Business Development · Growth

Ho to position my Software Services Startup business on the market

Ciprian Ilies Co-founder & Product Development Executive

June 26th, 2020

After 5 years of software development in a company I've decided to move in entrepreneurial world and start my own business. I need some advice on the following two areas:

  1. Do you have some good advise about positioning my startup business services on the market?
  2. Do you have some tips on how to find valuable clients at the beginning when we don't have any reviews or portfolio clients?

Any idea will help me!

Joseph Del Rivo Principal at INNOVATE studio

June 26th, 2020

I looked over your website and the skills and experience listed are impressive, but without a real portfolio of projects delivered by your new company, it will be difficult to attract direct customers. Most clients do not wish to be the first client of a new company. If you are looking for U.S. clients you may wish to partner with a U.S. company that can solicit and manage client relationships, allowing you to focus on development. You need a partnership relationship rather than a subcontractor relationship. Your partnership contract must allow you to list completed projects on your website portfolio as well as the partner's website. Once you have completed several projects and have some clients it will be possible for you to attract direct clients. If you are interested in pursuing this path send me a message.

Micah Stevens Software/Hardware Engineer

Last updated on June 26th, 2020

Marketing is THE problem you will have to solve. The actual engineering of the product is entirely secondary. Having a better mousetrap has always been a myth.

It's very unclear where you are in the product design, answering a few questions would help others pitch in what they may have to offer:

  1. Do you have a product in mind already?
  2. How far along in the design are you? Concept? Mock-ups? MVP? Well developed?
  3. Do you have one or more customers already?
  4. If you don't have customers, what experience do you have in the target market? How well does your network reach into the target market?
  5. Have you built software for the target market or customers before? How confident are you in your ability to understand their needs?

There are other more targeted questions that may arise, but letting us know this would be very helpful, otherwise it's too open of a question in my opinion.

Ciprian Ilies Co-founder & Product Development Executive

June 27th, 2020

Micah Stevens we do not have a product in mind we are an outsource software services agency. I will try to answer to your questions below:

1. We do not have a product on which we are working right now, we are trying to market our services as a company, being an outsourcing software services startup;

2. Same as above;

3. We do not have any clients yet, we just started our company;

4. We do not have to much marketing experience as we worked entirely as software developers for more than 5 years.

We discussed internaly about building a product but we need some financial stability first in order to start the development in this direction. For the first year we want to work as contractors for different projects and than to jump into the product development area.

Greg Buechler Sr Talent Acquisition: 925-487-9739

June 28th, 2020

  1. Network (LinkedIn) with people who have left your prior companies to see if their new companies have any projects that you can bid on
  2. This is a bit underhanded: Set up an Upwork account and basically hire yourself - Have one officer set up a company, and hire the other company out for a few 'jobs' and then give feedback scores [Yes, I know this is really underhanded, but it is child's play compared to some of the other stuff I have seen in this marketplace]
  3. Attack open-source problems that have bounties
  4. Local/regional charities, NGO's, etc., that may need work done - offer a discounted rate initially, with a stepped rate schedule based on deliverables

Sebastian Scheerer Co-Founder of Wunderlist & ottonova Health Insurance

July 3rd, 2020

Hi Ciprian,

if I understand correctly you want to focus on the development as a service side at the moment and not building a product. Which is not bad and much closer to the money.

Positioning is the key here. You don't want to be the millionth off-shore/near-shore outsourcing company. Instead, pick a niche that resonates with you, that you have already a passion for or some knowledge about and find their biggest problem or challenges. Talk to them. Watch them. Try to understand them so well that you could write a page into their diary.

Then create an offer that addresses EXACTLY this problem. Then take that offer to market and see how the market responds. Listen to the feedback. If it clicks, great - Deliver it and see how that goes (and work on perfecting the delivery).

If it doesn't click with your market (if people don't buy or give you objections you can't answer) iterate on your offer until it does click.

The great thing about this approach is, that you can productise you service and really focus on delivering an outcome for your customers. This keeps things super simple and repeatable for you.

Another great thing is that you can sell an outcome/transformation and not hours. Because that's all people care about. If they have a big enough problem, and you're the guy with the exact solution, it does not matter how much hours you work on it. They don't care. They care about having their problem solved as fast as possible. And the price should reflect the size of the problem.

So if solving their problem will save or make them $50.000, you can take something like 10-15% of that easily. Even if it just takes you a day to deliver it.

I hope that helps, if you have any questions, just send me a DM.