Why is it that some companies prosper even amidst challenging times while others go bankrupt within the first couple of years in a thriving economy? While we all assume we know what it takes to scale a software development company, the Internet is full of inspirational stories about hard work, dedication and perseverance. Yet, surprisingly enough, the real-life lessons that ordinary people can take from these are not so many.
From my experience working in a bespoke software development company that recently celebrated its 15th anniversary, I have a thing or two to share with you when it comes to how to successful steps in this competitive industry. While extraordinary ideas, exceptionally well-tailored growth strategy and a passion to achieve the impossible are great, early-stage companies need more practical guidelines to stay in the game.
Now, let’s explore the five simple steps to follow if you want to build and scale your software development company.
1. Hire People with a “Can-Do” Attitude
A positive attitude might open some professional doors, but a can-do attitude is the real game-changer. Some of its distinctive characteristics include proactiveness, confidence and high motivation. People with this type of attitude actively seek new challenges and embrace new opportunities to learn and develop both personally and professionally. Even during turbulent times like the Covid-19 pandemic and when a project is changing directions, professional software developers should adopt a mindset that they can withstand any upcoming technical challenges.
Suppose you’re just starting with the recruitment process within your software development company. In that case, you can be amazed that a large number of interviewees can initially simulate this type of attitude and drop it once they join the company. The one thing you can do is to focus on whether potential candidates are being congruent within their own story. Do their previous experience and actions reflect the image they create of themselves? Do their thoughts, actions, and feelings seem to be aligned with what they try to convey?
2. Research Your Competitors
Economic theories are based on the idea of scarcity of goods and competition to access these goods. Whether you provide software products or put your efforts into providing software development services, you have multiple niche competitors aiming to attract similar clients as yours or steal them away by offering better contract conditions. That is why you should always keep an eye on how other companies in your industry choose to market their products/services.
Inc.com comes to the rescue with some helpful tips you may want to follow to stay ahead of the competition. Of course, you can spy on them on social media or read online resources such as white papers, testimonials and articles, but there is an even simpler technique you can employ while doing research. Whenever you sign with a new client, you can directly ask them who their previous service provider was and why they chose you over them. Similarly, you can try to find out why one of your clients is leaving you for someone else. In case they’re willing to share this with you, the rewards are some powerful insights to adjust your next offer and gain a competitive advantage.
3. Provide Abundant Educational Resources
I dare you to build a successful business only by yourself, utilising only the knowledge & talents you possess. Even if you are the most technically skilled person, the chances are that you will need others along your success journey. People are your most valuable resource, and realising this is an eye-opening moment for many business owners and executives.
Therefore, you should take good care of them and provide them with abundant educational opportunities. While some software developers might never leave coding behind, others want to switch career paths and become project managers, business analysts, or even quality assurance experts after a while. Whatever their plan is, take it into account if you want your software development company to thrive. Listen to them and make sure that there are enough growth opportunities within your enterprise because it’s not worth losing qualified employees because of a stale leadership that benefits nobody.
4. Rely on Modern Development Practises
The Covid-19 pandemic accelerated not only the digital transformation of many companies but also added a larger degree of uncertainty in the software development industry. Many companies that used to stick to traditional software development practices (e.g. Waterfall method) now switch to Agile processes so that they can adapt to the ever-changing business environment. The main idea behind modern dev processes is value-driven development with courage, focus, commitment, openness and respect being the most important ones. When teams work together in an environment where mutual trust and shared responsibility are thriving, this brings the crucial psychological safety needed for optimal results development process.
The reason why agile software development, and Scrum in particular, appeals to so many IT companies is because it is a flexible, dynamic approach using iterative cycles (CI/CD pipelines) as part of the broader software development lifecycle. The main project stages are called Sprints that usually last for 2 weeks before the next testing, demo, retrospective, backlog creation, and planning meetings can take place. The whole process includes a whole development team with specific roles: Scrum Master, Product Owner and the Development Team Members.
5. Create a Long-Term Vision
By now, you probably know what you do and why you do it, but how do you see yourself and your company in 5, 10 or 15 years? Imagining your future might sound cheesy at first, as plans don’t always turn out the way you want them. Still, it is important for you as a leader to have a clear vision of what you want to achieve, what value will help you get there, and what will you do next – would you exit or remain in charge?
For instance, our current partners at Dreamix had one clear vision since the company was founded. They wanted to create a dream workplace where each opinion deserves attention with the mission statement that each individual should be happy coming to work. A place with dedicated software developers who work hard to deserve their success, who are team players and build a community that makes the world a better place – step by step.
Aleksandrina is a Content Creator at Dreamix, a custom software development company, and is keen on innovative technological solutions with a positive impact on our world. Her teaching background mixed with interests in psychology drives her to share knowledge. She is an avid reader and enthusiastic blogger, always looking for the next inspiration.