We’ve had a lot of success at ABIS by sharing the product development effort with our customers. We’re good at building software and our customers know their business and industry really well. By inviting them to share in the process it makes the resulting product better.
Here’s the cool thing about sharing that I think Mark already knows:
Invitations eventually lead to trump cards.
There are a couple of industries that we tend to do very well in. It’s not because we sat around on our own and tried to learn everything we could before building a software application. Instead, we worked with one client in an industry and we gave them an invitation. It worked just like Mark said,
I know some stuff, you know some stuff, other people know some stuff. Let’s figure this out together.
By sharing our collective knowledge we developed a program that worked well for their business and the industry as a whole. We kept the price reasonable to serve the SMB market and then we did the same thing with another client. We invited them to share with us and we would share with them. And then we did it again. And again. And again. And then we had a product that worked very well and we knew things about the industry that no other software vendor knew. It didn’t happen overnight, but eventually…
By sharing with customers we ended up with a trump card.
Now when we’re up against a competitor in one of these industries we know we have a trump card. We have a better product and are more knowledgeable because of the experience we’ve enjoyed with previous clients. It’s not that we need to play the card, but it’s certainly nice to have. Like Mark, I think I’d much rather rely on the invitation instead.