When you set out on the journey of creating a web app, it is not unusual in the early stages for your idea to be pulled in a thousand different directions as you begin to refine and develop your product. Each phase requires a different level of research, skill and caffeine! All helped along when you have a clear (ish) goal in mind.
The team at Simplifyd come from a variety of backgrounds but one thing we all have in common is we like to keep things simple. As a whole we love technology and are always trying out new tools and apps, it because of this that our team is never short of ideas about what has worked and what hasn’t, so it came as no surprise that the initial idea for Simplifyd developed fairly quickly.
Coming from a freelancer background and secondly someone who often works within small teams I noticed recurring problems that many people around the world faced when managing their own business:
– I was wasting valuable time on administrative tasks.
– I had too many apps to manage these tasks.
– I wasn’t utalising digital alternatives for admin duties.
– It was costing me a fortune!
While it’s great that there are so many apps on the market, it isn’t always practical. It became apparent that streamlining business management processes would be the main focus, as this would help with productivity and cost. It was a problem we had experienced first hand, one we knew our peers also suffered with and something we felt we could resolve in a smart, efficient way.
Building an app is not a “go at it alone” type of venture. From the very beginning it is vital to start an ongoing conversation with your potential users, peers and those more experienced in your market. Reaching out to these people can be the difference between success or an early defeat.
At Simplifyd our team wanted to validate the basis of our idea, to see if our struggles as a small business were something that others were also experiencing. This is when we turned to email, Twitter and some of our contacts to listen to their experiences in this area.
We wanted to hear about what our potential users had to say about other apps in this field. So we asked:
– What do you like about apps you’re currently using to run your business?
– What don’t you like about them?
– How much do you spend monthly/yearly on these types of apps?
At this point Simplifyd was still in its infancy, our aim was to learn as much as possible from potential users and their experiences in order to guide the development of the app.
What we discovered:
– People were signing up to multiple apps, each only providing a single feature they wanted but still paying full monthly costs.
– If a process became too complicated some users would instantly lose interest.
– For a good, reliable product most people were willing to pay a reasonable fee for the service.
– Many of these apps had a focus on the community and not just the product.
With a clear correlation in the responses it soon became apparent that our initial instincts were correct. While many individuals and teams were happy with their current apps, they were still open to alternative solutions and were excited to learn about a tool that would streamline daily processes.
The market is full of a whole bunch of great apps, whether you need one to support your organisation, finances or communications. Whatever it is you need an app for, you can guarantee that if your grab your phone or tablet within a few clicks you’ll find one.
Learning about what is already out there was key in our development process. It showed us what was currently working for users but more importantly, it highlighted areas that needed improvements. Reassuring us that our aim to create a tool kit and not focus on one process would be valuable to our potential users.
When developing a product it isn’t always clear the path you’ll want to go down. Every major milestone in the evolution of Simplifyd has evolved through an interaction between our app, it’s technology and an individual’s user experience.
For our team the above research was invaluable in this journey. Without knowing what small business owners, freelancers and professionals needed from a CRM software, Simplifyd wouldn’t be where it is today. This very interaction has shaped the development of Simplifyd and reinforced our choice to create a toolkit and not one process.
The small business toolkit has not been designed to do everything, that would be too complex and would be a stretch from our “Simplifyd” ethos. Instead we chose the key processes that our early users highlighted for us, then have continued to work on the functionality so they could be completed with ease, from one platform.