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How do you value success?

Photo by Clark Tibbs on Unsplash

When somebody comes to Finlabs for help we’ve found there’s many preconceived needs and perceptions of what we do. As an organization that delves into product creation and development, there are many intertwined steps within that journey that can be individually picked out and seen as the place we’re needed to “get things done”.

It’s then on us to handle the problem of steering the conversation and engagement towards one that is driven towards tangible success, where we can fulfill the determined true needs of a client and be successful in our own right by delivering on that need. The last thing we want to do is pander to a client that is not on a good path, and then be the fall guys for a failure we had no real influence over.

“I’m creating a product. I need someone to build it.”

This is a common one. Everybody sees themselves as the visionary and mastermind behind the next big thing. This also results in people protecting their “genius” ideas, and what’s to say its not a genius idea? Our problem is the framing of the ask. To execute a build that someone else has defined is a tiny sliver of what goes into creating the real success of a product, and its the tail end of the process to get there.

Where did this idea come from? How have you evaluated it? Do you understand if you have market fit? How do you intend to scale? Have you thought about marketing and growth? Have you created a brand to build around? How did you determine the design of your grand idea? What research did you do to determine its growth path?

These are just some of the questions that run through our heads at Finlabs when we’re asked to “build”. You see, we can technically build whatever is put in front of us if the blueprint is there for the nuts and bolts and the step 1,2,3 of what needs to be done. That's just production. However, it is common for the failure of a product to be pinned on its development, when, in actuality, all the elements prior to a build have determined what development does.

“We’re working on something but we need insert specialized role here!”

This is another fairly common ask. In this instance, we are looked upon as a source for developers. People come to us with their team built and their determined product of project plan in place. The only problem may be a skills gap in order to move that plan forward. And that gap then requires a skilled warm body to fill it.

Don't get me wrong, we have done, and love, integrating our devs into existing teams to augment them. But the value of the overarching relationship is our key driver, and that relationship must be on the Finlabs level, not with the individual. When a client simply has a goal and needs a specific resource to make a deadline or meet a timeframe, are we really adding the value we can offer, and desire, at Finlabs? Again, we have not had any influence on the pathway to success and, as a result, we’re reliant on the clients' team and their ability to create these success paths. Then the determination of that resource also becomes an issue. Clients look at individuals more so than they look at the overall organization. We are simply a resource pool and a middle man. And once the need (that we had no influence on) is determined to be satisfied by the client, we’re done. And again, if it isn’t met satisfactorily, we may be the fall guys where we’ve had no influence on helping to steer success.

These are not relationships we feel are scalable nor beneficial to us long term. Inevitably, our best resources are snapped up and locked down into fixed-term projects at fixed determined rates, meaning their knowledge and skills are not available to benefit other Finlabs clients during that time. As a collective of great minds, the true value of engaging with Finlabs is to get access to ALL the knowledge within our team, as needed.

Regardless of the way we are approached by any potential client and hear their “ask”, we won’t shut out any opportunity. We simply have our own way of digging in and determining if an opportunity is one where we can cultivate a true partnership, move the needle over and above expectation, and be as invested in its success as its the creator.

Is there Chemistry?

This one many rub against the money-making business person inside many of us, but it is not something that should be overlooked. Success is not a solo endeavor and a potential client who comes to us looking to tap into our knowledge and expertise, for the express reason that they don't understand the moving parts as well as we do, is a potential client we can hop into the product building vehicle with, and go on a long rocky road-trip with, knowing we will look after each other well.

Can we believe in the mission?

Every good idea has a reason for being. In almost all cases, that mission and passion will be a true indicator of future success. Drive towards a passionate goal, and the dollars and cents to get there become pale in comparison to the need to reach that goal. If there’s a smart and fast way to get an envisioned product into market, that's where the real measures of success can begin. Of course, everybody is concerned with budgets and staying within their means. But product building is a long term relationship where the managing of costs, and stepping stones of investment, will steer you towards success. This is as much an element of the journey we can help with at Finlabs as delivering on design or development needs. By doing so, we are driving towards fulfilling a joint mission, in a financially conscious way, where ROI can be determined for every step of the process in order to stay within financial boundaries and build financial success at the same time as building a product.

Can we, and is there a desire to, add real value?

As I mentioned, even if the initial ask seems to be for a skilled resource or defined development build, we may still explore the opportunity in order to determine true needs and surface areas we can potentially add “real value”. If those opportunities are exposed, and there is a desire to pursue them, then the reality is that the potential client REALLY needs to engage Finlabs as an organization rather than the basic need of Finlabs skilled employee, John Doe Developer. We aim to add value, insight, and knowledge to the mix to take any project or idea to places that were not initially envisioned and push success far beyond expectations

With all these considerations in mind, I think we’re essentially answering the question of how we determine our costs when quoting on projects. We are not a chop-shop. We are not a staffing agency. We also recognize we are not the cheapest option out there. If hard cost is the only benchmark for determining if we’re the right people for the job, the potential ROI on that cost is not fully recognized. By striving to reach an overall goal, there is likely an anticipated, or desired, financial return on that effort. The cost to get there needs to be weighed up against that return and we know, with Finlabs, you can get there smarter and faster. In the same way as an hourly rate for a resource is only relevant when all the resources deliver the same quality, at the same pace, we determine our project costs based on the potential ROI we can bring to the table for a client within a desired timeframe.

We are premium individuals all collected under one roof and made accessible through one doorway, Finlabs. We are always looking for long term partnerships where we can drive towards creating business success more so than project delivery success. If that's your drive and passion, drop us a line!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Afa Heikkinen is Finlabs global CEO and Business Leader.

Afa’s entrepreneurial history has seen him work across many business sectors from investing in start-ups to motorsport, where he built Scandinavia’s largest Formula racing team, Koiranen GP. This experience and inherent knowledge of what keeps a team motivated and running in the right direction, is now being put to good use within the product and technology world by driving Finlabs forward and pushing the company's growth through strong and lasting relationships.

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Insights and news from Finlabs and our dedicated team of product design and development experts.

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