Most consultants are genuinely experienced in the field they specialize in, but in many cases new consultants will still be encountering things they need to learn in order to give their clients the most well-rounded advice. For example, in the case of software development, it’s very possible that you’ve been a developer for many years and even the owner of a software company, but since you didn’t have to take certain steps on your own journey, you might not yet be familiar with those aspects of the business.
Thus, when you start offering consultant services, it’s important to be confident that you’re extremely knowledgeable about the niche your clients operate in, even if that means conducting ongoing research – as that is typically part of the job description. With that said, here are some of the most pertinent topics that software development and marketing consultants should be taking into consideration:
1. Understand the Importance of Software Escrow
One topic that many consultants aren’t experienced with is the concern of whether or not a development firm should release its source code to all licensees. Most developers are hesitant to give their source code away to licensees because it’s likely that eventually it will wind up all over the web and their program or app would then be available for other developers to copy and profit from.
On the other hand, licensees understandably want access to the source code, especially if it’s a business software that their company depends on. Their fear is that the developer may eventually go out of business or stop providing updates for whatever reason, at which point the software would stop working for them. A great way to reach an agreement on this matter is for the developer to use software escrow services to safely provide access to the source code without openly distributing it.
2. Become Familiar with Licensing Procedures and Practices
Most developers don’t need you to tell them how to do their job, but they might need help with the legalities and technicalities involved in publishing software and keeping it safe from pirates and nefarious developers. These sorts of gray areas are what you want to be really knowledgeable in because it’s information that’s not as commonly discussed among developers.
It may require a bit of a learning before you get a firm grasp on every step involved in the process, but once you do, you’ll be in a better position to walk your clients through the publishing and licensing process as accurately and professionally as possible.
3. Have Knowledge of Software Marketing and Distribution
Many developers are so focused on programming and software design that they haven’t really had the time to become well-versed in the marketing aspect of the business. That’s where you can come in as a consultant recommending all of the methods of advertising and distribution that the firm can use to get their software widely recognized and used.
In fact, one of the main things your clients will ask you about is how they can get more downloads and sell more licenses, so be prepared to provide good answers. This is an important area to devote study time to because chances are, even if you’re a very experienced developer, you could still learn a lot when it comes to modern online marketing and software distribution techniques.
4. Develop an Eye for Design
You don’t have to be a graphic designer or even have experience as a developer to know what looks good and to become educated about industry standards and common behavior. Study ad placement and app design and you’ll have the information needed to know what you’re talking about when you have to provide an exact reason to explain why you don’t like a particular feature in an interface.
Browse the web a lot in your spare time and read app design magazines to build a veteran mindset towards assessing and analyzing the quality of a software’s functionality and appearance. Download as many apps as you can fit on your device and read a lot of top 10 app lists to increase your knowledge of the market and what has worked well historically.
5. Spend Time Researching New Client Niches
Spend time looking at and using the top alternative apps or programs for your client’s software. Read reviews of each of them to get an idea of what other users noticed and liked about the leading competitors’ software. That will give you a seasoned taste for what works within the client’s specific niche, so you’ll be equipped to give sound and informed advice that could actually produce commendable results for the client – which should be your primary goal as a developer.
Eventually, you’ll have done work in so many different niches for your growing client base that you won’t have much left to learn in each, so things will become much less tedious then as you’ll be able to recall the information rather than having to discover it all for the first time.
Giving Your Clients Value Instead of Small Talk
Have you ever read one of those marketing landing pages that is all dressed up in fancy text with nice pictures and a great layout, but it has you scrolling down for 20 minutes before you get to the bottom of it? It’s a huge spiel that tells you what you’re “about to find out,” or what they’re “about to teach you” but then you get to the end and you realize they were never going to tell you anything – it was just a teaser.
Well, a lot of consultants operate the same way – they talk a smooth game, but when you really break down what they’re saying, there’s no factual substance. Don’t be like the majority. Instead, set yourself apart and become a leading consultant in your field by truly becoming an expert at what you do and offering actionable, tangible advice rather than hyped up buzzwords and generalized sweeping statements.