Who You Gonna Call? The Decision

Hiring the right team to help build your idea into something tangible is a huge decision. Finding the right development agency can be a daunting task, especially for non-technical start-up founders, who often feel left in the dark about crucial parts of their digital product’s development.

An idea at conception needs to be nurtured and cared for so that it can grow into a profitable business. I often use the analogy of the idea being a small child. The capital used to build the idea into something tangible is that baby’s food. Going one step further, the team you hire to build the first version is the partner you’re raising that child with. It’s a huge decision.

We’ve had clients approach us after being burned trying to get their first version launched. It’s hard to watch, given we’re so passionate about the work we do and genuinely not something we like to see. Here are some tips and pointers on what to look out for:

It’s not about the short term

When you approach a team or agency with your idea, you shouldn’t get a sense that they are playing a short game. A feeling that they just want to build this version and bail.

Think about it. You’re essentially courting your partner to raise this idea together over the coming months and years. In relationships, you should date, get to know each other. Talk with each other’s friends. Find the right fit.

Finding an agency shouldn’t be much different. That initial or first conversation should be like a first date. Are we compatible? Do we both love the idea as much as each other? It’s not about jumping into bed together right away.

Their reputation

Over the past years of building MiniCorp, one characteristic I’ve stayed focused on is our reputation. It’s the life blood of our business and something you should look out for.

For MiniCorp to be in business in 10, 20 or 30 years time, a rock solid reputation is a major requirement. The agency world can be difficult to navigate. Being known as an agency that strives for trust, honesty and transparency is a core part of our reputation.

This ensures that we stay focused on the long game. We’re not in it to sign you as a client and build tomorrow. We’re here to build a relationship together. To help you understand what we’re about. Even if building this app together isn’t the right fit, you’ll still hopefully discuss MiniCorp with other people within your network. It’s just good business.

Be wary of any agency who doesn’t have a strong reputation or are trying to build one.

Reference Checking

I cannot stress this point strong enough: Please reference check your potential prospects. You need to do your due diligence. There are two tasks here: internal reference checking and external reference checking.

  • Internal references: An agency should always be able to provide internal references and when you contact any of them it should be an absolutely glowing recommendation. These are the agencies contacts which are their power customers. Their golden people. If you don’t get a glowing recommendation from these, move on.
  • External References: This one is often overlooked, but it’s an important powerful step when hiring anyone. Jump onto their website or ask around and find the clients that they haven’t provided as a reference. These clients should still give great reviews or recommendations on the agency (the agency is, after all, showcasing their work on their site). Don’t be shy, call them.

I often encourage any potential client to not only ring our internal references but also to go to a tech meetup or startup event in Dublin and ask about MiniCorp.

It’s not rocket science

There’s a fear among prospective clients when hiring an agency that because of their lack of technical or design knowledge, they may be exploited.

Our reputation is key here. We feel that any client working with MiniCorp should feel they are completely included in the process. It’s a prerequisite.

We have constant reviews with the clients to ensure we all feel on the same page and pointing due north. We also encourage, which can be difficult, as much design and technical feedback from our clients as possible.

We’re building this together and it should feel like that.