Next Big Thing in Custom Software (is Your Business)
What’s the next big thing in custom software? The real question is, what’s the next big thing on your plate? Most winning ideas come from innovative businesses trying to solve a problem. Sometimes it’s born of the type of frustration that comes from legacy or prepackaged software that doesn’t quite go the extra mile. It may even force you to change your business practices to match the software, and not in a good way. But amazing custom software can even take root in a side project. Here are some great examples to motivate you to get started on your next big thing in custom software.
Innovating past the competition…
If you’ve ever looked through the eyes of your customers, you know the importance of a fulfilling and painless experience. Reaching the end game to satisfy their needs through a smooth customer journey means the difference between winning or losing new and repeat business. Looking back at the David and Goliath battle of Netflix and DVD rental giant, Blockbuster, it’s clear that Netflix was passionate about the customer experience by developing a subscription service that didn’t penalize its customers with late fees. But Netflix founder, Reed Hastings, also had a vision, one that would eventually transform their DVD-by-mail service to a successful online streaming platform. Although Blockbuster turned down their proposal to represent the online division of Blockbuster, Hastings continued to pursue his dream. Early on, in 2005, he expressed to Inc his vision for the company’s future, “We want to be ready when video-on-demand happens. That’s why the company is called Netflix, not DVD-by-Mail.” The rest, of course, is history.
Frustration is opportunity knocking…
We’ve all experienced frustration in our personal lives. Your business, as well, can be the reason for your professional frustrations. Fortunately, many of the greatest business innovations came from problems that needed to be solved or to simply achieve a better way of getting something done. If you ever had trouble hailing a cab or finding time to go shopping, you probably thought that there’s got to be a better way. Answering those consumer frustrations can reap big rewards. For example, solutions like Uber and Lyft now bring us rides using a simple app. And most large retail chains are now rivaling Amazon to bring goods to your door. Aaron Patzer, founder of Web-based personal finance service Mint.com, had his own problems when dealing with money. He struggled with managing his finances although he used Quickens and Microsoft Money. So, he decided to develop better software, calling it Mint.com. It was simple, free, and successfully helped other users with budgeting. Definitely the next big thing in custom software for Patzer, Mint’s payback came to fruition when Patzer sold it to Intuit for $170 million dollars.
Something on the side…
Sometimes, as you move towards your business goals, other projects spring up to help get you there. But it’s something else altogether when that side project ends up becoming your success story. Some great examples of companies that grew out of an innovative side project include Hubspot, Slack, Twitter, Instagram, Groupon, Houzz, Craigslist, and countless others. Hubspot’s founder, Dharmesh Shah, for example, started his blog after selling his first startup. What he describes as a “tiny blog with no budget” caught on and is now worth an estimated $2 billion. Or, what about Twitter that grew out of a “tiny side project created by a podcasting platform?”
Keeping your customers happy will help your business thrive. Not compromising your products or services will move you ahead of the competition. But being innovative has the potential of turning your industry on its head. So, don’t stay on the sidelines when a whole new way of doing business, or just improving the way it’s done, is inevitable. You could be the next BIG thing in custom software.
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