How to Spend Less on a Web Project
Ideas are cheap.
As a business owner, your ideas cost you nothing but the time you spend thinking about them on your commute to work. While they are still in your head, these business ideas seem easy to create and all appear equally valuable because they have all cost you the same - nothing.
But the reality is, every idea requires investment to implement.
Once investment comes into play, it suddenly becomes difficult to know firstly, which idea to invest in, and secondly how much to invest. While our blog post on The Real Cost of a Web Project covers the second issue, this post will focus on the first.
What should I build to help my business?
The short answer; as little as possible.
Typically when you attempt to bring dozens of business ideas to the table and have them fight it out for dominance, personal bias can get in the way. Idea owners in particular can get attached to their creations, and take affront to any criticism directed at them.
These ideas need to be viewed less as expressions of personal creativity and reflections of self (however great), and more as what they truly are;
Business ideas are potential pathways to greater efficiency.
This seemingly small shift in semantics will greatly improve your ability to prioritise and select an idea to follow through on. When you have an idea for your business, what you are really thinking about is how to make an aspect of your business more efficient. This idea for efficiency can be internal, such as an automated workflow feature to speed up the time it takes to process an order, or it can be external such as a new product or service that better helps your customers and increases your sales. But no matter the idea, your actual goal is to make your business more efficient, and your idea is a hypothesis of something you think will help achieve it.
There are a number of ways to categorise efficiencies within a business. Below are Webscope’s top three;
- Sales Efficiencies revolve around increasing and sustaining a healthy sales pipeline and ultimately increasing revenue.
- Process Efficiencies are centred on automating or reducing manual tasks and ultimately decreasing expenditure.
- Strategic Efficiencies focus on exposing and highlighting strategic insight and ultimately protecting and increasing market share.
Once you can define the efficiency you are trying to create for your business, you may discover there are other solutions that can achieve it better than your original idea.
Ultimately, the solution you should build to help your business is the one that will produce the greatest efficiency with the best return on investment.
We call this solution, the Minimum Viable Product, and it's the core of what we do at Webscope.
Minimum Viable Product - Size is everything!
The Minimum Viable Product (MVP for short) is the smallest deliverable we can produce, that will create the greatest business efficiency, with the best return on investment. Our aim is to make that deliverable as small as we can. The smaller we can make it - the shorter the timeline, the lower the budget, and the faster we can realise that return on investment. In this case - size is everything!
Aside from helping you to spend less (which is a refreshing change), the other main driver for building the smallest thing possible is to get it in front of real people sooner to test the viability of the solution. We use these early tests to determine if what we are producing is not only on the right track, but also that the original idea creates the desired efficiency in the first place. There is nothing worse than creating something that nobody uses, or that doesn’t produce a viable return. We’d rather create something of real value. Build small, release early, and do the right thing at the right time for the right reasons.
This MVP approach encourages you to invest in software development that will have the biggest positive impact on your business.
The next time you have a great idea for your business, take the time to discover what efficiency it is creating within your organisation. With that efficiency in mind, you can determine if there are other solutions that will produce a greater impact with a better return on investment.
Try spending less on your next web project.