Budget constraints can be a challenge for any business, but they're particularly challenging for SMEs. You need to get your product right the first time out of the gate, which means you must invest in the right team, software and expertise—but you also have to ensure that your budget isn't spread too thin.
With careful planning and good decision-making, however, it's entirely possible to overcome budget constraints without compromising the quality of your software. In this article, we'll explore some ways that small and medium businesses can overcome budget constraints while still producing high-quality products.
Create a prototype before investing too much money
The first step to overcoming budget constraints is to create a prototype. A prototype is a model of the product you want to build. It provides a way for you to test your idea before investing too much money into it.
A prototype can be created with low-cost materials and inexpensive tools, which means that even if your budget is small, you can still make one and test it out using paper or even cardboard.
By testing your prototypes with users, and by checking that it's a useful thing to develop further, it helps to build the business case that can often unlock required funds.
Invest in the right UX team
In order to deliver a great user experience, you need a team that is invested in the process. They should be experts in their craft, with an eye toward collaboration and continuous improvement. This means they need to understand how their work fits into the context of the larger organization--not just what they do on their own.
By focussing on UX in every aspect of product development, you'll be able to focus on building things that deliver a great experience for your customers. When you focus on the end user and how they'll interact with your business, you're able to build products that are more likely to succeed.
Don't underestimate the value of your time
Time is a finite resource. If you're not careful, it can slip through your fingers like sand. We all know that time is money. This is quite literally the case for a company that has paid employees. Regularly prioritise your team's tasks and delegate properly. This makes sure you’re using your time wisely and maximising productivity.
When you're building a product that has to be used by other people, it's also essential to spend time on user testing and research. This will help you to build something that users actually want and need. You'll also gain valuable insight into how your customers think about your business and the challenges they face.
Choose the right software agency, not the cheapest.
When choosing a software agency, it's important to remember that the cheapest option isn't always the best. A good agency should be able to provide you with a quality product and excellent service. You get what you pay for, cheap pricing equals cheap products. Look for a company with good reviews that charge reasonable prices. Smaller companies may be more focused on work than the cheaper companies.
Be smart with your advertising
If you're doing paid advertising, it's important to know what you're paying for. There are many different types of paid advertising—from posting ads on websites to buying text ads on Google—but there are three basic things you should not pay for:
- Clicks that don't lead anywhere
- Clicks that don't convert into conversions (meaning they didn't lead to your site)
- Impressions where the ad isn't seen
The best way to avoid paying for these is to choose a platform that only charges you for conversions or traffic. This means that if your ad does not lead anywhere, it will never show up on people's screens.
Of course, even advertising that doesn't cost anything directly (such as social media, or building an SEO strategy), can still cost money in time. Again, it's critical to make sure that this leads to a return early on.
We know that overcoming budget constraints isn't easy, but we also know that with the right strategies, it can be done!