When we think of software development, sometimes our minds can move towards all things Startup. With the buzz given to new startups and funding, you could be forgiven for thinking software development is heavily skewed to developing and building startups.
Funding routes within the Startup industry is somewhat formulaic. Starting with a concept and after researching the market size and opportunity you will have a variety of options to fund your idea. This usually comes in the form of a friends and family funding round, pitching to angel investors, crowdfunding on platforms such as Seedrs, or, you can self fund your app development.
Standard practice would be for your first investment to fund your prototype in the form of a design sprint – then build your MVP.
After you build your MVP – the name of the game is traction, and then likely taking proof of concept and perhaps early-stage revenue and pitching to Seed Funds and Venture Capital (VC) firms.
That’s how you fund your Software in a Startup.
What about an Enterprises and SME’s?
These businesses that may be less desirable to investment from Venture Capital institutions, and equally, may find VC terms unappealing.
Typically, to fund software development within these Enterprises, you are faced with a small number of choices.
You can fund software development from your balance sheet
Or you can finance software development through company loans.
Loans are repayable, and balance sheet funding can be difficult, especially if you have company debt to be paid, or wish to reinvest profits in different elements of your business.
But, there is one underutilised form of funding software development in Enterprises and SME’s often neglect, and this is through R&D tax credits.
“Software is continually evolving, and new applications for Software are constantly being developed (e.g. robots, augmented reality, IoT and more).
Any company that is developing Software could qualify for R&D tax relief. If a business has a team of software developers to support other companies in their software projects, they too can make an application. This includes the provision of Software as a Service (SaaS), business tools or enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.”
So How Do I Qualify?
To qualify, you need to demonstrate how the Software will advance the overall knowledge or capability against an existing product. The improvement can not be adapted from freely available information. This is good news if your business resolves difficulties and challenges that have not to net been overcome by a competent professional in a field.
So what constitutes an entity that may be able to benefit from R&D tax relief?
“An example could be, the development of a new software capability to improve the speed of the system. It might be the optimisation or re-architecting or combination of different technologies that did not previously integrate. Or improvement in the capability of an existing product or system.”
It can’t merely be tweaking a software platform just for your business. Still, it could include adapting custom-made systems for integration (with web programs, new hardware, new devices or making older technologies work in conjunction with each other).
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Finding a highly skilled remote software developer can require a huge amount of time, and even some trial and error.
When we ask companies. “What are you looking for in your search for a highly skilled quality remote software developer?” We typically get common responses.
They must be:
Fluent in our language
Willing to make Standups on our timezone
Preferably worked in one company that has scaled previously
Not too long ago, the majority of software developers used to be concentrated, on-premise and work for major players like Microsoft and Adobe. With a lot of operations transitioning fully or in part to digital, software developers have found careers in other industries such as agriculture, startups, marketplace applications and manufacturing while a large number do freelance work.
Software developers do more than just write code – contrary to what some non-technical co-founders think. Although one of their main functions is to develop and test software to meet client demands, they are also tasked with upgrading software, monitoring performance, and resolving issues. The most exciting part of all? Documenting all of this work for future reference (said with sarcasm!).
Recent global events have drastically changed the landscape of how we work. The risks and limitations of moving around have forced a lot of workers to WFH. Several industries have transitioned successfully to having their teams work remotely with little to no effort. Others are in a blind panic, trying to figure out how to work remotely. Thankfully for remote Software Developers, they can get all of their work completed anywhere they have a computer and a stable and robust internet connection.
Software developers can be flexible in where they work but hiring and recruiting a great one is a different animal, let alone executing the interview and recruitment process entirely remotely.
What Qualities Should I Look For when Hiring a Remote Software Developer?
To hire a great software developer, the benchmark qualities and characteristics must first be clearly defined. Here are a few traits that make a great software developer.
More than coding and programming, a software developer’s job is to solve problems. Great developers will not box themselves into a singular or linear set of tools, skills, or languages. They are able to view problems from multiple angles and perspectives and consequently provide more creative and efficient solutions.
Great Software Developers don’t rely on technical skills alone. There are fundamental skills that a developer must possess to be functional in the role. You should not expect successful outcomes from people who are not equipped with the appropriate skills for the job or with the required experience
Remote Software Developers often work in highly variable work setups. Good developers can cope with changing tasks, accountabilities and an evolving team and leadership. The work specifications and demand may also change over time. The ability to be productive despite these is critical. The ability to communicate clearly across teams that may potentially come from a different background is also vital.
How do I Recruit a Great Software Developer?
Recruiting quality, remote talent can be a daunting task. It involves a time commitment, utilizing advanced evaluation techniques, and employing appropriate interview strategies and tactics. Here are a few steps that may improve your chances of success in finding the quality you are looking for.
Before the Interview
Quality attracts quality; quality people often associate themselves around other high-quality individuals. Having a personal network at the top echelons of whatever industry you work in will put you in an excellent position in filling vacancies. Studies have also shown that referrals still account for up to a quarter of successful hires.
Evaluating Technical Skillset
One effective method is to have candidates solve a programming problem that is not boxed within a specific language. This will effectively help you measure the candidate’s problem-solving skills, overall knowledge of computer science, and coding style. The litmus test for evaluating a software developer is to provide them with a test project to work on that would showcase their skills and overall competencies. This way, you can have a better measure of how they fit your organization.
How do I Recruit Software Developers Remotely?
Recruiting employees who you will not be seeing in person brings about some level of anxiety, especially for those companies that have recently transitioned to a WFH culture. The remote recruitment process bypasses several steps in the observation of the candidate and the way they interact in a physical workspace.
Keen observation and documentation skills is key. You will have to look out for little things such as responsiveness to emails. A remote employee who will take days to respond to emails during the hiring process will most likely have delays in responding to urgent work emails and other forms of correspondence.
It is also equally as important to ask exploratory questions that require specific answers that you can validate. Dig deep on experience, particularly in working remotely. Have the candidate provide a portfolio of previous work and projects and have your team verify. At this stage, the interview is not much different from a physical in-person interview aside from the fact that you are missing the candidate’s physical presence.
Putting it All Together
Hiring a quality candidate can be difficult in any setting – remote or otherwise. One good example is recruitment within sports teams. When choosing a prospective player to purchase, teams, gather volumes of data, study workouts, and observe how the prospect plays in-game. Yet, most teams still end up drafting busts.
Live chat is still a relatively new way of letting your customers to converse with your support team in real-time. It can be used to to ask questions, get guidance or just enhance customer confidence while making a purchase.
With services like Crisp, Drift, Intercom.io, and ConvertFox it’s easier than ever to add a human touch to your website or platform whilst conveying your brand story and resolving customer issues in realtime and simultaneously.
The American Express 2017 Customer Service Barometer reports that almost 33% of Americans consider taking their business elsewhere after just a single instance of inadequate customer service. You don’t need a degree in Marketing to know that high-quality customer service is critical to the long-term success and growth of your organization.
Catering to every question, concern and comment of your existing and potential customers can be time-consuming and a drain on your resources. Take a look at 5 ways in which you can use live chat to offer a hassle-free customer support for your business:
Provide answers fast and in real time:
According to a recent Forrester research, 44% of frequent online shoppers agreed that having someone immediately respond to their queries through live chat influences their purchasing decision and is one of the most important features a platform could offer. Not only this, almost 55% of customers abandon their cart midway if they don’t find a quick answer to their questions, which proves that while live chat can be a convenient way to provide on-demand support, it also improves conversion rates for your business.
When you communicate with your customers directly from your platform’s product page, you are able to address their concerns faster, as they don’t have to rely on email, phone or FAQs to get help. Drift, a conversational marketing platform, conducted a study involving 433 sales teamsto learn how fast they were responding to inquiries from new customers, and if their response time actually affected the overall lead generation. They reported a 10x decrease in your chances of getting in touch with a lead that has been left without a response for 5 minutes.
In the fast-paced world of today, where thousands of businesses out there are providing the same product or service as you, why would a customer wait 48 hours for your support team to assist them? Acknowledging a potential customer right away gives a better impression, and live chat helps you do just that.
Integrate with your CRM:
Imagine you’re the owner of a fairly popular restaurant, with several repeat customers, like, that woman who always requests for gluten-free food, or the man who orders the same drink every time. In an ideal scenario, you’d recognize them and cater to their requirements accordingly, however, in this instance, you have no idea what “same as always” or “the usual” means when they place an order. Eventually, the customers stop returning because you fail to build a rapport with them.
Storing your customer’s information helps you serve them better when they get in touch with you. Live chats can be easily integrated with your CRM, where you can efficiently collect and store details of all the customers you talk to. When your support team receives a message on live chat, any customer data like name, IP address, social media accounts, phone, and email, are captured by the CRM.
Next time, when you speak to the same customer, you can make use of tools like Lead DNA by Tubular to pull all the information you have on them from the CRM to provide a more personalized support experience. With a CRM integrated live chat, your team can finally spend less time looking up customer data in the admin dashboard and more time pursuing hot leads.
Create friendly greetings:
Most live chats have an ‘auto trigger’ functionality that greets customers based on pre-defined criteria, such as, time, location, first-time customer, referral customer, etc. For example, when a customer has been on the pricing page for a while, your live chat can automatically pop up with a message saying, ‘Hi, do you have any specific questions regarding our pricing?’ On a similar note, if a customer is browsing the ‘shoes’ category on your eCommerce store, you can push them to make a purchase by saying, ‘Hey, we’re offering 10% OFF on all shoes purchased today. Interested?’
Live chat greetings can be a great way to emphasize the tone of your brand. Do you prefer to keep it professional and to-the-point or would rather take the conversational, quirky approach? Regardless of your choice, remember to come across as approachable, so the customer is comfortable bringing their questions and concerns to your table. Since you already have information about where the customer is from, you can also customize your greeting to their local language. To give it a more ‘human’ touch, add a picture of your support team member or a friendly avatar to the live chat that shows alongside your messages, including the greeting.
Have Templates answers ready:
Templates or ‘canned responses’ shorten the response time for your support team, allowing them to communicate with more customers. Create a ‘canned response’ sheet by compiling answers to the most commonly asked questions, which can then be used during a live chat or even when you’re responding to tickets. You can save URLs, common experiences, lengthy instructions, foreign names, complex addresses, and essentially anything that you find yourself typing repeatedly.
A lot of platforms allow you to save canned responses in the live chat itself to save you the back and forth of referring to a separate document. This can especially come in handy when your support team is busy or is not able to give their full attention to the customer at any given moment.
You can also choose to include a line or two about an ongoing promotional offer, discount or coupon in your canned responses, as well. For maximum impact, make sure your templates are personalized, friendly, conversational and have a ‘human’ touch to them.
Help people when you are asleep:
When you have a customer base spanning different time zones, you might not be able to respond to their queries outside of your business hours. In today’s fast-paced world, where the internet is always ‘on’, you might miss out on potential customers and leads while you sleep. Luckily, with live chat, you can engage with customers 24/7 by automating it to capture vital information like customer’s name, email, and their question while you’re away.
Once you’re online again, you can use this information to get back to the customer and assist them with the issue they are facing with your platform.
According to Econsultancy, 79% of customers said they prefer live chat over other forms of communication to get their questions answered. With live chat, you not only get a better customer experience using, more conversions, and a higher average order value from customers engaging with your business online.
If your interested in building a workflow to capture leads on your website then click in the chat tab in the bottom right hand corner to chat to one of the team.
When you are growing a business, you often don’t have a lot of human power behind your social media marketing so it’s always nice to look for ways you can reduce the time it takes to create engaging content. Here’s a new tool called Shout, its an app for creating colourful animated GIFS from images and text and it runs in your browser. You can create small, simple GIFS in seconds. Another excellent GIF service is GIFS.com, which allows you to upload a YouTube video ( or someone else’s Youtube video) and trim the video to the section you want to add captions and save an animated GIF for you to use. You can get some excellent results in very little time. Remember: People’s attention spans are low, and they usually click on something that is moving, so you need to grab their attention on social media. Now meet , We’ve loved finding out about Mailport, in a nutshell, it allows you to create a MailChimp style campaigns but for facebook messenger. The best part is that it’s free for up to 1000 Facebook messenger subscribers. These great offerings give you a chance to deep dive into a tool before you start paying for it.
You may have heard of Buffer, but later.com‘s USP is that they allow you to schedule your posts visually. Instagram is such a visual platform that it makes sense to be able to schedule your posts visually and differently than you may do a Tweet. Have you come across any cool social media tools lately ? If you have please reach out and let us know, we love trying out new tools.
We are a consultancy team ready to turn your ideas into reality. Leave your details with us and a member of our team will get in-touch.