UX Design For Apps

UX Design For Apps

Developing The Best UX Design For Apps

Looks do matter, at least when it comes to the internet and web applications — the past used to be all about the best functionality. The modern era, however, goes one step ahead and having an excellent appearance and user-friendly experience is a necessity next to efficiency. That is why it is essential to have the best UX design for apps. The reason behind this is the total number of applications that are currently available for everyone to use. Users are likely to move on and find another application that looks much better if they do not see what they are looking for in your app. That is why it is so important to create an application that stands out and is tailored down to the likes and needs of your customers.

So what are the elements which you can use to enable your UX to drive conversion? Let’s take a look at some of the factors that can make your UX consistent, appealing, and beneficial:

Critical Factors For The Development Of the Perfect UX Design For Apps

UX Design For Apps

To ensure that the user experience through your application is as optimum as possible, you need to keep these 5 ‘Cs’ in your mind. These tips are the key to making the best UX design for apps. They can assist you to streamline your efforts and optimize your interface to become attractive and interactive as possible for your customers.

5 Essential C’s

1. Customer Centricity

UX Design For Apps

One of the significant trends in business today is the shift from product or service centricity to customer centricity. Your customer or the user of your application is, undoubtedly, an essential part of the entire chain. Meaning that your app should aim to mold itself around their likes and dislikes. Hence, you must look at the app from the perspective of your average user to ensure that your app satisfies their need.

Ask yourself if your customer will be able to extract the functionality they need through your app. Will they be able to do it with relative ease and convenience? Will they want to come back for more? For this purpose, many companies test their applications with a group of users before public release and document their reviews so that subsequent improvements can be made.

2. Clarity

UX Design For Apps

While you may be tempted to put out an application that is chock full of features, it may not work out in your favor. A complicated website that is difficult to navigate or bombards the user with pop-ups and pages will likely cause them to turn away. Most users will want to get what they need as early and as efficiently as possible. Therefore, a simplified layout will highly facilitate and drive customer interaction, conversion, and the growth of your website.

3. Consistency

UX Design For Apps

Consistency is essential if you wish to develop your brand. It helps you to induce a sense of familiarity whenever the customers interact with your application or website. A considerable part of this consistency is the theme, application design, fonts, colors, and the position of the core elements. It enables users to associate it with your brand and immediately recognize your application.

4. Collaboration

UX Design For Apps

Developing and shaping the UX of your application is not a one-person job. To determine the best user experience strategy, it is important to take into consideration the opinions and ideas of the various groups of experts in your developmental team.

5. Customization

UX Design For Apps

This is where the opportunity lies to make your product stand out and appeal to your customers in a personal manner. Personalization is what drives conversion in the modern day. The tools and means available today ensure that you can tailor your service to the users’ likes and dislikes.

Give many different options or routes for the user to take on your interface and allow them to customize their own experience. Personalization tends to appeal to customers because it shows the degree of effort you are willing to put in for their comfort and facilitation.

Conclusion

All in all, while developing the optimum UX design for your apps might not be a piece of cake, it is undoubtedly worth the effort in the long run. Finding and creating a mobile app with a user-friendly UX design is critical. Using the key points mentioned above to shape the user experience on your app will allow you to tap into the maximum potential of your interface. Ultimately, the result will increase conversions, satisfied customers, and all your business goals will be met.

Non-Technical Entrepreneurs

Non-Technical Entrepreneurs

Non-Technical Entrepreneurs Success

Many successful tech startups have been founded by non-technical entrepreneurs who were computer science majors. You have Google (Larry Page and Sergei Brin), Netflix (Reed Hastings), and Amazon (Jeff Bezos).

However, many others have succeeded without techie founders. For example, former English teacher Jack Ma leads Alibaba; neuroscientist
Rashmi Sinha founded SlideShare, and product design student Evan Spiegel created Snapchat.

A recent study showed that only 35 percent of New York tech startup founders studied computer science or a related field in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). Also significant is the difference between a tech company and a tech-enabled company.

Google, which is based on complicated algorithms, is a tech company. Alibaba, which uses web-based technology, is tech-enabled. Founding a startup need not be all about building new ‘tech’; it can also be about making good use of what’s already out there.

Choose A Problem Worth Solving

Non-Technical Entrepreneurs

Start with a problem that is personal to you so that your interest in it does not wane easily. If it already has a solution, come up with a much
better, more innovative one.

Define What You Want To Build

Non-Technical Entrepreneurs

Understand what you want to develop — product or service — to solve the problem. Draft a product requirements document (PRD) to clarify the purpose, features, milestones, and deadlines. Also, create a project roadmap that includes marketing and sales strategy.

Seek Assistance

Share your idea with the industry. Ask for honest feedback, and learn from their insights. Seek help from senior management and technical professionals to help you hire suitable employees.

Hire Great Employees & Be Optimally Involved

Non-Technical Entrepreneurs

Hire skilled employees who are interested and believe in your vision. Listen to their inputs and know when your knowledge and expertise is lacking.

Provide a clear idea of your product/service, the PRD, and adequate resources to your team. You might want to be involved in everything, but don’t micromanage your team. Divide the project into small, timely deliverables to keep track of progress and to fix problems as and when they arise.

Learn New Things

It is all right not to know everything about tech. However, try to familiarize yourself with important concepts, like back-end processes, databases, hosting solutions, web services, and user interfaces. This will not only help you make better tech choices but help you to communicate effectively with your team.

Communicate Your Idea

Non-Technical Entrepreneurs

It is better to show than to tell. Try to create a prototype or a minimum viable product (MVP) to allow people to understand what you’re going after. Find and engage people to test it and give genuine feedback. Change your product/service accordingly.

An MVP and detailed roadmap can help communicate your idea not only to potential users, but also to potential co-founders, and investors.

Build Your Audience

As a non-technical founder, you can use your experiences and connections in non-tech related fields to prepare and implement a marketing strategy. Create a buzz about your product/service and start building an audience. You can get a start by discussing it over various media, initial users, and by seeking input from those you’re aiming to reach.

Start Selling ASAP!

Non-Technical Entrepreneurs

Start scouting for customers even as the product or service is in development. Use the prototype to demonstrate its functions. This will help you to gauge customer responses and even gain some prospective customers. This can be a crucial moment for any business, as the early feedback can often set the trajectory for the company for years to come.

It Will Get Tough — Don’t Quit

 Non-Technical Entrepreneurs

Regardless of your background, the only thing that matters is that you persevere. There is no hope if you cannot maintain an optimistic attitude in the presence of setbacks. As Airbnb co-founder Brian Chesky says, “failure or lack of interest shouldn’t deter you.” If your product can offer real value to customers, keep going. Sometimes no one gets it until the proof is undeniable.

Analyze Failure And Learn From It

Every successful founder has hit roadblocks along the way. When part of your project fails, analyze what went wrong. Collect customer feedback, course-correct, and use your hard-won insight to fuel your re-launch. By studying the faults in your approach, you can build a strategy that protects you against future mistakes.

Sell Your Story, Rather Than Your Product/Service

“People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.” — Simon Sinek.

Convey your ideas, your vision, and your story, rather than lengthy points about your product/service. Even a product that is far superior and innovative to the competition still needs to be presented to the public in a way that proves you care.

Be cautious with your spending

Non-Technical Entrepreneurs

Don’t buy fancy new equipment or software unless it’s absolutely necessary. Tackle the essentials with used equipment, open-source software, or software with free trial periods. Familiarize yourself with the features and interface of everything before you invest in them. Keep diligent accounts of everything you spend.

Related: How to survive when you’re burning cash

Conclusion

Being a non-technical founder can give you a fresh perspective — a competitive advantage when innovation in an industry is lacking. An integral part of entrepreneurship is discovering what unique value and perspective you bring to the table. As a non-technical founder, your perspective is more likely to match that of your customer. With this deeper understanding of their needs, you can be more successful in fixing a current problem they face. That is your doorway to being a non-technical successful entrepreneur!

UX Design For Apps

create a mobile app

Creating A Mobile App

What are the steps to create a mobile app?  The benefits of a mobile app are that it can pave the way for creating a far more personal connection between the company and the consumer when opposed to a mobile-friendly website. With mobile apps, the UI is in your control, you can send notifications to the users, and provide a better service overall. For the purpose of this, we have put together several points which will help you create a successful mobile application. Below, we will list the 5 ways to improve your mobile application.

1. Identify A Problem To Solve With Your App

Create Mobile app

There is a difference between having an idea that you like, compared to having an idea that the world likes. The second one brings in customers and traffic, therefore — money. So how would you know if the world is going to like your idea? Simple! Is it solving any problem that people are facing? If yes, then it’s likely people will use your application.

2. Design the UX/UI With Intuitiveness In Mind

Create Mobile app

Smartphones are becoming bigger with screen sizes nearing the 6” mark. But, mobiles are still meant to be a single-handed device. And even though screen sizes are increasing, you’re not getting as much real-estate as compared to a traditional desktop.

These are things you should keep in mind while designing the UX/UI. Don’t clutter the interface with too many options, and create frequently used buttons easily reachable by the fingers.

3. Create a prototype

Create Mobile app

Once you have an idea and decide how to implement it, then it’s time to create a prototype to see it in action. This is the most crucial part of a mobile application. Having the app in front of you will allow further evaluation and it’s potential — it won’t merely be an idea in your head.

Also, if you want to add more features, you will need to attract the attention of investors. Prospecting a prototype is far easier than looking through a product description on a piece of paper. Define your product and bring it to life instead of having a poor product design. 

4. Beta Test The App

Create Mobile app

With investors funding your project, you have almost completed creating your app. This is the perfect time to put it out for beta testing. Since the app is in beta, people won’t mind too much if they encounter bugs. Instead of getting negative reviews, now you will get constructive feedbacks which you can utilize to improve your app. It can also create a little noise in the market that someone is coming out with a new app.

5. Capture Metrics On User Behavior

Create Mobile app

Knowing how people are using your application is extremely important. This tells you what they like most about your app, so you can start focusing on that particular area. Some of the metrics you should be looking into include; social sharing habits of your users, time of usage, geographic, demographics, etc. This will help you paint a better picture of your users and see the most important KPI’s so you can optimize your app. Having a roadmap created by Superteam can simplify the headaches and technical difficulties in creating a mobile app. 

Conclusion

Improving your mobile application takes time and involves many different steps. Having an idea that solves consumer issues will be the first step. The second step will be creating a UX/UI design that is user-friendly for your customers. The third step will be creating a prototype. The fourth step will be Beta testing it, and the last step will be capturing the metrics and KPI’s on your user behavior to improve your app.

Technical project manager

Technical project manager

As a player in the programming or development industry, you may have heard the term ‘technical project manager’ being thrown around quite a bit, especially in recent times. If you’re working on a team project, it is likely that you will be placed under the supervision and guidance of a project manager who will be beside you every step of the way, which is why it is important to understand what the role of this individual actually is. So, what exactly is a technical project manager?

What Is A Technical Project Manager?

Technical project manager

The role of a technical project manager is to control, monitor, and ensure the proper execution of a business or company’s projects to which they have been assigned. The project manager would help the company schedule the project, distribute the resources, and ultimately view the entire process through a bigger lens. Also, to make sure that the goals are met through the technical aspect of the relevant project.

A technical project manager also has the ability to support the management of an IT initiative from a concept through to a concrete deliverable as a project with special technical knowledge.

What Are The Responsibilities Of A Technical Project Manager?

technical project manager

The life cycle of a project can be divided into five different phases: the initiation, planning, execution, monitoring/controlling, and the closing phase. The technical project manager has significant responsibilities in each of these phases that range from progress assessment to team management. The following below are some of the most critical responsibilities of a technical project manager throughout the project development and execution process.

A Technical Project Manager Must:

Technical project manager

  • Identify the key stakeholders involved in the project and ensure effective communication and involvement.
  • Prepare a suitable project plan and schedule that the stakeholders and team members agree on and can follow.
  • Gather and break down the project requirements in terms of resources and monetary investment in order to determine the required budget.
  • Facilitate communication between the stakeholders and the developing team as well as among the team members for smooth and optimal functioning.
  • Make sure that the team members, stakeholders, or customers are satisfied with the progress of the project at all stages of its life cycle and the final product meets their expectations.
  • Identify any potential risks that may threaten the quality of the product or the project process and come up with effective strategies to counter them.
  • Take the necessary steps to maintain the high quality of the project.
  • Keep track of the progress of the development and ensure that the predetermined goals are consistently met.
  • Close the project after the customer’s expectations have been met.

It is also important to remember that having someone managing effectively, leads to a better outcome and having bad management can have many negative effects on a company/business.

Conclusion

Ultimately, we can conclude that the role of a technical project manager is not to become invested in guiding the coding process or the programming aspect of the project. But, it is to monitor the various operations involved in the process, assess the progress, deal with the overarching, and specific technical aspects using their own specialized knowledge in their niche. Most importantly, a technical project manager main responsibilities are to guide and manage the complete lifecycle of a project.

Toyota Quality Problems

Toyota Quality Problems

Toyota Quality Problems: The Rise…

What happened to Toyota Quality Problems?  In 2001, Toyota Motor Corporation summed up the philosophy, values and manufacturing ideals it used to guide the company to success. By cultivating and promoting a culture of continuous improvement and respect for others, Toyota had grown into the world’s second-largest automotive manufacturer and the first manufacturer to produce 10 million vehicles. 

The company philosophy served as the cornerstone of the empire. Toyota’s strategy to woo customers came from creating and maintaining extremely high standards. Organized into four categories, these powerful principles were known as ‘The Toyota Way’. 

Long-Term Philosophy

  • Management decisions should be based on long-term objectives, even if it means foregoing short-term financial goals.

The Right Process Will Produce The Right Results

  • Design a process that eliminates wasted time by connecting processes and creating a single continuous workflow. By simplifying the workflow, problems can be more easily identified when things go wrong. 
  • To reduce wasted efforts and overproduction, design systems that can communicate what is needed. When one component signals “I need more” of a certain material, only then does the associated component work to provide it. 
  • Level out the workload. The ideal scenario is one where neither the machines nor the workers are overburdened. This is important in extending the lifespan of both the equipment and worker and lead to a more consistent output. 
  • Stop and fix problems first. Building a culture that does not tolerate problems will lead to superior quality. In the Toyota Production System, an employee can halt production anytime he or she sees a quality issue. 
  • Standardize tasks by setting benchmarks against which all future processes are measured. Standardization helps with quality control, specialization, and faster production. Standardize work in such a way that there is room for workers to improve the company and themselves.
  • Use visual control to bring problems to light. There are five steps that can be used to improve workspace, improve flow of work, and prevent conflicts: Sort the unneeded things from the needed things. Straighten everything into its proper place. Maintain a clean and tidy workspace to make work easier. To maintain better control, create standards for everything. Rinse, repeat, and improve this process.
  • Use only reliable technology: The manufacturer has the privilege to choose the technology and therefore should always choose the most reliable for its needs.

Add Value To The Organization By Developing Your People

  • Grow leaders internally. Recruiting people from the outside is more expensive and less reliable. It is better to train the employees so there will exist a pool of highly skilled workers who can take up higher positions whenever needed.
  • Develop exceptional people and exceptional teams. The management should focus on a team-building philosophy that follows the company’s mission, continually investing in its staff. 
  • Help your partners and suppliers improve. Treats your partners and suppliers as extended employees, challenging them and helping them improve. By strengthening each link, the whole chain gets stronger. 

Continuously Solving Root Problems Drives Organizational Learning

  • See for yourself. Before making decisions just by looking at data, make the effort to go to the shop floor and see the operations firsthand. One cannot improve a situation without first experiencing it themselves.
  • Make decisions slowly but implement rapidly. Carefully evaluate every option and its consequences and only then make the decision. Managers should ensure that the workers agree with the decision or solution. Once the decision has been made, an implementation should be quick. Otherwise, the entire plan is at risk falling apart.
  • Reflect and improve. One should continuously try to improve through retrospection. Become a learning organization through reflection and improvement — Hansei and Kaizen.

Toyota Quality Problems: The Fall…

Between 2009–2011, Toyota was forced to recall an incredible 9 million of its cars in response to 3 separate recalls. The issue was the unintended acceleration some drivers had experienced leading to several severe incidents. How did this happen? How did the world’s largest, most trustworthy automobile manufacturer make such a serious mistake?

It began with a shift in priorities. At the turn of the millennia, Toyota began to slowly favor its dominance in the market over the quality of its vehicles. They began to cut corners and ignore consumer feedback — two behaviors it would never have tolerated before. The company that at one time had invested a minimum of ten years into training each new engineer began hiring less qualified workers and invested less in mentoring them. 

In an effort to rapidly increase growth, they allowed their standards to fall, and in return, the quality of their cars greatly suffered. In the aftermath of such a scandal, Toyota would suffer $2 billion in losses, and see their shares drop in value by 15%. Toyota had lost sight of what had made it great. Toyota had lost its way. 

Hiring a freelance developer

Hiring a freelance developer

 

Hiring A Freelance Developer 

You wake up at 3 in the morning. Your heart is pounding — your mind is racing. You’ve just come up with the next big idea for an app or website that is going to change the world. ‘This is it!’ you tell yourself — ‘my big idea!’ The only problem is, your background is in something other than tech. Maybe you’re a physician, or perhaps a collegiate coach. Maybe you’re a contractor, teacher, or a full-time caretaker…all professions that require unique skill sets and expertise. But you don’t know a thing about apps or websites or block-whatever. In this blog, we will go over the risks of hiring a freelance developer

The Temptation Of ‘Cheap’

If you’re looking for a developer who can help you make your dream a reality, it may be tempting to prioritize your budget during the process. You may want to hire a freelance developer who charges low prices and is easy to access online. They all do the same thing, right? So why pay $100 per hour when another person charges $25?

Today, around 10% of all developers identify as independent, freelance, or self-employed. Since a tech expert can be expensive to work with, freelance sites like Upwork or Fiverr are appealing, especially since they present you with many more affordable labor options.

However useful these sites can be, there is a hidden risk. If you want to create a site or program that is successful in the long run, it can pay to invest in more expensive help upfront. A real, qualified developer with experience can be essential for making or breaking the results of your product. Here’s why you should consider it.

Top-Talent Developers Can Work Faster

A budget freelance developer you find online may be able to offer you a low fee per hour. However, if the freelancer isn’t especially skilled at programming, it may take them many hours to finish the job. In the end, this extra time actually cancels out any financial benefit you could enjoy from hiring someone who is low-cost. 

If your budget developer charges you $25 per hour but takes 5 weeks to finish a project, you are better off hiring an expert who charges $100 per hour that can finish the job in one week. Not only can a top-talent engineer work faster, but they can also consistently produce higher-quality work

Freelancers Don’t Always Deliver High Quality

A developer who works freelance may have basic knowledge of how to build websites or apps. However, since they are working on their own, often times no employer has verified their competence or skill level. On the other hand, a developer working for a trusted company or agency got hired because of proven talent. 

When you hire an experienced tech expert, you know their skill level and ability has been verified. When choosing a developer, to skimp on the budget is equal to skimping on quality, which can result in a product that will ultimately fail. 

There are some on these sites who also pose as developers, but who actually are just there to make a quick buck. When the budget is small, you run the risk of hiring a scammer who will take your money, but not your calls. You need someone who will be accountable for their work and not disappear midway through the project. 

Freelancers Don’t “Get” The Industry

When it comes to creating a tech product that’s going to succeed, you need to have the knowledge and an awareness of the existing market. The people helping you create your project should understand what competitors are doing, what trends are popular, and what new developments to expect. 

When you work with a freelancer, you won’t necessarily be able to rely on someone who understands the bigger picture and can help ensure you’re creating a product that meets a real need. On the other hand, when you hire someone from an agency or tech company, you’ll be working with someone who understands the business and who knows what it takes to succeed in the field.

Freelancers Might Require Extra Work On Your Part

A freelancer isn’t wedded to working with you. They could work with you on a project, then go work for your competitor the next week. So, to keep your information safe, you’ll need to take legal precautions, like drawing up non-disclosure agreements. 

Freelancers may also require more time to understand your project. This work on your part could end up costing you a lot of precious time and money.

How To Safely And Effectively Hire A Freelancer

If you simply don’t have the budget to hire an expert, or you want to give a freelance developer a shot, there are some steps you can take to ensure your experience is as successful as possible. First, find a freelancer’s portfolio to review their work and make sure they have the proper skills to create what you need them to. Next, if they work for a freelancer marketplace like Fiverr, read their reviews and make sure that other people have had a positive experience working with them. 

Check to see if you can find former clients of theirs, and check their references. Hearing firsthand that they know what they’re doing is a good way to verify they’re a good choice for your team. 

Finally, if this feels overwhelming to you or you’re not sure how to vet the freelancers you find, consider hiring someone with experience overseeing projects. A solution architect can help you understand the individual needs for your project and a project manager can help ensure the quality of the product. These experts can also handle the process of putting together the right team, so you can be sure you’re relying on pros to make your dream for an app or site a reality.

Development Team

Development Team

Software Development Team

Software development team projects have an alarmingly high mortality rate. According to a 2009 IDC report, as many as 20% to 25% of all software development projects don’t provide any returns, and 50 percent require a massive amount of rework before they can be labeled finished. And this doesn’t even include the companies that hide their failed projects. So why do so many projects fail?

According to IBM System Magazine, only 3 percent of projects fail due to technological issues. Even if your development team is highly skilled, there are still a number of ways things can go off the rails. We’ve explored some of the most common reasons for project failure.

1. Lack Of Experience

The road to expertise is paved with hard work and learning from mistakes. An ideal development team has a mixture of general and expert knowledge that covers all relevant areas of skill needed to complete a project. Hiring the right talent can be difficult, as experienced team members can be costly. However, an inexperienced and less qualified developer team can lead to poor results.

Some roles are more critical than others and should be given greater priority during when hiring. It’s not unlikely for an engineer to make a mistake in the code — but a project manager should be able to audit the project and find any critical flaws before delivering the code. In the case of a project manager, paying for the expertise and experience is well worth the money.

2. Lack Of Leadership

Any project which involves the effort of multiple people requires some central authority who can combine the efforts of all those people and provide a sense of direction. A good leader looks after his or her team, listening to their concerns, providing feedback, praising good work, and most importantly, making good decisions. In a technical environment, the leader should have a strong understanding of the technology on which his team is working.

When a leader fails to provide a strong sense of direction, overlooking the importance of setting objectives, managing risks, and coordinating everyone’s efforts, the team is at a severe disadvantage and more likely to fail.

3. Lack Of Architecture

In order to build a well thought-out house that’s both beautiful and functional, one needs to have detailed blueprints. Similarly, for a development project to start and end successfully, the team needs to create and follow a logical system architecture. Although extremely important, the use of architecture is often omitted. Lack of architecture means potential issues with security, performance, scalability, and manageability.

Related: What is a solution architect?

4. Unrealistic Deadlines

Sometimes teams, in order for the company to stay afloat, are pushed to get the finished product out as fast as possible. This can cause the quality of the product to suffer and lead to larger problems down the road. Sometimes it is the client who breathes down the neck of the team, badgering them for updates.

Teams are often already working at capacity with more than they can handle already on their plates. Trying to complete as many projects as possible in the shortest amount of time often leads. This can result from a ‘speed over accuracy’ mentality originating from upper management. Whatever the reason may be, having too tight of a timeline will result in rushed products, incurring technical debt and team burn-out.

Related: What is technical debt?

5. Scope Creep / Moving Targets

A project is almost guaranteed to fail if the development team does not have clearly stated objectives. If a client fails to provide clear and pre-defined goals, the ambiguity leads to wasted time, wasted resources, and wasted efforts. When a manager continually changes his or her mind, or a client adds further requests extending past the agreed-upon contract, work quality suffers and frustration grows among the team.

6. Lack Of Motivation

A team with low morale and low motivation can be worse than no team. Without a drive to work hard and produce quality results, the work a defeated team produces can be riddled with errors. This technical debt will either render the project nearly useless or require a massive amount of time to be fixed.

Any number of factors can contribute to low team morale. Perhaps it is an issue with compensation, the division of labor, or workplace environment. Sometimes the problem lies in the team members themselves due to poor hiring practices. Whatever the case may be, low motivation is a serious blocker to quality results and successful projects.

7. Lack Of Discipline

In any system or group, a lack of discipline can lead to chaos and confusion. In order to ensure that everybody is on the same page, organizations create standards. They assign roles, give directions, and commit to certain best practices. Discipline is the practice of adhering to these rules, roles, and directions. An undisciplined development team is at risk to waste time just doing whatever they want. A strong sense of discipline often comes from the culture that is modeled and encouraged from within. Strong leaders and company veterans set the tone for the rest of the team, so it is important to achieve this early on.

8. Communication Problems

No team is immune to communication problems. Certain barriers to communication only make things worse:

  • Use of technical jargon — Not everyone in the organization will have the required knowledge to understand the technical terms. Development teams should ensure that communication with clients, upper-level management, and customers is clear and easy to understand. Even simple misunderstandings can have disastrous consequences.
  • Personal barriers. Intimidation from bosses and managers can cripple the incentive a development team has to communicate. When employees feel ignored or mistreated, even important conversations may be avoided. Clashing personalities can also lead to an unhealthy work environment.
  • Organizational barriers. These problems are caused by the structure of the organization that restricts the flow of information. The team might have trouble coordinating with other departments, or company policy might not prohibit informal, yet quicker communication.

9. Internal politics

Politics are always at play. Within the team, a number of issues can arise. Conflicts can arise between members, project managers may fail to give proper credit, and sometimes even a wronged employee can deliberately try to sabotage a project. The consequences of internal politics within the company can lead to development teams not receiving enough funding and unhealthy competition between departments.

10. Lack of innovation

Ultimately, the end users of every project are people. These human beings are looking for you to provide value to them. Value comes in many forms, but in order to continuously provide value long term, your company must innovate. The world is changing, and therefore the problems it faces are changing. Your goal is to identify these problems and solve them. Innovation can look like:

  • Finding an unmet need and providing a solution for it.
  • Inventing a product that raises the quality of life for the customer.
  • Improving upon an existing product in a significant manner.

Conclusion

Development teams can be extremely skilled at solving complex tasks, but there will always be areas where human nature produces vulnerabilities. Understanding these most common reasons for failure can help you anticipate issues before they cause serious problems.

Reasons Why Businesses Fail

Reasons Why Businesses Fail

Reasons Why Businesses Fail

What are the reasons why businesses fail?  Every year, thousands of wide-eyed and optimistic entrepreneurs embark on a journey to create the next big thing. With passion ablaze and a belief that success is attainable, they set out to change the world. The brutal reality, however, is that most will fail.

A recent study by CB Insights studied the post-mortems of over 250 failed startups. They found 70% of tech startups fail, and 97% of seed or crowdfunded consumer hardware companies pull the plug. The odds are against success- but not without a silver lining. Every failure presents an opportunity to learn. We can glean value in terms of what to do and what to avoid.

In his book “How Not To Die”, Paul Graham mentions two major reasons for startup failure: Simply running out of money, and the departure of a critical founding member. Often the two occur simultaneously.

Death Of a Startup

There are countless reasons a startup can fail. In our experience, a lack of knowledge and poor planning are often the most serious issues clients face. Even with boundless enthusiasm (and sometimes even a boatload of cash), it’s what business owners DON’T know that causes the biggest problems.

With an idealistic vision of what starting a company looks like, many new entrepreneurs avoid the thought that their business might fail. While confidence is always necessary, disaster awaits those who never take the initiative to safeguard their startup against common and avoidable mistakes. We’ve put together a list of the most prevalent issues plaguing new startups, with case studies for each.

1. Lack Of Market Need

Many startups fail simply because nobody wants what they are offering. 42% of the startups analyzed by CB Insights failed because there was no demand for their product in the market.

Start small. Conduct proper market research & feasibility studies, and utilize focus groups to find out what potential customers think of your product. The insight and feedback gained in this stage can be invaluable for your company.

Entrepreneurs often overlook the market conditions and variables — whether the market is ready for their product or not, the target demographics’ purchasing power, market saturation, etc. A good idea is not enough. The market must be ready for your product- whether they know it or not.

Reasons Why Businesses Fail
Case Study: Microsoft Zune (2006–2012)

Zune was designed to be Microsoft’s answer to Apple’s iPod. The reason Zune failed was simple — Microsoft didn’t understand the market. If they did, they would have realized nobody wanted Zune. It was a product that offered no innovative features nor did anything superior to its main rival. People didn’t want an alternative to the iPod. Late entry into the space and poor marketing efforts gave the Zune little chance to win. A portable MP3 player…new and improved? Nope.

2. Running Out Of Cash (And Giving Up)

The second biggest reason for startup failure –reaching the end of the runway with no take-off. Maintaining a steady cash inflow is extremely important but not all businesses can start pulling in money right from the beginning. Running out of capital doesn’t necessarily mean the death of your company- but not knowing how to adapt does.

Many successful companies run at a loss for extended periods of time. Running out of money from a seed or series-A round of funding is not uncommon. You’ve heard the importance of an MVP (minimum viable product) but if you lose sight of your companies USP (unique selling proposition), you’re toast. By effectively demonstrating the value of the product, a company can raise further capital and extend the runway.

Case Study: Tesla (2002-Present)

The electric car maker giant started on very shaky grounds. In 2002, Elon Musk started Tesla alongside SpaceX. He invested $90 million in the companies but it wasn’t enough, and costs kept increasing. By the end of 2008, Tesla was on the verge of bankruptcy. The obituary was written and the press was ready to announce Tesla’s death at any moment. But as we know, Musk soldiered on and Tesla prevailed. He was able to deliver the first Tesla Roadster and secured further capital to keep the company alive.

3. Lack Of Sustainable Growth

Reasons Why Businesses Fail

“When you stop growing you start dying.”-William S. Burroughs

Forward momentum requires constant growth. The day you cease to provide increased value to customers, you open the door for someone else to come along and steal your crown. Without the momentum to escape the competition, newcomers will push you out of the market. Without growth, economies of scale cannot be realized, and your costs will remain prohibitive to profits.

In an ever-changing world, sometimes growth means changing business models or pivoting in a new direction. When a product has run its course, entering a new market or a new industry can be the necessary growth to keep a company alive. A failure to pivot, or pivoting late, can mean death.

Case study: Blockbuster (1985–2010)

The ubiquitous, American-based company provided movie and game rental services with over 9 thousand stores globally. In 2000, a small web-based movie rental company called Netflix approached Blockbuster with an offer to sell their company for $50 million. The Blockbuster CEO, blind to the rapidly shifting playing field, dismissed their “very small niche business” model. In the following years, Netflix pivoted to online streaming, rendering brick and mortar rental stores like Blockbuster obsolete.

Blockbuster failed to pivot and now exists only as a memory to millennials, their parents, and the butt of online jokes.

Reasons Why Businesses Fail

4. Competition

When facing a lot of direct competition, there are certain steps you must take to cement your market standing. Failure to do so could seal your company’s fate in the startup graveyard. To stand out, one must offer something new or something much better than what already exists. Taking competitors into consideration and developing a proper marketing strategy is crucial. Perhaps most importantly, the product must be priced just right. This becomes more complicated as competitors attempt to undercut each other in an effort to lure customers.

Reasons Why Businesses Fail

If you’re a pioneer and first to the market, you’ll need to take a different approach. You need to make it hard for potential competitors to enter the market by creating barriers to entry. These include patents, government rights, access to specific distribution channels, economies of scale, establishing yourself as the market leader and namesake, etc.

While ignoring the competition is a recipe for disaster, obsessing over it is not healthy either. The mission should be to provide as much value as possible to the customer. If you can find better ways to give more to your customers, you will have a bright future ahead.

Case Study: Toys R Us (1948–2017)

One of the largest toy store chains (and a piece of children’s souls everywhere) shut its doors recently. The downturn began with a 10-year partnership with Amazon. Toys-R-Us agreed to pay Amazon $50 million a year plus a percentage of sales to serve as an exclusive vendor. With a massive level of sales, Amazon began allowing other toy vendors into their ecosystem. Toys-R-Us sued Amazon and attempted to launch its own website to sell toys online, but it was too late. Toys-R-Us failed to compete with other online retailers’ prices. Plummeting sales and mounting debt left Toys-R-Us with no choice but to file for bankruptcy in late 2017.

5. Poor Management

Faulty recruitment practices, internal conflicts, poor communication, and slow decision making are just some of the headaches that come with an incompetent leader backed by an unqualified team.

A common mistake business owners make is believing they can do it all on their own. As any successful entrepreneur knows, the truth is it takes a team. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. The founder’s job is to know each employee and hire the appropriate team members.

Reasons Why Businesses Fail

Case Study: Pan American Airways (1927–1991)

Once largest air carrier in the US, all that survives is its iconic blue logo after it went out of business in 1991. Poor leadership and an inability to solve internal conflicts were the two big problems for Pan Am’s management. Over-investing in existing business models and a lack of innovation brought about the company’s downfall. These issues combined with corporate mismanagement, complications involving US regulatory policy, and the government’s inability to protect its largest air carrier lead to the going out of business in 1991.

6. Having a poor product

Reasons Why Businesses Fail

In the end, everything comes down to the product. Because of this, there are many ways to fail at providing value to the customer. Consumers must feel like they are getting more than what they pay for. If the product doesn’t offer enough value to justify the cost, people will either not purchase it, or return it. Proper marketing efforts and branding are required to present your product honestly. If a product is marketed in a way that misrepresents the true value of the product, customers will be unhappy and you lose their trust. If the quality is lacking, then you’ve already failed, and there won’t be much hope.

Case study: General Magic (1993–2011)

General Magic was a company associated with Apple and had one of the largest IPOs of the 90s. It boasted partnerships with companies such as Sony, Panasonic, and AT&T. It was the hottest and most mysterious company of its time, shrouded in secrecy as they created a highly anticipated product. In 1994, they launched multiple devices using General Magic’s innovative touchscreen interface — and they all failed. While they spent hundreds of hours developing and testing their technology, they didn’t spend nearly enough time testing the product with consumers. Turns out the market didn’t want a heavy, expensive mobile device with a dimly lit screen that was hardly usable outdoors.

7. Premature scaling

One of the first things founders do after getting established and raising capital is hiring. This is the classic pitfall of premature scaling. Simply put, premature scaling is expanding your business before your product is ready for the market. Founders will often feel the urge to spend money left and right on things that “feel” necessary, but rarely are. The focus is diluted away from the core product and market.

As a company moves too fast, technical debt grows out of control. For software companies, hastily written code that is “good enough” to launch an MVP becomes a weak foundation, vulnerable to frequent breaking. Sprint cycles turn from weeks to months, and the benefit of agility is lost. Pivots become harder and harder, and new features take a prohibitive amount of resources to build. Problems are swept under the rug, and eventually, they come back to bite.

Reasons Why Businesses Fail

Case Study: Groupon (2008-Present)

Groupon started in 2008 and allowed users to get discounted goods and services by buying as a group. It pioneered the concept of early adopters by introducing coupons to the Facebook and Twitter generation, becoming known as the “fastest-growing company ever”. It was seeing extreme success. As they rushed to scale quickly, things took a turn for the worse. Continual reports of huge losses drove the share price lower and lower. Groupon’s mistake was prioritizing new customer acquisition instead of customer retention. It sought to scale while not dealing with pre-existing issues. Although not dead, Groupon is hardly the behemoth it once was expected to be.

Will my startup fail?

The question you should be asking is — why do startups succeed?

Because the odds are against you, you should focus on the practices that improve the chances of success. We already know what kills startups-so do everything in your power to not make the same mistakes. But for guaranteed success, you need more.

1. Planning

In business school, they teach the functions of management-the first being planning. Proper planning leads to every other aspect of good management. A solid plan involves taking into consideration all the current variables at play as well as forecasting future variables. All bases must be covered. Planning also facilitates decision making, helping to avoid conflicts in the future.

2. Discipline

Discipline means that you do not lose focus, get distracted, or become lethargic. Far too often business owners either lose focus or get distracted with other things to the detriment of their business. Sometimes they even start new businesses or attempt to expand their startup while before finding its place in the market. A business in the startup phase requires much more attention than an established business, requiring founders to be proactive, as opposed to reactive.

3. Persistence

Like everything in life, startups will have its ups and downs. What matters is that you do not lose hope. Keep pushing forward while focusing on the vision — the value you are bringing to customers. The day you stop caring is the day you’ve signed up for a plot in the startup graveyard.

Summary And Next Steps:

An entrepreneur who spends cash wisely, understands and adapts to the competition, develops best management practices, focuses on the product, and grows their business sustainably is setting their company up for a higher chance of success. Although following these guidelines are not a guarantee for success, not following them is a recipe for failure.

At SUPERTEAM our mission is to give entrepreneurs the knowledge and support they need to succeed. Our solution architects come from notable Silicon Valley tech companies and utilize their experience to help others. Check us out at www.superteam.io to learn more about how we’re empowering founders to make a difference.


Step-By-Step Guide On How To Fail: 7 Reasons Why Businesses Fail was originally published in SUPERTEAM on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Lack of Sustainability

Lack of Sustainability

Lack Of Sustainability

Sustainable growth is a key sign that a company has matured past the startup stage. Although all companies should strive to obtain sustainable growth, not all of them will reach their potential and lack of sustainability in their business.

Two of the most important aspects of a new business idea an entrepreneur is told to look for is sustainability and scalability. Does the business have growth potential? If a business can continue to grow while maintaining sustainability, it will be able to scale.

What Are Some Risks An Unsustainable Business Faces?

If a company cannot reach a level of sustainability, it gives the competition an opening to take the lead.

  • Being pushed out of the market: Just because your company has lost its forward momentum, doesn’t mean the competition has. Rivals will continue to grow, gobbling up the market share. Some might even double down on their expansion policy in an attempt to drive you out of the market, eliminating you from the game.
  • Stagnation: Customers are always looking for more value. They are happy to pay as long as they feel are getting their money’s worth. But having a company with growth issues limits how much value you can provide to your audience. If you hit a ceiling and lose the ability to improve your product or service, your company will lose importance as others innovate and improve upon your business model.
  • Lack of economies of scale or prescaling: Economies of scale is a benefit that large businesses enjoy when they produce in large numbers. Each additional unit becomes less expensive to make. This relates to all types of industries. But a business that has no potential to grow will never reach the point where it can enjoy economies of scale. Almost all market leaders enjoy economies of scale in some form — it’s a huge advantage that allows them to maintain their dominant position in the market.

To Be Sustainable, You Need To Be Flexible

A business model that lacks flexibility will suffer in the face of a dynamic and ever-changing environment. Technology and trends can change on a whim, and sometimes the best decision is to pivot. This isn’t saying we advocate chasing trends…but the only thing worse than chasing a trend is chasing an old one. If the market has made it clear it has no interest in your product, you’ll need to adapt to find a need that isn’t being met yet.

Case Study: What Killed Blockbuster?

Lack of innovation, being insensitive to the market, and a business model that thrived on penalizing its customers — all of these things together brought the end of Blockbuster. Let’s address each of these issues one by one.

Lack of Sustainability

With the rise of subscription-based services like Netflix, Blockbuster was facing serious competition for the first time. It tried to innovate but in the wrong direction. It launched DVD-by-mail service in an attempt to copy Netflix and claw back some of the stolen market shares. When Netflix expanded into a streaming service, Blockbuster launched its own video-on-demand streaming services but was too late. Netflix was the new champion.

Blockbuster’s failure to sense the shift in the consumer’s mindset blinded them to the changing environment. Even when Netflix proposed a partnership, Blockbuster’s CEO balked at the offer and Netflix’s founder was laughed out of the office. Who’s laughing now?

Blockbuster’s business model was inflexible and prevented them from pivoting and maintaining sustainability. The late fees which Blockbuster leveraged against its customers brought in a lot of revenue. Depending on your age, you may have memories of racing to drop your movie in the return slot by noon. When Netflix launched its subscription-based service, one that allowed people the freedom to return their movies when they wanted, people were quick to choose the alternative.

Case Study: Soap, Baking Powder, & Chewing Gum

Today, when the world hears the name Wrigley, it thinks of chewing gum. But back in 1891, it was known chiefly for selling soap. The founder, William Wrigley Jr., offered free baking powder as an incentive for merchants to carry his soap. When the baking powder became more popular than the soap, Wrigley smartly decided to pivot and start selling baking powder. Inspired by his previous marketing success, Wrigley decided to give out free chewing gum as an incentive to carry his baking powder. As you probably guessed, the chewing gum became more popular than the baking powder. Wrigley’s, the gum brand, was born.

Lack of Sustainability

Because it had a flexible business model, Wrigley’s was able to pivot quickly. And remember when we talked about being pushed out of the market before? Wrigley’s did that to its competition back when the financial recession of 1907 hit. At a time when all businesses were struggling to stay afloat, Wrigley Jr. mortgaged everything he owned to borrow $250,000 to launch an aggressive advertising campaign. The plan worked as Wrigley’s soon became the most popular and largest selling brand in the United States.

running out of money

Running out of Money

Running Out Of Money

Time and money — two things we always seem to find ourselves short of. In the competitive arena of business, a company can be made or broken by how effectively it uses its resources. Or, they will be running out of money.  Too many startups have run out of cash and been forced to close up shop. Having a poor cash flow can signal the impending death of a company, and not preparing how to deal with it means certain failure.

Every company needs money to operate and survive. For most startups this is a problem since they are less likely to be profitable in the early stages, spending more than they make. A company with funding has an advantage of being able to operate at a loss for some time, but even that will provide a limited runway. It’s imperative that a company continually works towards becomes self-sustaining.

How To Survive When You’re Burning Cash

Until your company is self-sustaining, you must watch your cash burn. The limited resources need to keep the company afloat until the next round of funding or until positive cash flow is reached. A prudent entrepreneur will only spend on the essentials and save wherever she or he can. But for many entrepreneurs, emotions get in the way. In a desperate attempt to spawn growth, they end up throwing money in every direction — sometimes it pays off, many times it doesn’t.

Some might argue that running out of money is normal for a startup. The argument says that by playing it too safe, you run the bigger risk of missing out on opportunities that could potentially launch your business. Still, a failed pivot is highly likely to be the last song a startup sings. The best way to spend your valuable resources wisely is to have a well-formulated plan, like a development roadmap, which can help you and your team focus on your goals and avoid wasting money.

Every business decision needs to be made while taking certain factors into account. Your company’s ability to take on risk can determine whether or not a cost-intensive pivot is the right thing to do. So what should it be? Go for the risky opportunity and hope it pays off or keeping grinding the same ax, hoping you reach profitability?

Case Study: To Pivot Or Not To Pivot?

Women’s clothing store Vanity closed shop last year after being in business for over fifty years. The South Dakota based business declared bankruptcy and closed all of its stores. Why? They couldn’t keep up with the changing business environment. Low sales and diminishing revenue forced them to call it quits. Many stores at the time were losing the fight against online retailers and more niche brands.

It wasn’t just Vanity that was struggling to make enough sales. Many other clothing stores were dealing with similar issues. Even Target, the department store giant which was once known for quality apparel was now in a tight spot. Realizing the doomed path is was on, Target decided to pivot. It invested huge sums of money into rebranding and marketing to modernize its image. It paid off. Sales increased, share price increased, and most importantly, Target was back on the map.

Case Study: The First Electric Car Company To Not Fail?

Yep, we’re talking about Tesla. The founder, Elon Musk made his fortune by starting an online bank which later merged with PayPal. Musk invested $90 million into SpaceX and Tesla, yet stated in an interview that he expected Tesla to fail. When the 2008 financial crisis struck in 2008. companies like Chrysler and General Motors received billions of dollars in government bailout money. Tesla got only a fraction of the help and was still in need of a miracle. When all hope seemed lost, German automaker Daimler invested $50 million into Tesla. Even then, up until 2013, Tesla was operating with one to two weeks of the runway.

Even though the financial situation you’re in likely differs from that of Elon’s, there’s a lesson to be learned. Despite enormous obstacles, include severe financial hurdles, Elon kept up hope. Many entrepreneurs give up when their company is strapped for cash and the end feels near. In truth, for a startup to succeed, the team must remain focused on their mission. Only through the commitment to provide real value to the world can a team survive the storm and find profitability. Lose sight of the mission, and all hope will be lost.