Posted in Design.

Selling Yourself as A Product

A Business Model on selling your skills as a service. Starting my course I was always thinking of making a project, or eventually a product. Something that didn’t occur to me was the possibilities of doing what I have learned to help others who want a product that I’m able to produce. Making something for people that are not in this industry is a real market, I always looked for how I could fit into this industry and not necessarily how I can give other the access to this industry.

Using a model that I and my fellow developers worked over, we used this to construct a mock business, we looked at all the key elements that are needed to be considered when looking at such an endeavour.

Customer Segments

Value Propositions

Channels

Customer Relationships

Revenue Stream

Key Resources

Key Activities

Key Partners

Cost Structure

The sections above are all key in themselves and in relation to each other, identifying some and they help you focus your intent on the others. We have looked at this as our current project has us working for an external client to our university, so we have been structuring our work differently to that of making a game for personal reasons.

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1 Customer Segments

Who are we creating value for? We considered what is the type of market we are looking to enter? What type of market could use our services? Looking at this from the smaller end of the industry as we would only be starting out as new developers, as we wouldn’t be looking at anything on a mass market scale.

With only a small team we would be looking for a smaller market, with a niche market would as our focus. This would have us looking to work for consultants in areas like advertising, local council or other markets that are looking for Customisable interactive fun experiences. As game designers, not everyone will want a video game but these skills used in designing can be used to make other digital interactive products    

2 Value Propositions

What do we offer our clientele? Or, why is our product or service better than others?

As Game Developers, we can bring a very useful set of skills, that can be valuable to any industry. What we can offer to potential clientele is services of producing products that are focus around “play” and are highly Interactive and Customisable products, something that games offer more so than another medium.

Digital Design skills are highly sorted after by companies and industries which are the typical sources of our kind of contract work. These companies are well funded to support projects like this but may lack the knowledge. Meaning we would be able to produce a product to meet their expectation and value for money.

3 Channels

But how do you find your customers? We had to look at which Channels our Customer could be reached by looking at ways we could reach our target customers through industry related means and current avenues that we know.

  • We worked through what likely options a small team would have, looking at different types of work and outlined a process of places and interactions that:
  • Recognising our existing connections, those connections that have been gained through previous networking.
  • Engage in further networking opportunities, including attending trade shows and entering competitions that may be held by our potential clients.
  • We would arrange meetings in which potential contacts could be made with clients, starting the grounds for face-to-face meetings.
  • We would then look at contracts, where we would discuss constraints of contracts both for them and us.
  • With Delivery to our client to round it up. this would only be followed by updates or ongoing support from our group if this is something that is outlined in the contract (Which should be outlined to the client in the beginning of a project to help build forward and clear relations with your clients)

4 Customer Relationships

This for one is something you should do to guarantee a comfortable and stressless interaction over the course of a project. This makes your life a whole lot easier, It also means keeping this communication with your clients so they know their investment is well placed. As the process of these projects can take time to get right, you should explain this to someone that doesn’t know what is involved in the process and not keep your client in the dark.

Making it clear to your clients in initial contacts with them is a start point for good relations, and have regular face to face meets over the corse of a project is ideal too. Having a proof of the design early on will help you convince your client of your service. Having a period of design dev where you give the client something and see if they like it or want to continue. This is a point where they can pull out of an agreement and not feel ripped off if they have paid you for a heap of work that is not happening. This is a safeguard of both parties involved. This takes to considering revenue stream.

5 Revenue Stream

How are you getting paid? This would be something you work out in the contact stages of your agreement. This is something that should be worked out in great details so as it benefits all involved, payer and payee. We talked it over and agreed time for money is a very important factor.

We looked at a plausible scenario, that would have Milestone Payments which consist of being paid at set intervals, where a specified milestone would’ve been met and delivered to the client.

As we are working on a mobile app, something that was considered was ongoing support and upkeep of the product, this scenario could be if the client wanted their product to work on older or newer devices/platforms, which we would then have to cater for and we would offer additional cost for the client which would mean a stable and consistent flow of work for our team.

We have come to the Key Elements of the this structure, this is in the way of Activities we need to perform for our clients, the Key Resource that we would need so we can provide this to our clients and also our Key Partners that will give as the support we would need to make our jobs possible.

6 Key Resources

What resources, both personal and work related would be impacted on by this project?

Resources such as workspace and offices would be an eventual consideration, but a work from home approach to this would be a better start for a small team. Computers and software services would need to use for making the product.( Program engines, programming software, Source control).

Financial Support from bank loans and payments of things that will be needed for the project. You also need this for things that the client requests that are within reason throughout development. Manpower is a major part of the project. Having people actually making the product and using their own time. Their efforts will need to be considered in the way of salary.

7 Key Activities

What sorts of activities would be required of us by our client, and also those general activities that are typically carried out by similar teams, doing this kind of work in the industry? These are the activities that we would definitely carry out, and these should be expected of us, by our potential clients:

  • Performing the service we are offering to clients.
  • Regular meets with the clients to show progress and when you hit key milestones, to maintain good integration and communication.
  • Actively engaging in client and consumer relations, have and maintain good networking.
  • Collaboration with others to achieve a good product, make your life easier and builds a strong group of helpers.
  • Deliver the promised product, not doing this will not help your name as a company. Or your pockets.
  • Upkeep and ongoing support is a good way to build relation and show clients your dedicated to not only the product but to the people that want these products.

8 Key Partners

With whoever we collaborate with. we must ensure that we maintain relationships and active communication with all parties. Not only that of your client but with those who you may need for certain areas of the product.

These groups of potential partners, if we were to do this kind of contract work would be:

  • Collaborators (Graphic, Audio, Film, Animation)
  • Programmers (Software development, Servers, Code, Analytics)
  • Software Companies (Unity, Unreal, Apple, Android)
  • Accounting
  • Financial Institutions (Banks)
  • Legal Institutions (Contract Lawyers)
  • Platform Owners

Having these all these things in place may be a expect when you are starting out as a small or new company. However not having these in place may cost less money but if you have something goes wrong the cost of not having these in place will impact your company heavily.

9 Cost Structure

What are all of the things that will be needing to pay for before we are reimbursed?

  • Arranging Meetings (Venues, Meeting Spaces, Travel, Time)
  • Networking Opportunities (Flights, Travel, Accommodation, Food)
  • Concept Development (Equipment, Salary, Software, Work Space, Loans)
  • Project Development (Equipment, Salary, Software, Work Space, Loans, Collaborators)
  • Upkeep Development (Equipment, Salary, Software, Work Space, Loans, Collaborators)
  • Platform Owners/ Software Companies (The costs of releasing on certain devices, and in certain markets)
  • Legal Costs (Contract Lawyers)
  • Accounting
  • Platform Owners and Software Companies (The costs of releasing on certain devices, and in certain programs)

A Cost structure is something that should be looked into thoroughly and in great depth. Everything involved in a project will cost money and at times will cost amounts of money before you have the money to spend. So you will need to consider all the elements involved so that there will not be any unexpected expenses that will break a budget or leave you out of pocket. The project should not go ahead with these things outlined and understood by the team.

By going through this process and breakdown, I believe that a small business that specialises in this type of work outlined would not be as much as unachievable goals as I would have thought. However all involved would need to be dedicated and the right page to achieve a shared goal. Doing this task of identifying all the considerations for this type of goal has to help me start to visualise a future in the game industry that was not something that I consider day one of this course.

Thanks for reading.

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