The ultimate white label development checklist

For a business that wants to see quick return on investment, white label software is often a great option. But many businesses fail to make the most of the planning and development process, which means that they end up missing out on key market opportunities.

What is white label software?

White label software is, in its simplest form, an application that is produced by one business and marketed by another. Typically this marketer will act as a reseller, branding up the solution to appear to have been created by them. In most cases, the actual developers will produce the software at a fixed cost, while the reseller sets up subscription models or license agreements for the end user – often ensuring a substantial return on investment.

Software at the heart of the start-up

For many start-up companies we work with, software sits at the very heart of their offering. They often want to build applications that solve a specific set of problems for their target audience. Many of them have a great idea for software that they’d like to build and license out to others, while some perhaps already run a solution in-house that they want to brand up, in line with their own business look-and-feel.

Checklist for successful white label projects

Having created a wide scope of white label software for clients, we have discovered a few learnings we’d like to share with you. In this checklist you will find some of the key points to bear in mind when planning your next project!

1. Customisation

What do you really have in mind?

Have a clearly defined description of the software interface, functionality, access, branding and appearance – all the way through to user manuals and packaging. Be clear on the brief, as this is what your development team will rely on.

2. Features

What are the must-haves?

There will inevitably be discussion points throughout the project, in terms of what can and can’t be done with the budgets and timeframes available. Make sure you are in agreement, internally, about where any potential corner-cutting can be done – and which features are absolutely critical

3. Branding

Are you competing with a recognised brand?

Consider creating software that appeals to a more specialised, niche audience where the big players are not fully consuming the available market.

4. Value

How will you add value?

Look at combining complimentary packages into a bargain bundle or a two-for-one deal, where the customer will get the sensation that they are receiving excellent value for money. Always consider the end value for the customer, and how you can maximise that value in your software.

5. Partnerships

How well do you know your developer?

Always discuss the opportunity for partnerships with your software developer. Can you work together over a longer term, perhaps with support agreements or product development roadmaps? Your project is going to become a valuable asset to you, so ensure you can rely on them to stay on the journey with you as it evolves.

6. Development costs

Do you know what the going rate is for software development?

Be clear on what you expect to pay for the software you want. If the cost is over your planned budget, make sure you understand what the added benefit would be for spending more.
Always aim to have an open conversation with the developer about cost – and potential discounts for multiple applications or longer term projects.

7. Integration

How will the new software fit in?

You should always have a defined strategy in place for building new software, and a clear view of how you expect it to impact the business. This is particularly important if the application needs to function alongside existing software, and share data with it.

8. Security

Will the licensee worry about security issues?

Always take the time to consider any potential security concerns the end user or licensee may have. How will the application be used, and what security risks will there be? What will the software be exposed to, and how can the application limit any security risks?

9. APIs

How clear is the Application Programming Interface?

Discuss the possibilities with your developer of how additional software integrations – if any – will be added. What APIs should be delivered with the initial product, and who’s responsible for future integrations.

10. Support

Who owns the support process?

Some resellers choose to set up their own first-level support system, which becomes the client’s initial contact point. Often the developer will train the reseller to set up, customise and troubleshoot user issues, with the option to have an ongoing support contract with the developer, to fix any back-end problems.

11. Reselling complexity

How complex or simple are the reseller rights?

Have a conversation with the developer at an early stage, outlining exactly what possibilities there are for reselling or sharing the application. Will the software be bought outright by you, or will the developer expect royalties? Can you give the software away, can it be bundled – or can you sell the ownership rights.

12. Affiliations

Who can sell, distribute and promote your application?

Make sure you have a clear strategy of how you will be selling and licensing the software.
In addition to the traditional sales channels, many software providers now offer affiliation programmes, where companies or individuals can sign up to promote your product, in exchange for rewards for every new customer they recruit. This isn’t an overly complex process, but will require some tactical planning.

13. Pricing

Is your volume unit price high enough?

Make sure your license or subscription fees cover your costs. You may have paid the developer, but that’s not the end of your expenses! Now you need to spend money on promoting your application. Remember that it will cost you as much to market an expensive product as a cheaper one, so make sure your price is right and your forecasts realistic.

14. Keywords

How will you make sure people find you?

When considering the naming and description of your software, you will want to do some keyword research. Examine which keywords your buyers are searching under, and pitch your words broadly enough to make a good catch net.

White label software can be amazingly profitable if done right. Here at DCSL, we have had the benefit of working with many different businesses in different sectors, launching their software to a licensed audience. We have seen first-hand what works and what doesn’t.

By applying this simple checklist, you will be able to mitigate some of the most common – and costly – mistakes that white label businesses make!