As an entrepreneur, it’s an amazing feeling when your customers tell you that your business is delivering something unique. I recently had this happen and wanted to share the anecdote.
I was recently introduced to a potential new customer looking to build a software product for a new business. The contact who introduced us joined us on a call in which I was describing how we typically engage with customers when defining and building a “minimum viable product (MVP)”.
I stated that CodeStringers does a couple of things that most other outsourcers do not:
- We don’t charge for discovery. When an entrepreneur wants to build a software product, that product needs to be clearly defined as the product definition ultimately translates into an estimate of effort, duration and budget. Most outsourcing companies charge for this. In most cases, however, CodeStringers does this work for free. Why? First of all, it’s because we think it’s the right thing to do. Our customers shouldn’t have to pay us until we mutually agree on exactly what we’ll be building. Secondly, we do so because we see discovery as an investment in the partnership between us and the client. Finally, we feel that there is value in seeing the discovery phase as an opportunity for the client to vet and for us to vet them. This helps us stick to our “no a-hole” policy (if we meet potential clients who behave contrary to our corporate values, we do NOT want to work with them).
- Once we generate a release plan and an estimate, we commit to it. If the client adheres to their responsibilities and does not change requirements, we will deliver on the date to which we committed and for the budget to which we committed, even if we have to assign additional resources on our dime. Come hell or high water, we will hit our estimate. Why do we do this? Again, because we feel it’s the right thing to do. I grew up in a family that was big on integrity. I learned that integrity is about doing the right thing even when no one is watching. I also learned to say what I mean and do what I say – to keep my promises. If we blow an estimate, that’s our fault, not yours. When you make a mess, clean it up. It’s just that simple.
Anyway (getting back to the anecdote), as I was explaining these aforementioned two things to the potential client, I stated casually, “I think this makes us different from most outsourcing companies.”
Then the contact that introduced us (and this is a person who has worked with a LOT of outsourcing firms over the years) replied, “No, Mike, that makes you different from ALL outsourcers.”
Although I responded stoically, I was truthfully giddy to hear someone who I respect tell me what makes our business unique and valuable. Moreover, it was wonderful to hear that our corporate values are, in fact, valued.