by Andrew Amann, CEO of NineTwoThree Digital Ventures
Transforming a compelling business idea into a captivating digital product demands hard work, inspiration, and keen technical skills. A thorough understanding of the target market and business domain for the app or website also helps ensure a successful outcome. Many successful modern software development projects rely on acquiring these insights while also trying to build a highly technical team of engineers. All while the initiative is already in progress! But isn’t that a risky approach?
In the end, crafting any successful digital venture requires the entire team to learn quickly throughout the project lifecycle. This includes determining the market fit for the digital venture, any new technical considerations, user concerns, and more. Here are some insights on these issues aimed at entrepreneurs, along with a few best practices for “learning while building.”
What Entrepreneurs Must Understand About Building Digital Ventures
Simply having a great business idea offers no guarantee of building a successful mobile app or interactive website that has product market fit or revenue. You first need to forge a team filled with talented developers and designers, led by a project manager boasting tangible experience crafting digital ventures for startups. In fact, this managerial role closely parallels the vision and skills possessed by modern CEOs in the technology industry.
As noted earlier, a deep understanding of the target market for the digital venture plays a critical role in its chances at success. Leverage multiple sources, such as industry research and well-crafted customer questionnaires to gain these insights. Notably, when building a minimum viable product (MVP) as part of the project, user testing of that MVP offers critical awareness on the venture’s potential to quickly make a positive impact.
Additionally, if you hope your startup rides the coattails of its viral digital venture to massive levels of success, the knowledge of how larger enterprises operate becomes vital. Perhaps your project manager boasts a similar entrepreneurial spirit as you but has experience with larger businesses? Leverage their insights to keep the organization running smoothly at scale.
Don’t forget about the risk of losing a family-like culture after a startup grows larger. The ability to show up on time, complete your work, and play office politics don’t seem to matter at the time, but these soft lessons become ingrained in your management style. Ultimately, it is important to learn from others while understanding emotions and empathy. Do not skip this step as an entrepreneur!
Strategies For Learning Fast While Building a Digital Venture
The Lean Startup software development methodology provides many useful strategies for quickly crafting compelling mobile apps in an environment focused on learning. We previously talked about building an MVP as part of the project; a concept that comes from Lean Startup. The MVP is used as part of the Learn-Measure-Build (LMB) cycle, which quickly puts a functional version of an app or website in the hands of users. Developers use the test results to learn whether the app achieves the vision of its design while meeting the needs of the target market. After interpreting this information, the development team subsequently makes relevant changes to the design and code, and the iterative process recycles.
Note that our LMB cycle is backwards compared to Lean Startup’s Build-Measure-Learn cycle. We feel structuring things in this manner places the onus on the importance of learning while building. It also provides a better match for how software development projects evolve in the real world.
In the LMB approach, the team designs a learning plan at the beginning of the project, as well as metrics suitable for measuring the test results in each subsequent project cycle. Because of this approach, developers are able to build an app that truly meets the needs of the market and user base. Following this approach ultimately improves your chances of crafting a digital venture able to transform your startup into a technology giant.
Andrew Amann is an experienced intrapreneur and entrepreneur. He has successfully launched eight startups, including the digital business card solution, Inigo App, acquired by Royaltie. Since co-founding NineTwoThree Digital Ventures in 2012, Andrew Amann has helped launch countless ventures for clients and emerging companies and turned his business into one of the fastest-growing private companies in America.