As an entrepreneur, whether you’re big or small, there’s a good chance you’re sitting on a successful software idea. You’d be surprised at how easy it is to develop software that can maximize the value of the business you’re already doing.
For Dan Martell, who was named Canada’s top angel investor in 2012 and is the founder of three successful companies, one of his biggest ideas came out of a small fix he created for his everyday work life. Dan would spend hours responding to professionals who were trying to network with him—and the process of scheduling a time to talk was a hassle. So Dan created some simple software that solved the problem.
The result was an award-winning software application called Clarity.
“It was never meant to be an ‘idea,’” Dan says. “Clarity was just a way for me to schedule phone calls from people who were emailing me asking to pick my brain… and then it became a 50,000-person expert network.”
Your idea is what counts. You don’t need to be a technical person or a computer programmer to come up with the next big software solution. Given today’s easy-to-use, pre-built software building blocks, just about anyone can assemble a new application.
Dan continued, “The technology has become essentially ‘modularized.’ When Clarity was built, the first version, we used just three API modules: Stripe for payment, Facebook for the account, and Twilio for the connectivity. That was it…and it was built within a day.”
Those three pieces were all it took for professionals to connect, setup a meeting, and pay each other for the expert advice they needed. Dan is confident you can bring your idea to life with the same ease.
You Need a Microscope, Not a Time Machine
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to go back to 1999 to turn a simple idea into a success. Today’s business environment is just as fertile. Dan says that’s because each level of innovation “unlocks” the next one.
“That’s what gets me excited,” Dan explained, “because I believe most companies have an opportunity to look at software. If you’re a successful company, then there’s something you’re doing—a process, a system, a methodology—that’s working for you.”
It’s just a matter of figuring out what you’re already doing right, picking apart why and how it works, and then developing that into a platform other businesses can use. Most important of all, when you craft your idea, avoid the distraction of the digital.
It’s About Solutions in the Real World, Not Programming
The technical term for this kind of business model is SaaS—Software as a Service.
Cloud-based service companies have been the textbook examples for this kind of service, and yet the definition has continued to widen as new types of businesses expand into the digital realm.
This even includes the now-famous taxi service Uber. “A lot of people didn’t think Uber was a big idea, since it was such an analog, off-line interaction,” Dan says. “People were [obsessed with] the ones and zeros,” instead of the world-changing potential of drivers and riders physically meeting up in the real world. The software just initiates the connection and secures the payment.