To Build Or Not To Build?

As an entrepreneur, one of the biggest obstacles I’ve dealt with being a non-technical founder in the tech space is protecting the company against the tendency to get “feature happy.”

Before building anything, especially in the early stages you need to ask yourself a couple of questions:

Is this going to make we do better?

This means that you have to know what you do for people. Yes, it sounds ridiculously obvious, but it’s also one of the easiest things to forget especially when collecting user feedback. If you’re looking to add a feature, first circle back to what it is that you do. Is it going to make it better? Is it something your customers really need? Or does it fall into the “nice to have” category? If so, your decision is then based on whether can afford – in time or money – to build it.

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how entrepreneurs make decisions

Photo Credit: Multiple Stream Media.

Will it make money?

Feature upgrades and additions can make a big difference in the user experience. And if they’ll have direct impact on why people will use your website / mobile app / whatever it is you’re doing then the investment – in time and money – might makes sense. But do the math.

Has someone else built it?

Don’t re-invent the wheel; it already works well. I’ve seen some super smart (and super techy) entrepreneurs build massive systems in-house. And they didn’t need to. Someone else did it, and did it better, because it was they only thing they did. Before you build, look into third-party apps (here’s the mother load from Steve Blank) and talk to other entrepreneurs to see if they can help. Otherwise it’s a waste of both – you guessed it – time and money.

Where did we have to reign back?

The wedding industry is changing as the digital landscape evolves. In short, there are a lot of really cool things you can do right now in the tech space when it comes to weddings. Even the way people are using technology during the weddings is pretty amazing to see – check out this bridesmaid who couldn’t make the wedding and decided to facetime to the event on an iPad. The groomsman literally walked the iPad (not the girl) down the aisle.

So you can imagine that it was easy to get carried away with all the online tools, apps and other cool things we could do in the space. For a while, we planned on becoming a mecca for wedding tools, websites and applications. But people were already doing that. And although we thought we could do it better, what we do right now is wedding registries. Wedding registries that make sense for couples. Wedding registries that are less about the gifts, and more about helping couples design their future together.

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