Business Plans, Scalability, and Bug Squashing: True Business & Technology Alignment

It’s the eternal struggle.

No matter what you seem to do, or how well-oiled the machine is, getting business and technology teams to see eye-to-eye and agree on something can be like pulling teeth.

One “side” seems to have grand visions of the way things should be, while the other lives here on earth with realistic goals and expectations and boundaries. Both sides feel this way, right?

The good news is, it doesn’t have to be this way. Tech and business don’t have to be opposing sides. Rather, it’s possible to get your business and tech departments on the same team, speaking the same language, and oriented towards the same goals.

On a recent episode of SaaS Academy, we sat down with Larry Caldwell, VP of Business Development at truDigital Signage. We talked about how to find balance as a business developer, why a business plan is crucial for every SaaS company, and the most important thing to know when it comes to scalability, and so much more.

Here’s the scoop…

Finding Your Balance

It can be hard to find the right balance between business expectations and tech realities. If you’re not careful, you can end up with an overwhelmed development team because the business teams don’t understand how to strike a healthy balance.

Before your business team ever introduces pressure or a timeline, it helps to talk to a representative from the development team. Someone who understands the technology landscape, the time tables and what can and cannot be done.

Ask them how the development team is doing. How’s the morale? Do they need a boost? What needs to happen before the business department lays down new expectations?

Knowing that will save everybody a lot of time, effort, and strife in the short-term and the long-term, too.

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What’s Your Plan?

You can have the best product in the world. The most life-changing, out-of-this-world, this-will-make-everybody’s-life-better product, but without a solid business plan, nobody will know that it exists. That brilliant product will remain an idea.

There seems to be a prevailing thought that once your product is built, that people will just go to Google and find it and start using it.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

You need a vision. A solid concept, and a road map. What do you want to accomplish in the next 30 days? 60 days? 90 days? 1 year? 5 years?

Once you can answer those questions, sit down and draw-out what you’re seeing. Put it down on paper and compare it against your current product. How is it similar? How is it different? What unique problems will it solve that nothing else will?

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Now that you have your vision, you can begin to figure out who you’re going to sell your product to, how you’re going to sell it, and what you’re going to need to make those sales happen. A website? A demo account for people to try?

Satisfy your business needs, and then scale.

What You Need to Know About Business Scalability

So you’ve got your balance. You’ve got your business plan. Now it’s time to figure out how to scale. What happens when your product starts to sell and you’ve got to keep growing?

Larry had some very simple advice: Bugs and issues are going to happen, but don’t let that stop you from selling.

“There are going to be software problems,” he said, “it’s how we react to those problems that is going to determine our success.”

Think of Apple. They’re the largest software company in the world. How often do you see an operating system update on your phone, or watch, or computer?

If the world’s largest software company issues updates every 3-4 weeks and has to continually fix bugs, why on earth would we think that small businesses wouldn’t have to be consistently updating and fixing issues as well?

Once you have something that is a minimal viable product, go ahead and get it in front of people to sell. And sell it!

As that old saying goes, great is the enemy of done.

The alignment of business and technology teams isn’t always an easy one, but with just a few simple changes in mindset, you can set yourself on the path to true alignment.

This post is based on a SaaS Academy Podcast with Larry Caldwell and Mallory Merrill. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe here.

If you don’t use iTunes, you can listen to the podcast on any of these other platforms: SaaS Academy Podcast PageStitcherSpotifyGoogle Play, and SoundCloud.

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