a compelling application
  • 43 percent of the respondents said blockchain is one of their top-five strategic priorities.
  • 25 percent of respondents expect to invest more than $5 million in blockchain technology during the next calendar year.

SOURCE: Deloitte

 

In the near future, this new technology could help you offer your services from a completely new angle, potentially even transforming your entire value chain. On the other hand, investors could also end up losing interest in blockchain systems in a few years, causing it to fall out of favor.

Only time will tell.

RabIT software engineering

RabIT is an innovative software engineering company from Hungary. Our goal is to help startups and enterprises drive growth through technology innovation and make a real impact in their industries.

Code quality and transparency are our main priorities throughout each project.

SoftwareBY RabIT software engineering · April 10, 2018

Today, companies of all shapes and sizes are starting to use digital technology to bypass the limitations of the physical world. New advances in this field allow them to release their products to the market faster, to reach the right customers, while offering a near perfect user experience. Although the world started business digitization decades ago, we are still only taking baby steps compared to what can be accomplished in the future.

In this article we will help you ask the right questions to determine if you can use digital solutions yourself to help your company reach its full potential.

There are a lot of reasons to start digitizing your own company, and a blog post wouldn’t be enough to talk about everything here. For now, we collected 7 common reasons why you should consider introducing digital technologies to your own business processes.

At the end of each point, we will provide you with some questions that you can ask yourself. Our goal here is to find out if it is time for you to start thinking of business digitization as a real growth strategy.

 

So why is business digitization important for you?

 

1. Your industry is open for disruption

No matter which industry you are in, everyone is susceptible to disruption. Thanks to digital technologies, new or existing players can revolutionize the way people perceive a product or service, making what other companies offer in that industry obsolete. Do you want to be disrupted or become the disruptor? The choice is yours.

disrtuption in business digitization

Uber is probably the best and most used example for disruption. The company used business digitization perfectly to provide an unbeatable user experience. They simply offer a faster, cheaper, more comfortable solution compared to taxi services. Ever since they appeared on the market, cab companies have a reason to fear for their existence. Don’t think this can’t happen to you.

 

 

If someone finds a brand new (and better) way to solve your customers’ problems, you have to respond. One way to prevent your business from falling behind is to follow industry trends closely, subscribe to every channel that is gaining in popularity, keep track of what your customers, competitors and partners are talking about. These channels can become excellent sources of new ideas and ways to help your target market.

Another important thing to do is to take every competitor seriously. A lot of market leading companies just decide to laugh off newcomers rather than devote time and resources to really get to know their strategy. History tells us that a lot of them wake up one day to realize that they have already fallen behind. Just think of what people said about Twitter back in 2006, and where the service is now.

 

Some important questions to ask yourself:

  • Are you aware of competitors who are offering new ways to answer customer needs?
  • Are you up-to-date about the newest trends in your industry?
  • Do you have the opportunity to become a disruptor for your industry?

 

2. You need to improve everyday efficiency

No matter how efficient you think you have become by today, there is always room for improvement thanks to new technological solutions. Using outdated legacy systems, operating processes manually that could be automated, poor communication between workers and managers, etc. Symptoms like these suggest that you are dealing with real problems that can be solved using digital solutions.

digitization

A custom-built enterprise management system can provide solutions to many of these problems by itself. You will find that business digitization greatly increases speed and efficiency, especially if the system is built specifically around your business. Also, you can finally transition from the pen & paper format to the Cloud, which is beneficial for both your business and the environment.

The fact that you are already using some kind of software doesn’t guarantee maximum efficiency. Software constantly needs to evolve and adapt to new business conditions, and scale together with the company. If your current software is slow and unreliable with frequent crashes, or incompatible with your newer systems, you probably need to consider updates or replacement. Replacing your inefficient software usually saves you money on the long term, compared to the high costs of maintaining outdated systems.

 

Some important questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you have any manual work processes that could be automated?
  • Is your current software system causing frustrations among your employees?
  • Are your software maintenance costs outpacing the value it provides?

 

3. You are not offering the best user experience

Do you feel like you put a lot of effort in your business but don’t get the results you want, while the competition seems to have no problem at all? Maybe you are not offering the right customer experience to your target audience. A fast and smooth user experience is imperative to succeed on the market, as customers today are used to instant gratification.

Pizza Hut can be a good example for new and creative customer experience solutions. They know that their customers hate waiting for their food in restaurants. They found a way to fight boredom by making the entire ordering process interactive using touch screens. 

Guests can even play games together while they wait for their pizza. Here’s the video.

 

Suitcase is another company that used business digitization to find a creative solution to one of mankind’s oldest problems: “most men hate shopping”.

They gather data about your measurements and taste preferences on their website. Then their team puts together hand picked outfits to meet your preferences and finally sends them to your doorstep. In a few clicks men can get a suitcase personalized to their needs. Don’t like what you get, send it back entirely or partially for free. This way men can always look their best without ever having to go shopping themselves.

Now think about your own business. Think about your customers’ needs and everyday problems, and try to find new creative solutions for them. You don’t have to be a multinational giant to offer the best experience, you just have to think outside the box.

 

Some important questions to ask yourself:

  • Do your customers face any difficulties while using your product / service?
  • Can you make your product / service easier to access for your customers?
  • Can you tap into new sources to gather feedback about your customers’ needs?

 

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4. You are not using the new channels to their full potential

Here we won’t talk about the uses of social media for example, because others have already got that covered. We want to emphasize the importance of data-based decision making when it comes to online channels instead. Correct use of data separates successful online campaigns from just throwing money out the window.

Data from your social media pages, website, webshop, blog and every other platform you are using should be collected, analyzed and taken into account while executing your online strategy. Tracking conversions, engagement, website traffic, lead generation and other important KPIs is essential to optimize your online efforts.

Most companies are not using big data to its full potential yet. It is difficult to integrate all the information from these separate sources, and see the full picture. For example, every social media platform has a different interface, which makes it difficult to compare the information from each site.

Social media API integration can provide a solution for this problem. You can create a software solution that gathers all the data from your social pages and integrates it in a single platform. Having everything in one place can help you gain a deeper insight into your customers’ behavior and save a lot of time as well. This is just one example of the endless ways business digitization can help you get more value out of your data.

 

Some important questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you know what channels are your target audiences using?
  • Do you have a clear goal and strategy to reach your audience?
  • Can you use data to help your business adapt to your customers’ needs and habits?

 

5. You are not thinking about mobile users

If you start business digitization without adapting to mobile users, you are definitely doing something wrong. People are shopping, browsing and socializing on their phones more than ever, and the numbers just keep growing. Our own AdWords data also shows that about 70% of website visitors found our website through their mobile phones.

family cell phone plans

 

Even if you don’t sell your services through mobile devices directly, you should still find a way to engage mobile users. Don’t hesitate to develop an app that complements your product. Look at what Nike has done. They just sell sport equipment, but still created an application that tracks your progress when you go out for a run.

digitization

In the healthcare industry doctors usually have their hands full with people asking for consultancy, so they needed electronic medical record (EMR) applications to become more time-efficient. Developers delivered, and these apps now make it possible for patients to track, monitor and save their own data and ask questions through the app, ultimately saving the doctors valuable time.

Hell, someone even created an app for farmers to track where their cattle are, check if their livestock is healthy or when the cows are due to be pregnant. The possibilities are limitless. Be creative, find solutions, develop your idea and gain profit.

If you do decide to optimize your website for mobile users or create your own mobile app, make sure that the final product is highly responsive, clean and easy to navigate on every device.

 

Some important questions to ask yourself:

  • Is my website adapted & responsive to mobile users?
  • Can you compliment your traditional product / service with a mobile app?
  • Can you use Appification and Gamification to your advantage?

 

6. Your supply chain has too many players

Digitization and new technologies allow your business to make the value chain shorter and offer more value to your customers. Today, companies can take everything into their own hands including distribution, promotion and building brand awareness.

You can buy shoes directly from Nike, tools from Black & Decker, cars from Tesla, laptops from Apple and so on… 

digitization

 

Today, everyone can set up their own online retail channel with relative ease. New players often start selling their products in their online stores first, and only open physical stores later when their brand has already gained recognition.

You don’t have to be a globally recognized brand to create a successful sales channel for your products. Ecommerce web builder platforms like Shopify or Magento can help you get started even if you don’t have any web development or design skills. Once your webshop is ready, you can get traffic by running an online ad campaign with AdWords, Facebook and Twitter Ads, etc. You have every tool you need to get started today at your fingertips.

You can also take branding and promotion into your own hands through content marketing. Find the key interests and pain points of your target audience, create content that is helpful, informative or simply fun for them and share it through channels like a blog, social media or websites like Medium.

 

Some important questions to ask yourself:

  • Can you create more value by bypassing the middleman?
  • Can you use any online tools to build your own sales & media channels?
  • If you are the middleman, can you become a media brand yourself?

 

7. You are not utilizing new technologies yet

Ignoring new technologies and solutions will cause you to fall behind to more innovative companies. Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and big data are just a few examples for technologies that can offer you brand new opportunities.

Amazon is the perfect example here. They have tons of information about their customers. They are now using AI to predict consumer purchase behavior to reduce shipping time as much as possible. Their ultimate goal is to achieve a one-hour delivery time for any order. 

It goes without saying that they also need to incorporate big data technology into their processes in order to achieve this. Amazon already has a famous IoT product as well, called Alexa. It acts as your personal digital assistant that allows you to use voice commands to shop online, turn on other devices around the house, and much more.

You don’t have to be a huge company like Amazon to use these new technologies. You can experiment with sales & marketing automation yourself with the help of AI and big data. For example, machine learning can help you make effective use of all your collected data about your customers.

For IoT, think about new solutions to add digital technology to your existing product in a way that creates additional value for your customers. Smart fridges that help you order groceries, smart shirts that can track your heart rate, smart cups that show drink temperature, etc. The possibilities are endless when it comes to IoT.

 

If you sell a product, make sure it is compatible with the future. Use data to your advantage, make smart use of digitization and AI to analyze everything that you can. Keep following trends and developments, and more importantly, act now! Anyone can become the next big thing, so why hesitate?

 

Some important questions to ask yourself:

  • Are you actively following the newest developments in your industry?
  • Can you add a digital element to your traditional product to add more value to it?
  • Can you find new sources of customer data, and a way to analyze it?

 

SUMMARY

In this article we tried to address some important new changes and opportunities that digitization can offer for modern businesses, big and small alike. Our goal here is to encourage you to question your traditional way of doing business, and help you rethink your entire company in order to succeed in this rapidly changing environment.

Other than opportunities, the digital revolution will definitely bring many new challenges as well. This is why it is more important than ever for you to follow latest trends and developments not only for your company, but for your entire value chain.

We wanted to state that it is no longer an option to ignore business digitization. Today’s businesses must become agile, and be quick to adapt to unexpected changes in their environment. We hope that you can get some new and creative ideas from these examples, that will help you reach success in the new digital era.

 

Thank you for dedicating your time to read this article! We want to help companies and entrepreneurs succeed during the 4th industrial revolution. If you’d like to talk about implementing digital solutions for your business, feel free to schedule a free consultation.

RabIT software engineering

RabIT is an innovative software engineering company from Hungary. Our goal is to help startups and enterprises drive growth through technology innovation and make a real impact in their industries.

Code quality and transparency are our main priorities throughout each project.