What’s one piece of advice you have for entrepreneurs who are building enterprise software right now? What do you wish they would consider (or what principles do you use) to make that software great?
The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective (UPDATE: renamed to BusinessCollective), a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
Remember That Less Is More
Too often when people hear enterprise software, two words come to mind: complicated and expensive. I would advise those building enterprise software to keep in mind that less is more. Stay focused on what enterprise problem or need you are trying to solve, and don’t get distracted adding extra features. Doing this will keep your costs down, allowing you to charge less.
Focus on User Experience
The days of cumbersome enterprise software are ending rapidly. An easy, intuitive user experience is important to promote adoption and create long-lasting customer relationships.
Martina Welke ( https://www.crunchbase.com/person/martina-welke ), Zealyst ( https://zealyst.com )
Pay Attention to How They Really Use Your Software
When you first go to market, your vision is likely different than your end product, and your users will show you the way. They will use it in unexpected ways and highlight obscure and valuable problems and challenges. Be a perpetual student and watch them meticulously. Explore every unexpected success.
Trevor Sumner ( https://twitter.com/trevorsumner ), LocalVox ( http://localvox.com )
Get It Done, Then Perfect It
Many entrepreneurs focus on making their software perfect. The problem is, as entrepreneurs, we often don’t know what perfect is. The key to success is getting your software into the “wild” quickly, so customers can give you feedback. Get it done and out the door, and then iterate as you learn.
Don’t Forget the Details
Enterprise clients care about the small details, especially if the software will be representing their brand. Logo size, customization, proper branding — everything is important to consider for an established brand that has a specific formula for its overall branding.
Russ Oja, Seattle Windows and Construction, LLC ( https://windowseattle.com )
Pay Attention to How They Buy
Enterprises buy software in a very different way than small businesses and consumers. Understanding the buying process is key to the success you’ll have as an enterprise software company.
Have a Revenue Model From Day One
An enterprise expects to pay for products and services. If it’s free, then that’s how they’ll value it. To build a successful B2B enterprise product today, you should launch with a paid plan and make it a significant cost (more than $100/month). Make it easy to cancel, and don’t require payment upfront. Your customers will respect you more for it.
Ryan Buckley ( https://twitter.com/rbucks ), Scripted, Inc. ( http://scripted.com )
Build for Yourself
A great piece of software has to greatly solve a problem. Live the problem. Eat it, take it to bed and dream about it. That’s where great software comes from — solving the problems people didn’t even know existed.
Brendon Schenecker ( https://twitter.com/bschenecker ), Travel Vegas ( http://www.travelvegas.com )
Fix Pain Points Quickly
Many enterprise startups wait too long between rolling out improved versions of software. Rather than waiting until every new feature has been built into your next version, push up features that eliminate pain points enterprise clients might be experiencing. Eliminating system shortcomings and user frustration can be as important as deploying new features to keep customers.