Make Waves in Stagnating Waters

Tech has exploded, and software is eating the world. Every day new ideas, and new services surface, making development a hot commodity. Talent is the engine for this growth and can be identified, rudimentarily, in two forms:

-Business Development
-Software development

Unfortunately, many software developers understand business, but very few businesspeople understand software. Easily, there are more businesspeople than developers. They’re all struggling to grapple onto the growth within this space but the businesspeople are faced with a much more pressing problem than the developers- where do they find talent? They have ideas, but how do they execute?

Some find technical co-founders, and some do not. For those who do not, talent must be purchased, but from where?

Typically people won’t be too concerned about where it’s done they just want it done well, finished quickly and provided cost-effectively. This makes development overseas extremely attractive.

This is where it gets interesting for developers from foreign countries, how do they stand out? How do they grow a company that capitalizes on this overwhelming need for development?

I’ll tell you one thing that doesn’t seem to be recognized

Being there is not enough!

You can’t just exist as a company that provides software services, you need to differentiate, and find what you’re best at that other companies aren’t best at.

When the internet exploded between 1999 and 2001, website development was a lucrative field and very niche- very few people could do it, and so you could operate a business based on providing this service alone.

If you offered web development today, you would be a needle in a haystack, you would have to fight for business and promote aggressively. The same has happened with software development.

You’re 1 in a zillion, so instead of saying you make software- specialize in developing ecommerce apps with a gamification element, or shopping applications that use augmented reality. That way, instead of chasing projects, you’ll be sought after.

One more thing – be an expert!

Developers in the west provide so much product development advice you wish you could shut them up, but at the same time it’s comforting because it demonstrates knowledge and expertise. I have worked with several companies overseas that tend to believe that referencing applications that already exist, and basing all decisions on what’s been done is a good way to consult. It isn’t. The software market in the west is so over-saturated that the only way to succeed is to think ahead of the curve, not with it. Provide bold solutions, provide innovation, and disruption. Take the time to have the conversation with the client, they want your help whether they act like it or not- only fools shy away from advice, and most of your clients are not fools (even though they probably seem like it).

You can be kind, you can provide added-value, but what is truly valued is ground-breaking solutions and a feeling of comradery and partnership. We want to know you’re with us all the way and care just as much about this as we do. Now, you can’t teach passion- but if you can’t be passionate about software I have no idea why you’re building it. That’s another story altogether though.

For a software company in a foreign country there is a great deal of opportunity but success will be determined by the degree to which you generate clients on a referral basis. Word-of-mouth is your best friend if you’re in the business of being a good business.This promotion can only be earned, and to earn it you have to be memorable- try and find out how you will be remembered, and remembered fondly. Maybe you don’t find a niche but develop a new process for dealing with clients that is groundbreaking, or perhaps you provide additional services relevant to entrepreneurs in North America.

If you’re currently operating in a foreign country and have gained a client base keep in mind that it’s the tip of the iceberg and that preservation of success will come with focus on what sets you apart.  Best of luck to you, play it right and the future will be very bright!

The author, Chris Atkinson is a digital strategist at OMD Worldwide and is based in Toronto, Canada.