Build Your Business Like Software

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(I wrote in-depth pieces about how Your Business Is like Software here and also have another 8 Similar Principles Between Business and Software Development here.)

Build. Ship. Iterate.

I love iterative software development.

It’s how I’ve seen good software ship and become great software over time. I adore how it is all about continuous improvement. And I fully embrace it for my business.

If you’re moonlighting with your entrepreneurial endeavor, then you’re in beta. That’s not a knock, that’s awesome because at least you’re making progress. When you go full-time, it’s v.1 because you’ve launched this bad boy.

As of this writing, iThemes is at v.6. I label it like that because we’re in year 6 and each year we’ve sought to do better and better than the previous year by fixing bugs, optimizing the system and processes and always iterate to grow in an organic, healthy way to do and be more for our customers. 

My next tip in the Entrepreneurship for Developers series is this:

Approach and build your business like software.

Here are some quick thoughts on how to do that:

  • Have a roadmap for your company. Know where you are going and communicate it with your customers and team. We’re in the process of doing all of this for our team and community. In the past we’ve asked our community to Make Waves with us and this year we’re asking them to Go Far Together with us as their key partner for building their businesses and dreams online.
  • Know and communicate how you’re seeking to change the world doing what you do. We call this Making People’s Lives Awesome. It’s more a mantra than a mission statement. We try to be intentional in all that way do to show how we’re seeking to change our customer’s lives (and the world).
  • Test ideas to see what works and what doesn’t. Business is all about experimentation. Just make sure you understand what you’re testing and the impact and results (for better or worse) it could have on your business. We’ve been bold and sought to innovate in many areas … but always with the thought of not doing something that could doom us.
  • Always be systematically improving and optimizing your business. Do this for yourself, your team and your customers. Don’t stagnate or coast. If you’re successful and profitable, someone is gunning for you and your customers. We’re always seeking to optimizing what we do to be better for ourselves and our customers. 
  • Recognize that failure is just learning. It’s a bug you need to fix and a lesson you need to learn for next time. I love pushing new developers to ship a product. It’s the best learning environment and learning doesn’t happen without failing.
  • When bugs crop up, prioritize them, then fix them. The biggest fires that come up will always involve people. Because business is always personal. Bugs crop up in three areas typically: either you’re not doing the work you were personally meant and gifted to do, you have the wrong people around you, or you serving the wrong people. Or else some process that has to do with those is off. Find the big bugs and fix them fast.
  • Open source what you’re learning. That’s what I’m seeking to do here. Learn and grow, then teach and share. Blogging, speaking, mentoring, however you want but share what you’re learning with someone else.
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