I launched my product a year ago, but so far haven’t had much luck selling it. I desperately needed advice from a person that could take a look at my situation and help figure out what’s wrong and how to move on. Andy Brice has been through all this and knew exactly what I was struggling with.
GraphicDesignerToolbox is a Mac OS X application for creating computer generated graphics. It allows users to snap together generative and filter blocks to create a vast range of different types of images, without any drawing or programming. It is an impressively slick and well engineered piece of software. But sales were unsatisfactory. I did some consulting for the author, Simon Strandgaard, focussed on improving the marketing and the user’s initial experience of the product. As a result he has made a lot of changes, including:
Re-thought the product positioning, marketing message and target customer.
Renamed the application to GraphicDesignerToolbox (from the less descriptive ToolboxApp).
Moved the website from ToolboxApp.com to GraphicDesignerToolbox.com.
Commissioned a new application icon.
Completely rewritten the website.
Improved the initial user experience with a quick tour and easy to load samples.
Improved the product documentation.
Changed the trial model.
Increased the price.
Released version 1.0.
You can see captures of old and new versions of the website below:
Old home page - click to enlarge
New home page - click to enlarge
It is has been very rewarding to see the product and marketing improve so much in just three months. Especially as someone else was doing all the hard work! I think the changes are a huge improvement all round and I wish Simon and GraphicDesignerToolbox every success. v1.0 was released today and Simon tells me he has sold as many licences today as in the previous 5 months.
Simon Shutter of Schemax Calendar was kind enough to send me this testimonial after I did a day of consulting for him:
I recently hired Andy Brice to review Schemax Calendar. To make the most of his time (and my money) I gave Andy a summary document of the product covering everything from technical architecture to marketing. We had two highly productive discussions via Skype and Andy provided an excellent report replete with helpful advice and insight. Throughout the experience, and despite an eight hour time difference, Andy was extremely professional. He was a great listener, constructive in his feedback, generous with his wisdom and clear with his recommendations.
Simon Shutter, Schemax Design
If you are part of a team that uses Microsoft Outlook I recommend you look at the schedule visualisation capabilities of Schemax Calendar.
After I did some consulting for Richard Watson of Tudumo.com he was kind enough to send me this testimonial:
Once I’d finished with the major part of Tudumo development, I got to a point where I needed to take stock of the situation. Rather than making every mistake myself, I thought it would be much better to hire Andy to take a look at my application and essentially ask him “if this was yours, what would you do now?”
It turns out that’s exactly what his approach to your business is. We had a couple of phone discussions after which he scoured my approach and website, applying his experience to my situation.
I was left with a six-page action list, which serves me in a number of ways:
1) It validates what I was doing right
2) Points me in some new directions
3) Gives me an actionable set of tasks which serve as a periodic reminder of which tasks will give me most benefit.
4) A few Andy-only tricks that I hope my competitors don’t get!
In fact, forget it – big waste of time. ;0)
If you are looking for a simple and slick TODO list application I recommend you take a look at Tudumo.
I am offering £100 off my daily consulting fee until the end of March. Could you use an experienced and objective review of your strategy, marketing and product? When you have been eating, sleeping and breathing your business it can be difficult to ‘see the wood for the trees’ and a fresh perspective can be a huge help. More details here.
I first became interested in programming in about 1978, at the age of 12. I can recall the exact moment. I was in a classroom at The Royal Hospital School watching a very basic demo (written in BASIC) of a ball bouncing around a screen on an RM-380Z. Actually it wasn’t a ball, it was a single pixel. But the screen resolution was so low it was easy enough to see from the back of the classroom. Computers with floppy drives were rather expensive for schools in 1978, but some pupils from the school had won it in a competition. I was intrigued – how did it work? The teacher giving the demonstration (Mr Albert) encouraged my early interest and a few years later my grandmother was generous enough to buy our family an Acorn BBC B computer. My future path was set.
30 years later, including 22 years as a professional software developer, I am still fascinated by software. Experience showed me programming skills were necessary, but far from sufficient, to produce successful commercial software. So my interests have grown from programming to include the whole nascent discipline of software engineering. I have also become increasingly interested in the effective marketing of software. Many developers recoil with horror from marketing, but I want my software to make money and be used by lots of people. This requires good marketing as well as a good product. In my experience talented software marketers are even harder to find than talented software developers, so I have learned as much as I can about marketing software. It is actually quite a challenging and creative field.
3 years ago I set up my own one-man company, Oryx Digital, to create software products and offer consulting services to other software companies. Since then I have been extremely busy developing and marketing my product, PerfectTablePlan, which has gone from strength to strength. I released PerfectTablePlan v3.1.1 for Windows and Mac OS X a few days ago. I am very pleased with this new version, which has over 50 improvements and new features. The response from customers has been very favourable and the software appears to be very stable – no automatic crash reports (yet). It has grown far beyond my original ideas and now weighs in at around 100K lines of C++ and 200 pages of user documentation. In my (biased) opinion it is way ahead of any of it’s competitors.
Although PerfectTablePlan remains my main focus, I feel now is a good time to diversify a little. So I am now making myself available a few days a month for consultancy to other software companies, large and small. Do you need a new perspective on your product development and marketing? Perhaps I can help?
Meanwhile I have already started thinking about PerfectTablePlan v4. No rest for the wicked…