I have found two completely seaprate niches, and identified the target markets for them both. I have comprehensive ideas and details on how the applications should work. I have a developer that I trust and work well with (I am the entrepreneur, not the developer). One of the applications in a SaaS, and the other one will be in the EMR realm. What is my first step?
Do I first incorporate as a software development company? Do I first write a business plan? Do I first try to create an Executive Summary for the applications? What is the first step? I want to approach this in a structured way since I am the business person and would need some preliminary documentation in order to obtain investment for paying my developer to actually create the software.
12 Steps To Starting Your Company
3 Unit Tests to to measure your progress Or the art of Changing Hats, Calendar Time and not waiting by the phone.
Below are step by step instructions based on my experience running a successful small software company for the last 14 years. Below that are some milestones for measuring your success along the way. These are principles that I just followed intuitively. My partner works in the industry our software serves and so a lot of this ("stay close to the customer" sort of stuff) was built in naturally. I violated the rules about finding customers first one time and that was the only one of my products that wasn't a success (it was, in fact, a miserable failure commercially. ).
How to make Calendar Time work for (instead of against) you I've found there's a certain amount of "Calendar Time" for things to develop. For example, it takes time for the customer to convert from a "prospect" to a paying customer, and it takes time for the effects of marketing (ads, Adwords, etc.) to take measurable effect. You can't speed up these Calendar Time events so tt's helpful to have something else to work on instead of "waiting by the phone". The steps below interlace marketing/sales and product development productively while also giving you something to do while waiting on something else.
Good cautionary reading: Common Startup Mistakes by the esteemed Paul Graham.
His response? One word:
Start an Adwords campaign to start finding out the right keywords. Make "beta trial sign up" one of your conversion metrics. A willingness to give out their email address is the closest (and dearest) thing you can ask of the visitors at this point. All visitors are not equally interested (or equally likely to buy your product). Ones that sign up to be a beta tester are much more likely to be worth your time selling to. The goal of the Adwords Campaign is to find which keywords are likely to attract customers, not simply attract visitors. If all you wanted were eyeballs on your site, you'd just advertise "free sex". But out of the nearly billion people on the internet, you want the folks who are likely to be your customers.
Startup Flow Chart
(I looked at several and far too many have "develop concept" before talking to actual users. Some just suggest you "have passion" or "talk to your friends", both of which aren't helpful and potentially harmful.
Does incorporation yield profits? No.
Does a business plan itself generate revenue? No.
Do things that lead consequently to making your business profitable.
After completing these two steps you'll be able to answer the following questions:
(A). Where can I find customers, how can I direct them to my application, what would they pay for and what marginal costs and profits would I have?
(B). Who are my real prospective customers and what do they actually want?
If you can answer those questions, you can start to develop your software. (Note that step 2 implies continuous work. It lasts simultaneously with software development).
As Susan stated, you should develop the big picture and concentrate on your strategy.
At the same time, you should empower the developer to write the requirements, you'll need it for the product strategy road map.
Then you should cross both documents in order to see if they are strategically aligned.
Here's an example of why this is important: if you plan to sell it in US, UK, Portugal and Germany, you will have market acquisition costs per country. If your strategy is to go for US and UK at the same time, the language localization software requirement will only be needed when you go for other markets, so your expansion plan must be aligned with the software version releases and feature prioritization.
All this should not take much time, as you've already made most of the hard work and your business plan probably does not require much detail.
Best of luck for your business ;)
It sounds like you need to do an opportunity evaluation to really explore the opportunities you have identified and develop a plan to execute them strategically. I have posted about this before in detail here. It's really important to develop the big picture first so you can concentrate on the strategic things that will drive your business forward. This process will also help you identify what the milestones are that prove to you that you have a profitable opportunity.
If it was me, I wouldn't incorporate etc yet. I would evaluate the opportunity and then test it at low cost in the market before spending a lot of time or money on development or building a business infrastructure.
Hope this helps
well the first thing you should do with your EMR is get extensive clinical experience. I am a nurse (who has a CS degree) and will be making an EMR soon-ish with some nurses (with CS degrees) because we have to use all these crappy EMRs made by people with little to no clinical experience. I can also tell you that the EMR field is heavily dominated by a few major players who have pretty much sewn up all the lucrative products, so you will basically need a side entrance - I have MANY side entrances as well as many contacts within health care organizations, you'll need that too to succeed. Get clinical people on your team, preferable RNs as they use these things far more than anyone else!
There are a massive amount of regulations that tie into EMRs, including a wide variety of certifications that need to be attained to sell to certain markets. Furthermore, the vast majority of hospitals use poor quality computers running Windows XP and IE 6.5 - you have to tailor your software to that market!
Great advices so far.
One thing you should consider, during this initial phase, is to secure a good domain name.
Domain names are hard to find and run out fast.
If you have all the ideas for the product, you probably have a name for it right?
Get a domain with that name while you still can, and then get the developer to create the landing page that Kirill talked about.
Once you have your plan defined, you should build Prof of Concept or demo version of your product. You'll need that to validate your ideas and get feedback on the features you're offering (and eventually even get some funding).
Hope this helps