Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Pat Romanski, Christoph Schell, Elizabeth White, Matt Brickey, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: Microsoft Cloud, Java IoT, Mobile IoT, Microservices Expo, Cognitive Computing , Agile Computing

Microsoft Cloud: Article

How to Successfully Build a Bootstrapping Software Business

Ten tips for building up an independently financed software business

Every young software business is different. Yet regardless of niche, competitive pressures or economic conditions, all startups face the same key issues. It's possible to survive those hectic, early years as a bootstrapped business - even thrive during them. All you need is...

1) An idea for a software product that is needed on the market or a product that has passed its first function tests with flying colors. In other words, the market requires products that are great right from the start or that promise greatness.

This leads right into 2) out into the world. In order to put the product onto the digital sales counter, you need an informative website with a web shop. It's often a good idea to outsource the online shop to an external provider for the starting phase, and let them take care of sales in exchange for a low service cost. The benefits are obvious: you don't have to bother with the details of billing, European (or other) value-added tax rules, returns or charging credit cards. Instead, you receive a monthly invoice detailing each transaction. This gives you the freedom to concentrate on your core task - product development.

That's where we come in with tip 3). In the day and age of Google & Co., search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) are the easiest and quickest ways to gain range in today's market. Here, too, if you don't have the know-how or resources to start campaigns and to track conversions, outsource your SEM to an external provider. A mid-term goal, however, should be to take care of SEO and SEM within the company. As a side note, SEM is fantastic for sounding out the market potential of a product. If you don't get any hits that's a strong indication that there is no demand for the product, no matter how great it might be. And without venture capital, it'll be difficult to convince humanity otherwise.

To anyone who might think that phase 4) is the perfect time to present the product more actively, at a trade fair, for example - don't do it. It may be a good exercise in confidence and being true to yourself, but it's nothing more than wasted time and money. Big solutions from financially strong, traditional providers dominate these events; solutions with which no one - at least at this time - can compete, even if it's just because of the size of the stand.

With this in mind, consider tip 5): gather your strength for product marketing and invest it in building up your marketing strategy, in good press relations and in whipping company communication into shape. Social media cannot be left out. Rely on the strong, central features of your product and don't lose focus, because the judgment of the online community will strongly influence the success or failure of your product. This community will also leave valuable feedback for improving your product. Keep your eye on good sales and tech support that will act as the "lawyers" representing your customers and their service requests within the company. By doing so, your customers will be happy to help in return with error analysis or beta tests.

What's next, you ask, once your software is established in your region, all rollouts are working flawlessly and the acceptance is consistently high? Then it's time to reach out: EMEA, the Americas and APEC are waiting! In phase 6), it's time to actively expand in different markets, supported by business development managers who know the local marketing and business conventions. Based on your experiences and activity in your local market, your specialists will apply appropriate marketing measures for the target country, flanked by SEM/SEO and PR.

Tip 7) will keep your development team busy, because now it's time to localize your software. Your product should be designed from the beginning so that it can be translated into various languages. Anyone who hasn't thought of that in advance will have his work cut out for him. This phase can, of course, be carried out parallel to or before phase 6.

Keyword and tip 8): now's the time to consistently pursue channel business, that is, marketing through resellers and possibly distributors. You've probably sold through resellers in the previous phases already, but now this should be systematically supervised and established with a partner program, reseller agreements, organization of a retailer network in each region/country, etc. Do you want to hire more staff as well? This is a good time to advance your expansion with channel managers, who can be located at the company headquarters and/or in each region.

In phase 9), you've reached the prime time to send invitations to your customers, resellers and press contacts saying, "We are excited to see you at this year's Cisco live! In London: Hall 5, Stand 7B!" Now it will be worth your while, because people know your products and are talking about them. Now it's easy to stir up interest in potential new clients or marketing partners. By now, you also have the necessary budget and manpower for a professional trade fair appearance.

If, after phase 9, your local business is running smoothly and you believe that local representation would increase customer satisfaction, the acceptance of your products and your sales, then take the chance with tip 10): the branch. With one or more channel managers, you might even already have your first staff on location. Now it's time to build up other functions (presales, support, back office). The framework required for this is a branch, a daughter company, or the like.

Of course, this guideline can't be adopted 1:1 in every situation, but it should help you to set the right priorities. You will gather an abundance of personal experience and will have to make your own unique decisions in every phase. There is nothing more exciting than developing your product ideas into a successful business.

More Stories By Christian Twardawa

Christian Twardawa is the Chief Operating Officer for Paessler AG. Paessler AG leads the industry in providing the most powerful, affordable and easy-to-use network monitoring and testing solutions. The company’s suite of just-right software products deliver peace of mind, confidence and convenience for businesses of all sizes – from Small Office/Home Office (SOHO) to large enterprises, including more than 70% of the Fortune 100 companies. For more information, visit www.paessler.com.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@MicroservicesExpo Stories
"At the keynote this morning we spoke about the value proposition of Nutanix, of having a DevOps culture and a mindset, and the business outcomes of achieving agility and scale, which everybody here is trying to accomplish," noted Mark Lavi, DevOps Solution Architect at Nutanix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
From personal care products to groceries and movies on demand, cloud-based subscriptions are fulfilling the needs of consumers across an array of market sectors. Nowhere is this shift to subscription services more evident than in the technology sector. By adopting an Everything-as-a-Service (XaaS) delivery model, companies are able to tailor their computing environments to shape the experiences they want for customers as well as their workforce.
If you read a lot of business and technology publications, you might think public clouds are universally preferred over all other cloud options. To be sure, the numbers posted by Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft’s Azure platform are nothing short of impressive. Statistics reveal that public clouds are growing faster than private clouds and analysts at IDC predict that public cloud growth will be 3 times that of private clouds by 2019.
"Outscale was founded in 2010, is based in France, is a strategic partner to Dassault Systémes and has done quite a bit of work with divisions of Dassault," explained Jackie Funk, Digital Marketing exec at Outscale, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"DivvyCloud as a company set out to help customers automate solutions to the most common cloud problems," noted Jeremy Snyder, VP of Business Development at DivvyCloud, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We focus on SAP workloads because they are among the most powerful but somewhat challenging workloads out there to take into public cloud," explained Swen Conrad, CEO of Ocean9, Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"As we've gone out into the public cloud we've seen that over time we may have lost a few things - we've lost control, we've given up cost to a certain extent, and then security, flexibility," explained Steve Conner, VP of Sales at Cloudistics,in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"I think DevOps is now a rambunctious teenager – it’s starting to get a mind of its own, wanting to get its own things but it still needs some adult supervision," explained Thomas Hooker, VP of marketing at CollabNet, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"Peak 10 is a hybrid infrastructure provider across the nation. We are in the thick of things when it comes to hybrid IT," explained , Chief Technology Officer at Peak 10, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"I will be talking about ChatOps and ChatOps as a way to solve some problems in the DevOps space," explained Himanshu Chhetri, CTO of Addteq, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
If you are thinking about moving applications off a mainframe and over to open systems and the cloud, consider these guidelines to prioritize what to move and what to eliminate. On the surface, mainframe architecture seems relatively simple: A centrally located computer processes data through an input/output subsystem and stores its computations in memory. At the other end of the mainframe are printers and terminals that communicate with the mainframe through protocols. For all of its apparen...
Your homes and cars can be automated and self-serviced. Why can't your storage? From simply asking questions to analyze and troubleshoot your infrastructure, to provisioning storage with snapshots, recovery and replication, your wildest sci-fi dream has come true. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Dan Florea, Director of Product Management at Tintri, provided a ChatOps demo where you can talk to your storage and manage it from anywhere, through Slack and similar services with...
There is a huge demand for responsive, real-time mobile and web experiences, but current architectural patterns do not easily accommodate applications that respond to events in real time. Common solutions using message queues or HTTP long-polling quickly lead to resiliency, scalability and development velocity challenges. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ryland Degnan, a Senior Software Engineer on the Netflix Edge Platform team, will discuss how by leveraging a reactive stream-based protocol,...
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to w...
For over a decade, Application Programming Interface or APIs have been used to exchange data between multiple platforms. From social media to news and media sites, most websites depend on APIs to provide a dynamic and real-time digital experience. APIs have made its way into almost every device and service available today and it continues to spur innovations in every field of technology. There are multiple programming languages used to build and run applications in the online world. And just li...
Data reduction delivers compelling cost reduction that substantially improves the business case in every cloud deployment model. No matter which cloud approach you choose, the cost savings benefits from data reduction should not be ignored and must be a component of your cloud strategy. IT professionals are finding that the future of IT infrastructure lies in the cloud. Data reduction technologies enable clouds — public, private, and hybrid — to deliver business agility and elasticity at the lo...
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm. In their Day 3 Keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Brown, a Solutions Marketing Manager at Nutanix, and Mark Lav...
"NetApp's vision is how we help organizations manage data - delivering the right data in the right place, in the right time, to the people who need it, and doing it agnostic to what the platform is," explained Josh Atwell, Developer Advocate for NetApp, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Five years ago development was seen as a dead-end career, now it’s anything but – with an explosion in mobile and IoT initiatives increasing the demand for skilled engineers. But apart from having a ready supply of great coders, what constitutes true ‘DevOps Royalty’? It’ll be the ability to craft resilient architectures, supportability, security everywhere across the software lifecycle. In his keynote at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Jeffrey Scheaffer, GM and SVP, Continuous Delivery Busine...
"We do one of the best file systems in the world. We learned how to deal with Big Data many years ago and we implemented this knowledge into our software," explained Jakub Ratajczak, Business Development Manager at MooseFS, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.