Thoughts on startups

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When we started our development firm a few years ago, not every new information technology company was called as a startup. The concept of a lean startup was also easier to apply: just make sure that costs are kept to the minimum and time is managed as efficiently as possible.

Once you take this mentality and your thinking shifts towards creating a company and building a product this way, you will see how immensely productive this approach is. Of course, a collaborating team is also crucial to succeed: there is no place for individual privileges, nor for workplace drama, as it can make product development substantially slower, or even end it entirely.

After some time, depending on many unforeseeable factors, you will have reached an important milestone: bringing the product or service to the market. First as an MVP (minimum viable product), the most important for every startup, and then with paying clients, but yet not publicly offered.

At this point you have to very cautious, because there is a serious, but often neglected problem: “too many customers.” It’s very important to find a point where the evolution of the product (as it’s still in the development phase) and the customer support activity (which will naturally arise once sales were made) are in perfect harmony.

A probably familiar situation for many startuppers is when the first paying clients get a working, but not fully functional product, and ask 1024 question a day through every communication channel imaginable. There was absolutely no time to write a help, the product is not ready, still has many possible directions even for the founders, and the developers’ task list is full. This is when the entire team transforms into a 0-24 customer support and the time that could be spent on development is reduced to the extent that slows down progress.

It’s easy to see that this condition is far from ideal, and must be managed in a way that guarantees client satisfaction. My personal experience is that it’s very hard to do if you have a product there is a great demand for, but you must take the necessary steps and sacrifice short-term gains for long-term goals.

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