You’re Not Making an App. You’re Building a Business

Contributor: Christopher White

Here at sneakers HQ we have the honor of meeting Founders/CEOs/Executives who have the goal of building a new business, or growing an existing one, and they’ve determined that the best way to do this is by creating a digital product such as an app or a website. Typically, these are folks who don’t have a background in building digital products and, unfortunately, never had anyone tell them how hard it is to create good, lasting digital products that advance their business goals.

 

Thankfully, a lot of the people that we meet have had a relative amount of success. However, it’s more often the case that we meet Founders/CEOs/Executives who have experienced any number of difficulties trying to create successful businesses that rely heavily on digital products and are just flat out frustrated.

 

You might be asking yourself, well what are they so frustrated about? It’s just software right? There’s tons of computer programmers and designers out there who know how to write software and design screens. It can’t be THAT hard can it? Well, think again. More often than not, after investing a lot of hard earned money and precious time, the only thing they have to show for it is a product that isn’t performing for their business because it suffers, to name a few things, from:

 

  • Tons of features,

 

  • Deficient user experience,

 

  • Poor quality/performance,

 

  • Lack of clear user value.

 

Sometimes the product itself is a great idea, but suffers from poor execution. Other times, it might be a lackluster product idea, executed to precision. Worst case, it’s both: poor product idea + poor execution.

 

In almost every case, these Founders/CEOs/Executives are suffering because they took the path of least resistance when trying to build their product. And who can blame them? There’s no manual for building digital products. There’s no right or wrong way of doing it. And rarely does anyone have a limitless budget. The honest truth is that they usually got some bad advice or read some blog post about agile development and figured they should just get started building stuff. Or, as they say in the marines, they suffered from “good initiative, bad judgement.”

 

Fortunately, or maybe unfortunately depending your perspective, we’ve identified a number of patterns of behavior taken by Founders/CEOs/Executives that can almost guarantee an underperforming digital product:

 

  • Hiring one or more freelancers thinking that a loosely knit group of people can function as a cohesive team,

 

  • Deciding to try to build out their own team when they had no idea about the true nature of the roles that they needed to hire for and lacked the necessary skills, experience, and/or advisors to properly qualify candidates,

 

  • Succumbing to wishful thinking and enlisting the help of an inexperienced offshore team because the price was so cheap that they literally couldn’t help themselves, and/or,

 

  • Enlisting the help of a large agency that overcharges while delivering marginal additional value.

 

But there’s hope. Here at sneakers we pride ourselves on taking businesses from 0 to 60 via lean digital product teams that deliver value from day one. With a pragmatic approach to digital product strategy and development, we insure that your apps and websites are working for and not against your business.

 

Please feel free to reach out to me here on LinkedIn or via email at [email protected]. We’d love to hear from you and your business. Also, feel free to give us some feedback on this article or share your own personal story/struggle with building products.

 

Cheers,

 

Chris

 

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The Sneakers Agency provides digital product strategy and development focused on end-to-end platform solutions for web, iOS & Android. We work with enterprises and startups to align their digital initiatives with their near and long term business goals. We prefer clients who can appreciate our ‘work hard, laugh hard’ ethos.

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