Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Karthick Viswanathan, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Mehdi Daoudi

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
These days, APIs have become an integral part of the digital transformation journey for all enterprises. Every digital innovation story is connected to APIs . But have you ever pondered over to know what are the source of these APIs? Let me explain - APIs sources can be varied, internal or external, solving different purposes, but mostly categorized into the following two categories. Data lakes is a term used to represent disconnected but relevant data that are used by various business units wit...
"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.
One of the biggest challenges with adopting a DevOps mentality is: new applications are easily adapted to cloud-native, microservice-based, or containerized architectures - they can be built for them - but old applications need complex refactoring. On the other hand, these new technologies can require relearning or adapting new, oftentimes more complex, methodologies and tools to be ready for production. In his general session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Brown, Solutions Marketi...
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
Most of the time there is a lot of work involved to move to the cloud, and most of that isn't really related to AWS or Azure or Google Cloud. Before we talk about public cloud vendors and DevOps tools, there are usually several technical and non-technical challenges that are connected to it and that every company needs to solve to move to the cloud. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Stefano Bellasio, CEO and founder of Cloud Academy Inc., will discuss what the tools, disciplines, and cultural...
With the rise of DevOps, containers are at the brink of becoming a pervasive technology in Enterprise IT to accelerate application delivery for the business. When it comes to adopting containers in the enterprise, security is the highest adoption barrier. Is your organization ready to address the security risks with containers for your DevOps environment? In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Chris Van Tuin, Chief Technologist, NA West at Red Hat, will discuss: The top security r...
DevOps at Cloud Expo – being held October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real r...
The “Digital Era” is forcing us to engage with new methods to build, operate and maintain applications. This transformation also implies an evolution to more and more intelligent applications to better engage with the customers, while creating significant market differentiators. In both cases, the cloud has become a key enabler to embrace this digital revolution. So, moving to the cloud is no longer the question; the new questions are HOW and WHEN. To make this equation even more complex, most ...
The last two years has seen discussions about cloud computing evolve from the public / private / hybrid split to the reality that most enterprises will be creating a complex, multi-cloud strategy. Companies are wary of committing all of their resources to a single cloud, and instead are choosing to spread the risk – and the benefits – of cloud computing across multiple providers and internal infrastructures, as they follow their business needs. Will this approach be successful? How large is the ...
21st International Cloud Expo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Me...
Many organizations adopt DevOps to reduce cycle times and deliver software faster; some take on DevOps to drive higher quality and better end-user experience; others look to DevOps for a clearer line-of-sight to customers to drive better business impacts. In truth, these three foundations go together. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 21st Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, industry experts will discuss how leading organizations build application success from all...
You know you need the cloud, but you’re hesitant to simply dump everything at Amazon since you know that not all workloads are suitable for cloud. You know that you want the kind of ease of use and scalability that you get with public cloud, but your applications are architected in a way that makes the public cloud a non-starter. You’re looking at private cloud solutions based on hyperconverged infrastructure, but you’re concerned with the limits inherent in those technologies.
‘Trend’ is a pretty common business term, but its definition tends to vary by industry. In performance monitoring, trend, or trend shift, is a key metric that is used to indicate change. Change is inevitable. Today’s websites must frequently update and change to keep up with competition and attract new users, but such changes can have a negative impact on the user experience if not managed properly. The dynamic nature of the Internet makes it necessary to constantly monitor different metrics. O...
Today companies are looking to achieve cloud-first digital agility to reduce time-to-market, optimize utilization of resources, and rapidly deliver disruptive business solutions. However, leveraging the benefits of cloud deployments can be complicated for companies with extensive legacy computing environments. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Craig Sproule, founder and CEO of Metavine, will outline the challenges enterprises face in migrating legacy solutions to the cloud. He will also prese...
Enterprises are moving to the cloud faster than most of us in security expected. CIOs are going from 0 to 100 in cloud adoption and leaving security teams in the dust. Once cloud is part of an enterprise stack, it’s unclear who has responsibility for the protection of applications, services, and data. When cloud breaches occur, whether active compromise or a publicly accessible database, the blame must fall on both service providers and users. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben Johnson, C...
Agile has finally jumped the technology shark, expanding outside the software world. Enterprises are now increasingly adopting Agile practices across their organizations in order to successfully navigate the disruptive waters that threaten to drown them. In our quest for establishing change as a core competency in our organizations, this business-centric notion of Agile is an essential component of Agile Digital Transformation. In the years since the publication of the Agile Manifesto, the conn...
As DevOps methodologies expand their reach across the enterprise, organizations face the daunting challenge of adapting related cloud strategies to ensure optimal alignment, from managing complexity to ensuring proper governance. How can culture, automation, legacy apps and even budget be reexamined to enable this ongoing shift within the modern software factory?
The nature of the technology business is forward-thinking. It focuses on the future and what’s coming next. Innovations and creativity in our world of software development strive to improve the status quo and increase customer satisfaction through speed and increased connectivity. Yet, while it's exciting to see enterprises embrace new ways of thinking and advance their processes with cutting edge technology, it rarely happens rapidly or even simultaneously across all industries.
"When we talk about cloud without compromise what we're talking about is that when people think about 'I need the flexibility of the cloud' - it's the ability to create applications and run them in a cloud environment that's far more flexible,” explained Matthew Finnie, CTO of Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
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...