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WEB/DIGITAL FINALLY a breakthrough! Now what?

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Carny

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After months of indecision and inaction I had 3 ideas just yesterday, two of which I will definitely pursue. I'm still on the fence with the third. It's like I was in the "need zone". I just found one need after another and ways to solve them. It was incredible! It was all so clear! I was playing with my son and kept running to the office to write down ideas.

The idea I'm most excited about is a program for businesses to help manage customers. The problem is I'm not a programmer, yet anyway. I've read the debate about learning to program. It may not be true fastlane, but its something I was interested in long before I ever heard of TMFL so I want to use my excitement for this venture to push me to learn coding now.

What I'm picturing will need to be able to do the following:
  1. Allow business owners to enter customer information
  2. Send notices to the owners about the customers
  3. Charge my customers monthly and allow them to charge their customers monthly automatically
  4. Be web accessible
  5. Possibly support a mobile app
  6. Allow owners to track progress and give an overview of performance with charts, graphs, etc
Should I be looking at making a stand alone product or can I do this as a website? I hope to have hundreds of customers, and they will hopefully have hundreds as well so that is a lot of information.

I don't even know where to start searching for what I need to know.

Thanks in advance!
 

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Carny

Bronze Contributor
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Mar 20, 2013
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I want to be clear that I'm not asking for you to hold my hand, just advice on which direction I should go so that I can research and learn on my own. I just want to know WHAT I should learn! Thanks!
 

Lathan

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May 24, 2013
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From the information you've provided, I would say your next step could be reaching out to an experienced programmer and ask him about what all it would involve to create a software that can do what you need it to do. I know you plan to do the coding yourself, but it may help you to get input from a programmer with some experience under his/her belt. That way you have a clue of what you are dealing with and how long it may take you to develop it.


Allow business owners to enter customer information
What kind of customer information are you talking about? if it is personal information?

Charge my customers monthly and allow them to charge their customers monthly automatically
Charge their customers monthly for what? Isn't the software benefiting the business rather than the customer? What is the customer paying for? Maybe I'm not understanding the business model.
 

smarty

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First you should find ways to test if your idea will work, find at least one person who would be willing to pay you money for it.
Then regarding to development, I would strongly suggest you to hire a developer because if you think you can learn to develop it in just a few months, I can assure you it's more work than you think and so many fancy-details that are only learned with experience. In the meantime you can learn certain aspects of project development of course.
 

Carny

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Mar 20, 2013
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From the information you've provided, I would say your next step could be reaching out to an experienced programmer and ask him about what all it would involve to create a software that can do what you need it to do. I know you plan to do the coding yourself, but it may help you to get input from a programmer with some experience under his/her belt. That way you have a clue of what you are dealing with and how long it may take you to develop it.

That is a great suggestion. It may be easier than I think and cheap to get done.


What kind of customer information are you talking about? if it is personal information?

General info, name, address, phone, etc.


Charge their customers monthly for what? Isn't the software benefiting the business rather than the customer? What is the customer paying for? Maybe I'm not understanding the business model.

The businesses will be charging their customers for services they provide. I will help the businesses keep track of everything. I know that's vague, I may divulge more later.
 

Carny

Bronze Contributor
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Mar 20, 2013
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First you should find ways to test if your idea will work, find at least one person who would be willing to pay you money for it.
Then regarding to development, I would strongly suggest you to hire a developer because if you think you can learn to develop it in just a few months, I can assure you it's more work than you think and so many fancy-details that are only learned with experience. In the meantime you can learn certain aspects of project development of course.

I would be willing to pay for it, and I'm in the same business that I would be selling to.
 

Carny

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How is your app going to differ from the thousands of CRM's already out there?

I can't really give the details, but it will be tailored to fill one specific need.

I may actually look at turning it into a full CRM program because I had trouble finding one that would work for me a while back. I considered it then, but it seemed like a project that was too involved for me to take on at that time.
 

Carny

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This would also differ in that it will be super simple and relatively inexpesive. Basically no learning curve at all. Simply sign up and start using it. I will be targeting an industry that needs CRM but I would say the vast majority aren't using it.

There will also be a product that comes with the service.
 

tafy

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Someone can elaborate more on this but... There are websites that offer all the building blocks of building a saas type program really fast, if you get a developer that can use a tool like that it would be 10x cheaper to develop. I really cant remember what its called.. anyone?
 

Carny

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Someone can elaborate more on this but... There are websites that offer all the building blocks of building a saas type program really fast, if you get a developer that can use a tool like that it would be 10x cheaper to develop. I really cant remember what its called.. anyone?

I'm interested to find out.

I've tried to contact a customer of mine that does web development, now I'm just waiting to hear back.

I should have called him right off the bat. I was afraid it would be way too expensive. I'm also the type that likes to do everything myself. But I guess it's better to have a piece of the pie than no pie.

I found a website that is very close to what I want to do. In fact, it would work for me but I had a few different things in mind. The site is https://www.servicefrequency.com . What would it take to build something like that?
 

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Carny

Bronze Contributor
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Mar 20, 2013
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I would be very interested in something like this @Carny

Thanks! I think it would do well, I just have to get going. I feel like I'm in those stupid car commercials where the people don't know where to start!

I may start a new thread for a general discussion, but if I talk to a developer and the price is higher than I can afford, what would be a fair partnership?

He would do the computer work, and I would make the products to go with it. I would also sell it.

Should I:
  1. Offer him a % in the company? If so, what?
  2. Offer him $x per month per customer until he is paid for his part and then a lesser amount as a royalty/interest?
  3. Do absolutely anything I can to get the money and just pay him?
Obviously it would be easier and quicker if he would agree to 1 or 2. And it would be nice to have him on board to make changes and upgrades. But, I've heard over and over that the only ship that won't sail is a partnership.
 

Carny

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Mar 20, 2013
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I just got off the phone with a designer. He said he's done two that are pretty similar and they were between $18k and $30k. That's more than I have and more than I was hoping to hear, but he did say he would consider some sort of partnership. I'm going to spend some time actually laying out what I would want to start with and then actually sit down with him and see where we end up.

We have a 3-month old and a 2-year old, so I'm sure you can imagine the look on my wife's face when I told her how much it may cost. That would be a lot for us. That's a scary step when you have a family to provide for. I can also picture us talking about it next year and saying "can you believe we almost didn't do this because it was $18,000?!"
 

Tregan

Contributor
Jul 16, 2013
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$18K and $30K??? wtf? no no no. I'd buy a product like Balsamiq and do the mock up / wireframe myself and then enlist a good coder from Odesk or Elance to add your features and do the back end stuff. But first you need to validate, find people willing to pay for such a product/service first before you do anything. If not you will spend all that money and invest all that time and it may never sell. That guy telling you $18 and $30K is trying to rob you, development for a simple saas does not cost that kind of money. Now if you were developing some large piece of complex software I can see that kind of money but not for something simple.

I hope this helps Carny
 

RogueInnovation

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Before you pay anything, do the work you can do. Paying is the last thing to do, not the first.

There should definately be higher end markets for this kind of stuff, but how would you target guys at different levels?(or at the level you invisioned, and is there a cheaper and better competitor out there that will kill you) What prices, how are you going to reach people? General feasibility tests etc etc...

I like to get things "turn key" before I pay anything, I wanna know every nuance on distribution, likely conversions, customer segments, customer aquisition costs and upkeep costs beforehand.
I also wanna know brand traction levels, so that I know that I'm hitting my client bases sweet spot regarding my service and product.

DO NOT pay up 18k if you can't SEE the sales on the other side ready to meet you. Thats my sincerest opinion.
And do NOT pay a team that can only execute your brand vision at 60%, you have to search around and find the team that can keep executing at 110%, and you wanna minimise entry costs as much as you can.


HOPING this guy can execute is a baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad move imo. Get the vision TURNKEY first, and then he will become the lowest common denominator in your process and you'll get competitive prices and be able to afford guys that will doubtlessly execute to the standard your clients absolutely require.

zen******* wrote on this forum a few times, that most guys focus on interface and making it look pretty, when in reality you need SALES and traffic, so you can convert them and make bacon.
 
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1step

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I would also go to a site like odesk and talk to a few developers to get quotes from them to see how much they estimate the project would cost. This way you can at least validate the $30k development.

I would try and presell customers prior to entering into a $30k saas development. Talk to some of your target market, show them what the software will do and see it you can presell them at a discounted rate.
 

blaksol

Possum Trot
Feb 23, 2014
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I just got off the phone with a designer. He said he's done two that are pretty similar and they were between $18k and $30k. That's more than I have and more than I was hoping to hear, but he did say he would consider some sort of partnership. I'm going to spend some time actually laying out what I would want to start with and then actually sit down with him and see where we end up.

We have a 3-month old and a 2-year old, so I'm sure you can imagine the look on my wife's face when I told her how much it may cost. That would be a lot for us. That's a scary step when you have a family to provide for. I can also picture us talking about it next year and saying "can you believe we almost didn't do this because it was $18,000?!"


Carny - I would make this a web-based app so your customers could host it off their server or yours (for an appropriate fee). I may be interested in building it with you for a small percentage deal if there is really a market for it. I am relatively good at design and functionality. I have built many interfaces for my company ( I work for a Fortune 500 company with between 10-15,000 employees). Unfortunately, they are all hosted internally so I can't show them to you, but here is a site I built recently in a matter of a couple days http://internsonly.com
 

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