Be strategic and specialize. Target one industry and develop a standardized software solution for that industry that you can improve and customize over time. This will accomplish several things for you:
- Rather than duplicating code for each project, you'll be building off previous work.
- Each client you add will expand your software ecosystem as you add new features for their needs. And it will all be paid for.
- Software quality will improve over time as you're able to add unit tests and fix bugs reported by multiple clients.
- Specializing and focusing on a single industry vertical will help you earn a reputation in that market. That, in turn, will allow you to charge more.
- Defining your target market will also help you hone your marketing message. Once you're able to optimize your sales funnel, it should pay for itself.
When choosing a specific industry to target, it'll take both a strong business sense and a strong development lead, so you'll have to work together with your non-technical founders to identify the best opportunity. In particular, here are some things you should consider:
- Do market research. Talk to people, discover market pain points, and use that information to help inform your product selection.
- Choose an industry that has a big enough problem that you can solve that they're willing to pay significant money for it.
- Look at the difficulty of breaking into the market. How entrenched are the established players?
- Find a market that is big enough to make it worth it.
- Select a problem that can be at least partially solved quickly with a minimal solution at first. This will enable you to have a low startup cost and you'll be able to iterate with each new client.
- Structure your contracts so that you retain ownership to all source code.
- Factor in the cost of finding new clients. How costly is client acquisition versus their potential value to you?
- Repeatedly target the same client profile, especially in the beginning.
- Consider constructing a business model that allows you to charge clients regularly, either through license fees or subscription fees. SaaS will give you a predictable income, which stabilizes your financial situation and will allow you to add developers over time and pay existing developers what they're worth.
- Think about how your software could potentially be used and adapted in other industries once you become in one market. Develop accordingly.
Update: I can't be completely sure from your comment, but it sounds like part of the problem might be a lack of focus from the marketing side. Perhaps an example might help:
Google Adwords is a popular method of advertising, but unfortunately, it's very easy to waste a lot of money for not very many results. Some people will buy ads for a lot of keywords related to their market, not realizing that there is a difference between broad match and phrase match keywords. They also ignore the fact that some search queries have high commercial intent and some have low commercial intent. And they may not be aware that there is a serious difference in the effectiveness of ads on search engine results pages and ads on a regular website or that ads at the top of the page perform better than ads lower on the page.
And what about the ad text? Is the title link compelling? Does it state the problem the searcher has and offer hope for a solution? Have multiple variations of the ad been tested?
What's more, it's not just the ad that matters. Does the landing page match the promise of the ad copy? What is the conversion rate of your landing page once people arrive? How can that be improved?
Suppose you're selling a product online and that your landing page has a conversion rate of 2% for paid customers. Now suppose that your CPC (cost-per click) is around $5 and that your average one-time transaction is $150. For every paid customer, you'll need an average of 50 people to visit your site, which means that you'll need to spend $250 in advertising. Clearly, it isn't worth it. You're losing $100 on every transaction, so what do you do?
In the scenario above, you have 3 variables: your conversion rate of 2%, your CPC of $5, and your average transaction value of $150. What would happen if you could double your conversion rate to 4%? Your average acquisition cost would drop $125, meaning that you're making $25 instead of losing $100. What if you find a keyword that has a CPC of only $2.50? Again, your advertising cost is reduced from $250 to $125. What if you're able to bring the average transaction value up through upsells or by providing incentive for repeat sales? Suddenly, you're profitable.
It would incredibly wasteful in a financial sense to try to fine-tune your Adwords advertising like this if you're running 30 campaigns concurrently. The best approach is to focus on one campaign at a time. Test it, optimize it, make it profitable. Start with small amounts of money (but enough to test it for meaningful results). Once you have it tuned to the point that you know, for every X dollars spend on advertising, you'll make Y dollars in revenue, then you can safely expand your advertising budget on that keyword campaign to as much as you can handle. And when you're assured that you have one profitable campaign, then move on to the next one, incorporating the lessons you learned from the first. Rinse, repeat.
It sounds like you might be running 30 campaigns at once, but in a macro sense, going after all types of customers, hoping that one of them might stick. You might get lucky, but I think you may be better off figuring out what type of customer makes the most sense for your company and then targeting them exclusively. There are so many moving parts to the sales funnel that it will take time to optimize it. You can't optimize it if you're targeting multiple groups. If you don't develop a process, this problem won't just go away over time. By trying to do everything, you may end up doing nothing.
I would try to identify your biggest opportunity that has the lowest development cost and start there. Refine your marketing and iterate on a product. Try to find a business model for recurring revenue. Once you have a well-oiled machine in that market, take it to the next market, using everything you learned. Best of luck!