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Questions to Ask When Choosing a Development Company for Your Startup

6 min read

Building a business is hard. Building technology for that business is even harder. After all, successful technology stacks don’t happen overnight. It’s the culmination of countless hours of hard work put into research, planning, and just plain old coding.

The right development company can help you build the foundation your startup desperately needs to get off the ground. The only problem? Finding a development company that is your perfect match.

With a lot of moving parts and high stakes, a lot is riding on your choice. Constant mulling over price, timing, and expertise can leave you feeling overwhelmed.

Many people make the mistake of picking the first agency where they find a contact or that advertises itself as an expert in their niche. But if you want to create an outstanding product, it’s vital to be smart about the selection process.

Here are some pointers to keep in mind when narrowing down your list of potential partners.

What is a development company?

You’ve come up with an amazing idea, and you know you can turn it into an incredible product. But how do you make the leap from idea to prototype?

Your idea might be a promising foundation for a successful company, but to get the ball rolling, you need to find a development company that will help bring your idea to life.

A development company will know the right programming languages, current technology trends, and tools to help you realize your vision. They take on your coding projects and ensure that you get your product developed on time and within budget.

Qualities of a great development company

Starting a new company can be a scary and lonely process. The right development partner can help take the confusion out of the equation, helping you to focus on one thing: your strategy. An experienced partner will understand what you need and help you build it. Here are some qualities to look for in your potential development partner.

Experienced, but curious about new things and open to innovative ideas.

Yes, they understand the value of experience and the insight it brings. But they also like to try new things and get excited about what they don’t know. Open-mindedness is a trait of every great architect.

Understands your vision

The best developers know that innovation requires empathy. They don’t just listen to their clients; they try to empathize with their vision. They ask questions, learn about what the clients are trying to achieve, and determine what will make the most impact.

Works efficiently

Most startups are understaffed and underfunded. As a result, founders are forced to spread themselves thin across multiple responsibilities. Knowing your development partner has efficient strategies in place to streamline their workflow can be a great asset.

Understands your customers

A great development team knows what your customers will want and listens to their needs. The best developers have the uncanny ability to understand customer problems and come up with personalized website solutions that relate better to your audience.

Why Choosing the Right Development Company is crucial?

In the quest to take your business from zero to one, the right development company can make all the difference. When you work with the right development firm, every line of code written will be a step toward higher profits and a brighter future.

The ideal company will work with your business to determine your unique needs and implement a suitable solution. It will provide you with a solid framework that will allow you to build a scalable and sustainable online presence.

Crucial Questions to Ask a Development Company

When it comes to selecting a development partner for your startup, there’s no room for guessing games. Narrowing down your list of top prospects to the most promising ones means asking the right questions at the right time.

By being proactive at the beginning of your partnership, you’ll make sure there aren’t any troubled waters ahead. To ensure your business makes the right call, start with these seven questions.

Do you have experience working with startups?

Startups often fail to gain traction because their development partner cannot comprehend the direction in which the company is heading. Early-stage startups have different challenges and pains than mature companies.

You need someone who understands the problems of a young company and acts accordingly. Development agencies that specialize in supporting startups have an intimate knowledge of the challenges you will face as you scale.

So, make sure you pick a development company that can help you navigate the startup terrain with agility and confidence.

Can you work within the set budget constraints?

It’s not uncommon for startups to live on shoestring budgets, and your development partner needs to understand that. The best partners will create an ingenious solution that fits your budget without sacrificing creative freedom or product quality.

When considering your options, ask potential partners how they handle tight-budget projects. Understand what they do to mitigate problems that can arise from budget constraints.

Don’t be afraid to discuss your budget limitations. Transparency, especially when dealing with potential development partners, is of extreme importance.

As a startup, you can’t afford to play it close to the vest. Having everyone on the same level of understanding is typically the best way to get things done.

How do you manage your projects?

No two companies are exactly alike, so it’s essential to get a full understanding of how your business will function with a particular vendor.

Get an idea of how their team works. Ask them about their process, how it differs from other teams, and why they believe they are better at it.

Try to speak with team members who have worked on similar projects in the past so you can get a better idea of your particular role in the process.

With too many voices and opinions clouding up the development discussions, it’s important to know that your partner implements a systematic structure for project management.

Can I Get References From Previous Clients?

Once you find a development company that seems ideal for your startup, don’t hesitate to ask for previous client references.

Put your potential developer on the spot and see how they respond to you asking about their previous projects. Their response will reveal exactly how much they value connecting with customers. See what results they have achieved with other businesses and determine if they can replicate those results for you.

Check-in with your chosen firm’s past clients. A quick call is all it takes, and it gives you a sense of how their services stack up against your expectations. By asking a few questions, you can understand whether their services have been valuable in their previous engagements with other companies.

How do you ensure your product quality?

The quality of a product is directly proportional to the amount of testing performed. Unfortunately, developers often overlook the need for testing, focusing on development alone. A streamlined testing process can mitigate a lot of problems, but only if it’s implemented rigorously. Testing is an integral part of the development process, and you should look for a company that treats it as such.

Your potential partner must follow a series of internal quality assurance measures to ensure that all bases are covered before launch. Choose a development team that has adequate QA testing engineers. These testers will provide you with necessary feedback so that you don’t have to shell out a fortune on touch-ups.

Who will own the intellectual property rights and the source code?

Imagine having a billion-dollar idea and pouring all your resources into actualizing it, only to discover that you don’t actually own the source code. That’s not a nightmare, but a reality check.

If the trademark or copyrights of your product are not protected, another business can use your design to create a similar product. For this reason, it’s important to be clear on who owns what rights during the development process, and you should outline this in a business contract of some sort.

By asking potential partners about their copyright terms, you can avoid potential snags in your project. Make sure to explicitly spell out the need for your chosen company to have a strong, consistent process for transferring intellectual property and ownership of source code.

Do you offer ongoing product support?

A product requires continuous maintenance to keep it running smoothly. Software upkeep is necessary to remove outdated features, fix new bugs, and add new functionalities. Look for a vendor that has the capacity and experience to implement and maintain your product. It’s important to know what they can provide before you get too deep with them, so you can work together with the right fit from the beginning.

Summing up

When it comes to choosing a development company, there are more than just the core elements to consider.

While technical skill, expertise, and capability are all critical, you should also consider the broader picture of how each prospective partner fits into your long-term roadmap.

A rigorous screening process can help you whittle down the list and find a partner who fits in with your vision.

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