Over at Oasis Digital, we are in the (job) market for our first non-developer, non-project-manager, non-service-delivery-focussed full-time team member. The job post is on the Oasis Digital site; I thought I’d write about a bit more about the story here.
Part of the challenge of running a software development consulting firm, is the tension between:
1) Focus on Customers You Have Now
Some firms are so service-delivery centric (#1 above), that they don’t bother to address the rest of the world, i.e. all of the not-customers-yet. Small consulting firms are especially vulnerable to this, and as a result they stay small.
Historically, Oasis Digital started in this category, with long-term projects, satisfied customers, and slow/organic growth. The shape of our organization reflects this: everyone, including me, works mostly on creating software for customers.
2) Focus on Customers You Want to Have Later
Some other software firms are highly marketing-driven, to the extent that their service delivery value proposition (in terms of design, features, and quality per customer dollar spent) suffers. Large technical service firms are especially vulnerable to this. Anyone who has been around the block a few times, has experienced the unique joy of a very large sum spent with a very large vendor to deliver sufficient, but disproportionately expensive, results.
Turning Up the Heat
Our goal and challenge now, is add a bit of focus on future customers (which is to say, marketing, community participation, etc.), without losing our service delivery mojo. To move things in that direction, we need at least one person who is not occupied by service delivery… hence our upcoming hire.
We will also quite likely start another software product or SaaS business along the way. (I’ve been there before, of course, and did plenty of hiring and business development work along the way.)
Some Things Won’t Change
Since inception, our sales process has been decidedly non-traditonal:
- We encourage potential customers to meet their needs with off-the-shelf software, not custom software, if possible.
- We don’t have commissioned salespeople. Nor commissioned pretend-they-aren’t-salespeople.
- Most of our team is, and will always be, all about delivering great results for our customers.
I’d love to receive feedback on this, from those of you with experience in this particular transition. You know how to reach me.
Update: We’ve filled the need for that job post, with a combination of a few people, rather than a single jack-of-all-trades as I had planned.