In our ten years of operating, Stickman Ventures has found the majority of businesses we work with fall into one of four groups. These groups straddle the combinations of technological familiarity and centrality of the project to the client’s core business. To clarify, we define technological familiarity as internal knowledge of relevant technologies and systems to be implemented within the terms of our agreement. We define centrality as how integral the technology we are implementing is to our client’s primary revenue generator. Below we examine each type of client and how we help them achieve their goals.
This is the closest we come to consulting work at Stickman Ventures, because these projects typically require the most definition. Our varied experiences with a myriad of clients has granted us perspective on how to best construct systems for our clients, even when they need our help defining what exactly those systems might be. Typically these clients have an idea of a service or process they want, but maybe not the technical or systemic expertise to lay a comprehensive foundation for the project. In these cases, we place a premium on early communication with the client and doing on site visits. Seeing their operation for ourselves, speaking frequently with multiple people at the business, and iterating through ideas secures a better understanding of what the client wants to achieve and how we recommend achieving it. The process breeds clarity, and that clarity breeds trust: successful projects within this category are most likely to produce repeat business.
Most frequently these clients desire your business’ domain expertise, or they need additional development resources without hiring new employees. These projects require meticulous definition of what constitutes success and how it will be achieved due to your position as an outside entity. Because the project is outside the core of your client’s business, failure will be wholly owned by your team in the event a milestone or target is missed. But once expectations are aligned, the work for these projects complete quickly because we deal with the least amount of legacy technology. Projects like this on average require the least number of active development hours from our team.
Clients like these require patience, but our relationships with them yield great rewards. Because they are less familiar with industry standards it takes a significant amount of work to reach an aligned set of expectations, especially because the work you’re doing will affect their core business. The lion’s share of the work with these clients occurs in the early stages of the project; building trust is paramount. The sales cycle, specification, and communication channels must be meticulously tailored to the circumstances of the client. While the long lead time may cause some businesses to pass over these these clients, we relish the opportunity to work with them. Stickman Ventures is an organization that runs on trust, goodwill, and mutual benefit: our mission uniquely suits us to working through these early stages. Delivering to these clients is both cathartic and profitable: repeat clients from these projects are overwhelmingly our highest CLV relationships.
These clients know what they intend to do well before they begin speaking with your team. Like the second group these clients enter into agreements because your business has domain expertise beyond that already in their possession, or they want to expand their development team without committing to new hires. The work varies significantly between projects: sometimes you may be integrating yourself within a development team, and other times you may be completely responsible for an additional feature. The specifications are exacting and the expectations consistent: these clients are the most profitable per hour invested due to short sales cycles and initial shared expectations.
As a small business that lives and dies on our relationships with clients, processes like this ensure we keep our doors open and continue to bring our community to new frontiers. While this is by no means the only method we use to tailor our approach to clients, it is one we frequently applied. We hope that the glimpse into how we keep our client relationships and business healthy is serviceable to you and your endeavors.
If you liked this post, have some questions for us, or want to explore some new ideas, then get in touch! We reply to everyone that reaches out to us, so don’t hesitate to fill out our contact form. You can also stay up to date through our Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Google Plus accounts! Thanks for reading, and we hope to hear from you soon!