3 proven ways anyone can build a software product

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2020 was a great year. What great means here is defined by your experience. While many will talk about COVID-19, lockdowns, recessions and deaths, some others will tell you about how they got paid million or made billions in the same year.

Despite all the bad news trending in 2020, some many things still worked out well. Tesla Inc (TSLA) stock price increased by 740% in 2020, WHO declared Africa wild polio free , water was discovered on moon, Paystack was acquired for $200million  and so much more.

What will define 2021 for you? What are your plans? What options do you have? There is going to definitely be a new normal, things will not remain the same. How will this affect you? Or how do you plan to ride the tide? It is your choice, really.

So, what is your story going to be at the end of 2021?

One thing, for sure, is that an investment in online software product development will be very rewarding. The market is there for the taking. There are so many opportunities to build and monetize. You don’t even have to be a techie to jump on the train.

That is why I am here.

I will share a few thoughts of mine with you on how you can use technology and software to earn more money and increase your income in 2021.

1: How to build software products and services as a Company

The impact of COVID-19 cannot be overstated. The business landscape has changed seriously. working from home became the new normal. A lot of business processes have started changing or even changed altogether. A lot of businesses who, prior to the lock down, had issues with remote work have no choice but to embrace it. Some have even found it a cost saver.

A lot of things about work will change post COVID-19, Harvard Business School predicts that remote work will become strategic, in-person meetings will be less important, supply chain strategy will be more difficult among other things.

Number of workers that will decide to work remotely will increase sharply and this will have many consequences. One of which will be that all businesses that thrive on physical presence of customers to function will lose out if they don’t migrate to an online platform.  Think of restaurants in business districts and how much their sales will drop. Remote work also means people will likely leave big cities for suburban or rural areas. If you are into transport business in big cities, this will not work out well for your business.

Now will be a good time for businesses to create alternatives for their thriving products that will be internet compatible. Banks, for example, should be thinking of building or expanding their online banking platforms. If you are in restaurant business, its high time you considered having an online food ordering service or partner with someone who already does. Some businesses might need to shut down completely, if remote work is widely adopted as predicted. If you cannot create an online version of your business, I am sure there is something new that you can do that is related to your core business. A shuttle bus company can pivot into home delivery business and possible partner with a restaurant.

How to go about creating internet friendly products as a company

First of all, think of what software products or platforms you can develop based on your company’s offering. All these are potential software ideas. Look also at some of the way your business processes. What have you mastered so well? For example, if you have a world class customer service department, you can as well build a world class customer service software product based on your customer service department.

You don’t have to be a full-fledged software company to have an online software product. There are a number of ways to go about it:

  1. Hire a team of software developers and product managers to help build a product.
  2. Partner with a software company to build products. The company will provide technical knowledge while you provide domain knowledge.
  3. You can outsource the development to freelancers.
  4. Acquire or invest in a software company.

You should create a product within or related to your field of expertise. I will not advice you start a product in domain you have no idea of. You will be setting yourself for heartbreak and a disaster because you are going to losing both ways. Tech is already too complex on its own (at least that’s what people tell me when I try to explain seemingly simple tech stuff to them). Imagine what will happen if an electronics company wanting to build agrictech online solution.

A bank can build fintech products. A tax company can decide to build an e-tax platform. As a travel and tours business owner, you can start an online cross-cultural lifestyle magazine, there are a number of people who will be willing to tell the world about their cultures, so content will not be a problem if position yourself well enough.

To kickstart your new software product/service business, here are some points you should consider.

  • Brainstorm with your team on what you can build.
  • Get software consultants to help you brainstorm. Get in touch with us  if you want experienced software experts.
  • Consider the financial implication.
  • Do market research.
  • Decide on which tech stack to use.
  • Make sure what you are building can be deployed to the cloud.
  • Plan executing and then execute.
  • Deploy and let your marketing and sales team move in.

2: How you can build a software product around your expertise and skillset

Your years of experience and skillset in your chosen field will always count for something. Although your field might not always be in existence. Software (and mobile apps) is fast eating everything up.

Everything in on this 1991 Radio Shack ad page has been replaced by a smartphone
The smartphone has replaced all the items in the ad in this Radio Shack page published in 1991

As if that was not enough, Artificial Intelligence  and Machine Learning  are fast becoming mainstream, and are making what software did look like child’s play. Recently OpenAI released the third version of its Generative Pre-trained Transformer, known as GPT-3 for short, even as a software developer, I have not been able to wrap my head around all the projects that have built around GPT-3. I am always wowed whenever new project shows up.

It is not all bad news, usually when software and technology in general, makes some professions obsolete, it usually creates new ones at the same time. For example, it takes 30 people to fly a manned fighter aircraft, while it takes 300 people to fly an unmanned ariel vehicle (also known as drones) in the military. 30 jobs where consumed but 10 times more jobs were created. whoever chooses not to upgrade themselves were the ones who lost out. Machines replacing humans have been happening since as far back as the early 70s when NASA started replacing its human computers with machines.

Tech is a solution and not a problem, however it will change things. And you don’t have to be part of what it will change. It is a choice you have to make.

How to build a software around your expertise and experience

  1. Write down your skillset and experiences you have garnered over the years.
  2. Do a research to find out which one can be turned into a software product or service. Yes, you can use Google.
  3. Form a rough idea of a product that you can build based on your research.
  4. Schedule a brainstorming session, you should include some of your tech friends. Frameworks and tools like Applied User Story Mapping can help you with brainstorming products.
  5. Now get the tech team to help you with it.

As with all businesses, following the above steps does not mean the product will be successful. Neither do you have to follow the above to the letter. There are different approaches. It is totally okay to follow your intuition. if you think your software idea will be a great product, then it might as well be. Learn to use data to test your assumptions. Sometimes, all you will need is to tweak something(s) somewhere. And that’s what user test will do for you.

One methodology of developing software that has been gaining momentum recently is the Agile Software Development Methodology. Agile methodology involves the discovery of requirements and the development of solutions through a collaborative effort by self-organizing and cross-functional teams and their clients and/or end users. It advocates adaptive planning, evolutionary development, early delivery and continuous improvement, and encourages flexible responses to change.

Agile Methodology for Software Development
Generic sketch of Agile Software Development method
H/T: Wikimedia Commons

3: How to make money even if you are not ready to build any product

If you are not ready to build and manage a software of your own, you can still make some money online using your skill. You can either apply as a freelancer or apply for a remote working position. You can register on freelance sites like Upwork.com, Fiverr.com, Freelancer.com and a whole lot of others. From experience, getting jobs on those sites is not as easy as just registering, there are ways to go about it and what to do. Once you get a hang of how that really works, the rest becomes easier.

Freelancing promises so much in a short time, if you can take time to understand it. There are a number of skills that are highly in demand. Having those skills will be an advantage. If you don’t have skills or any at all, you can always go to online learning platforms like Udemy, Coursera, Lynda and Pluralsight.

Top and Trending skills on Upwork.com
Top and trending skills on Upwork.com


There is so much money to be made by making your business and/or skills available online. The above are some of the ways because ideas and opportunities are so vast that one article cannot do justice. What I have done is to show you what is possible and I am even only scratching the surface. I will be expounding some of these concepts and ideas in due course, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, I want you to watch out for my next post which will talk about the common pitfalls to avoid when developing a software product.

Follow me and my partners as we help you breakdown the tech industry into bits you can easily grasp.

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