Well if I was in Iowa, and needed to build a baseball field then this voice would be golden. 🙂 However, along a similar vein, I built it, and hoped they would come. Turns out a little more is required when releasing software than simply building it and uploading it to the net on a new and shiny website and hoping people would come.
Almost 6 months ago on December 14, Terian Image Capture Standard (ICS), and Terian Image Capture PRO (ICP) were released to the public with an initial price point of $14.95 and $19.95 respectively. With no extensive release plan, other than post a note on a couple forums, Twitter and Facebook there was only a small amount of traffic to the site, mostly friends and family.
As January approached I started playing with the Google web-master tools and Google Analytics to gain additional insight into how to improve site visitors. Unfortunately January is when my normal work begins its busiest time of the year for the following two months, so little time was invested in promoting the release. One decision I did make however, was that the price was not the reason sales were not occurring, so with this in mind I promptly increased the price points to $49.95 and $79.95 for the Standard and Pro versions respectively.
Looking back I believe one aspect of the decision to increase the price was based on flawed logic. With the minimal amount of numbers visiting the site, I don’t believe it was possible to accurately conclude that price was not a factor in peoples purchasing decisions. Not to say that it was or wasn’t, just that I had insufficient data to come to that conclusion.
Other thoughts that went into the pricing structure included market size and cost recovery. At that early stage I wasn’t even concerned with making a profit, I was more interested in just getting the product out there and in circulation. Considering the potential market size the original pricing structure would never even come at least close to recovering costs. So it was these thoughts spurred on by the belief that the original costs were not pulling sales in that the increase was implemented.
5 months on from the price increase, not a single sale has been completed. Hence the paraphrase “Build it and they will come” needs some caveats to point out the additional hard yards that will need to be taken.
Pros and Cons of a Side Project:
At this point if I was a start-up it would be potentially past that decision time to figure out what needs to change. However, currently I am fortunate that this is a side project supported by my normal day job, which in of itself has Pros and Cons.
- Secured income. (The project doesn’t need to succeed for me to survive)
- Reduced risk. (Not all my eggs are in the one basket)
- No time pressure to get things done.
- No time pressure, so tasks can tend to linger on longer than they should.
- Reduced risk, because there is no real risk it can be easier not to put 100% commitment into the project.
As you can see the Pro’s of this being a side project can also work against a successful implementation. The key point to take, this is NOT a start-up business with a steep growth curve, but rather a long slow crawling worm struggling up hill.
Time to change – Increased effort required:
It would be quite easy to suggest at this stage the application is a failure, however how can something fail if it has not even been tested? I don’t believe enough (yet alone everything) has been tried to get Terian Image Capture off the ground. Considering and accepting this fact, hopefully increased time and effort over the next few months will see positive results.
Its not all doom and gloom, some positive notes:
While we have had no sales, the test client successfully deployed and utilised Terian ICP in production earlier this year, capturing over 6,500 school student images.
The test client also successfully deployed and utilised a pre-release version of Terian ID Creator to produce over 4,500 ID Cards.
Terian ID Creator v0.73 was built on 01/May/2014, and represents a functionally complete pre-release version with only bug fixes and critical updates to be implemented before the full v1.0 release, which hopefully should be within the next couple of months.
Normal work commitments are starting to quieten down, increasing the time available to to commit to the Terian application and business development.