From service to software

How do you move from a services/consulting company to a software company?
Not easily.

For over 2 years now we have steadily built up a web consulting company, all the while thinking of the next big thing we could build. News Limited buys Myspace for $700 million, and Google grab YouTube for a paltry $1.6 billion. Even the weakest start-up can find a few million in funding to get off the ground, so surely a couple of smart guys sitting in Melbourne can come up with a winning idea that will sweep the world? It all seems so easy.

It’s not.

Ideas for new businesses and web applications fly through my head every day, but 2 years on we still haven’t started one. Two false starts in those two years, with neither progressing far past the planning and branding stages.
If ideas were enough I would be a millionaire by now (and I’m not). Ideas are worth nothing on their own. Execution is where the sweet spot is.

But sticking with a half way decent idea and then just building it is not all that easy either (hence our two false starts). It is probably easier to take the funding option from the start and focus exclusively on your idea, as that way there are no distractions. The move from a consulting company to a software company is a much more difficult path to follow, requiring more time, more adjustment, and more pain. Try looking at the invoice for the monthly office rent, then decide whether you are going to work on that website for your ASX listed client, or your unfunded, half developed start-up.

Eventually, things have to come to a head. When I was 26 I decided I wanted to own my own company by the time I was 30. I made it with 45 days to spare, but only by chucking in the safety of a full time job and making the leap into the “I want to be an entrepreneur” mindset. The same definitive step needs to be taken now, so here goes.

We have the idea, a successful consulting company, the cash reserves and a collection of enormously talented developers. So we are commencing development before we have a full business model sorted out. Before we have any customers lined up. Before we know what we are going to
charge.

Good enough is good enough, and we will launch something within eight weeks no matter
what.

That is our stake in the ground. Set the launch date, and work back from that to work out what can get in and what cannot. Once launched, we will iterate quickly to eventually build a product that everyone needs and wants.

Our consulting business will continue to grow and develop, but we won’t be sitting here wondering what might have been this time next year.

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