3 Replies Latest reply on Aug 7, 2014 5:36 AM by malachydevlin

    Business Model.


      Dear Fellow Developers, this question is very much based on business advice but is tied into filemaker development.


      I wondered how you fellow developers find the most profitable approach for your companies(s).

      1 - Developing custom solutions for clients


      2 - Trying to market a solution that is more off the shelf.


      I must admit I felt the later was my direction but recently I have found the entire I.T industry at bursting point. It seems to be “all over the place”, I am in UK / N.Ireland so maybe things are different in your country.

      Let me explain, I had an old product that managed cemeteries and there was little competition but with everything now it seems that there are just literally 1000's of people proving the same thing, some better, some worse, some cheaper and some for free!.


      Every time I try to develop a product that I could resell licenses for I just find that it’s over saturated, in fact that’s an understatement. It’s more like so saturated that the Neighbours kids are doing it.

      I getting fed up trying to compete with things that can be competed against and while before i frowned on "custom development" as a “pain” I am now thinking that this could be better as:


      1 - I don’t have to compete against so many things as I am providing a unique product.

      2 - I can retain this client for many years as it will be closely tied to my company.

      3 - I don’t have to market products, document and spend £1000's trying to push it.

      4 - I just have to market myself as a custom developer, whatever you need let’s look at it.


      The flipside is that there may not be a need for much custom development (as there are products out there for everything) but in reality I don’t think this is the case. Custom is always a captive market.

      Now in that case Filemaker is the winner, I can develop in c#, asp.net, ColdFusion and many more but I won’t deliver the product that works in anywhere near the same time. So quite simply.

      “Why bother”, the client sure doesn’t care, they just want it to work.


      So I was just wondering what your thoughts as developers were, I guess I’m fed up "killing dead things" so to speak.


        • 1. Re: Business Model.

          Custom/bespoke > off-the-shelf because the latter rarely does *everything* the client desires. There's a need to also connect diverse solutions and custom can often make a bridge. But we need those base solutions to feed into custom work! It's whatever you are comfortable doing. Both have +/-


          -- sent from myPhone --

          Beverly Voth


          • 2. Re: Business Model.

            I'm not a developer, but I am a business owner, I think you probably need some of both.  But I truely believe the goal should be to develop custom solutions for clients, and in turn, develop more clients who can beneft from your solutions.  They may not totally understand what they need and will 'put up with' something because it's cheaper or free, but if you show them the value you bring to their business, & solve their problems, they will see the benefits to their business.

            This is how I came to FileMaker. 

            I am in the heating/AC/home & commercial fueling business.  When I went to my trade shows, there were hundreds of software vendors, everyone had most of what I needed, but none had everything (and btw, NONE of them develop for FileMaker--hint hint).  The main thing I wanted was to take the info 'on the road' with my iPad/iPhone.  Everyone developed custom hardware for office & mobile, and of course their non-custom software (here's how we think you should have it work).  Anything beyond that scope was very expensive to change.  The software ranged from basic ($12,000) to top of the line ($50,000+) and still didnt have everything I needed.

            So...I typed into my browser Microsoft Access, and the 2nd hit was "...why is FileMaker better then Access...", and I was hooked (happily)

            So with the help of all the training materials, and the tremedous help of my 3 fav forums, I now have a great solution for my business--and had fun all along the way. 

            Of course I'm constantly tweaking the DB as my knowledge grows, but that's fun too.

            The reality is the amount of time I spent, probably makes it a pretty pricey database in the end, but there is no way any 'off the shelf' or 'off the shelf with custom modifications' would work this well.


            Provide something they cant get elsewhere, keep up on all the product knowlege & training-be different, try to be the best.  I think that's the way to go for any business.


            (way more then my 2 cents worth)

            • 3. Re: Business Model.

              Thanks to you all, steve, that was a very interesting point of view and very useful so thanks a lot.