Since the last post, I’ve spoken to several more stables and a common theme is emerging. It is clear that there are issues in managing the associated paperwork, as well as the finances and accuracy of the data. Several stables spend many hours collecting, collating and recording all the disparate pieces of information required for accurate invoices and allow the effective management of the business.
Everyone I spoke to was happy to talk and prepared to spend time explaining how they operate their business. Many also discussed their issues and concerns and what they would expect the software to achieve. They all agreed to provide further information if required and several were very keen to be involved in the testing and piloting.
One point of note was that many people only saw the software as another means of recording information. It reminded me that I need to better identify and articulate the benefits. I need to ensure that stables recognise that the software will not only save them time and money but also provide multiple opportunities to increase their profits. This can be achieved through better and more targetted marketing, as well as the review and analysis of trends and spending profiles.
Whilst the software will need to significantly reduce the amount of time taken to manage the business, it will also need to add value if it is to be of use. One area of development must therefore concentrate on making it easy, (through reports and marketing options) for stables to make a tangible return on their investment.
Was it worth it?
The whole process was definitely worth it. As a result of the validation phase, I’ve gathered valuable information that has demonstrated that there is a clear requirement for software to manage the business. It’s revealed that a considerable amount of time is spent on the paperwork and that many businesses are failing to capitalise on the rich seam of information available in their data.
The software will need to manage several quite complex processes and its success will likely depend on how well the software manages this requirement, how easy the software is to use and whether the businesses need to considerably change the way they do things in order to adopt the software.
One encouraging aspect was the support available from the Stables; many are quite happy for me to speak to them further to identify or clarify the requirements and several have invited me down to discuss the elements face to face and see how things are done. This support will not only make a huge difference to getting it right first time but also create natural customers for the software.
Overall, the validation has given me confidence that there is value in proceeding and I’ve got several clear requirements including a further business opportunity. Onwards…