In the past I have worked on some pretty big, and quite interesting, apps and web systems which were bespoke, built from the ground up with a team of developers and UX designers.
When a client approaches me to build a bespoke system, I often look at the market and see if there is something already out there we can use. For example if you have a room to rent, you wouldn’t build a website, add in SEO, pay for ad-words and set up a social media campaign etc… you would just list it on AirB&B because they have the system, marketing clout and reach far beyond anything you could achieve yourself.
From time to time, I have new clients approach me with the next big idea – something which was going to change the way we work…
Once I had a client who wanted to combine a social media platform – similar to face book with a networking platform similar to linked in with a budget which could only cover the cost of a website build. I pointed out that both facebook and linkedin have costs several millions and years to develop and what he was proposing wasn’t achievable unless money no object.
Anyway my story isn’t about that – that was just pointing out that some clients have ideas but zero budget – an to be honest – just an idea and nothing more…
This is a story about a client who did have a budget, a sizable one, he knew the market place and knew there was a need – so far so good, music to my ears. His system was unique and needed bespoke web development. I scoped the project out and it was achievable and affordable. However there was one missing element; It was untried and untested. I could have easily built the system, invoiced him and off he goes…
But I like to help people succeed and encourage anyone to start small, test the market, see if there is a demand and scale up. For me long term relationships is a much better way of working than quick wins.
I proposed we design a brand and front end website and then set up the process using a ‘free’ dropbox account, and linking email with Zapier to perform the process. It was a little bit of manual process but at least we could create the same system at a fraction of the cost, saving the client thousands of pounds in upfront web development costs. This enabled the business to get up and running and build a client base from the ground up.
That client has grown organically and we are now replacing the manual process with a system which is now tailored to the business and far different from the original brief.
The moral of the story is to make sure there is a demand for your service.