Launching a new software product is easier than ever (being successful with it is a completely different story but the only sure thing is that if you don’t launch you won’t be successful).
I’ve just launched my new product wordpress <-> drupal migration service just one week after identifying a niche for this kind of product (again whether the niche is big enough is material for a future blog post) with an investment of less than 100$ (of course not counting the time I’ve put in the project) and while working full time in my day job.
In fact, this new product has nothing to do with the main product I was working on at the time so why deviating from my initial goal even if it’s just for a short period of time?. Well I believe that entrepreneurs should jump into new opportunities as they see it and I’ve read many times that we should build a product that at least yourself would buy. Also, I believe I could use the experience of completely launching a new (smaller) product before turning my attention to a more ambitious one.
And in fact, this was exactly the motivation. While renovating my modeling languages portal I decided to do some big changes, one of them being dropping Drupal and moving on to WordPress as content management system for the site. I assumed that I’d find many tools to automatically migrate the content from one to the other but it turned out that there was none (only some partial SQL scripts were available). Then I looked at service providers that could the work for me and the only one I approached disappointed me so I decided not to go ahead with it.
Clearly, I had found a niche with potential customers (at least one: myself) that had no good (IMHO) alternative. Doesn’t this sound like a great opportunity for an Micro ISV? Next step was building a prototype to: 1 – Check that this was feasible and 2 – Solve at least my migration scenario.
After this was done in a record time, it didn’t take long to decide to go ahead and try to do a business out of it. Nowadays, this is so easy that there’s not much to lose. I bought a template for 20$
and adapt it to a simple but functional site. Even somebody like me with a little help and some time can create a decent web site thanks to the myriad of templates available.
Once this was done, it was time to buy a domain name (around 20$ per year in my case) and choose a hosting provider (no additional cost for me since I already have a dedicated server for my other sites).
And before I knew, the site was live and ready. Of course this is just the beginning, now all the work needed to attract potential customers has to begin but I’m very happy with the experience so far and I hope this can show you that you can do it too. Don’t even wait to have the full implementation of your product (I didn’t). Release early and keep improving depending on what the customers want. At this point I have no idea if they will demand migration of forums, multi-language sites,… so instead of trying to cover everything before releasing I’ve just go ahead with the core software ready and I’ll react to adapt to what customers want (kind of mixing the concept of prototyping and pretotyping)
I’d love to get your thoughts on this. Share your comments/ideas/experiences!