Tag Archives: consulting

Robo Print Job Manager

I recently did some consulting for Paul Roberts on his print estimation software, as usual concentrating on improving marketing and usability. He sent me some feedback at the end of the consulting and was kind enough to let me reproduce it here.

I got Andy to check out why my software was not selling as well as I expected. His approach was very thorough and covered the entire downloading experience, from Google to first impressions of the software. Some of the findings were very unexpected, and he found a considerable amount of room for improvement in various areas. Many suggestions were things I had never considered. I needed a brutally honest opinion with plenty of recommendations, and Andy (The Gordon Ramsay of the Software Development World – in a nice way) exceeded my expectations in his approach, his professional knowledge, and his knowledge on where I’m missing out on sales. Even though we were 13 hours apart in time zones, we covered a staggering amount of ground.

I’m still working on the changes he recommended (there were quite a few), but I am confident that I will recoup the consultation fee paid to Andy very quickly once these changes are in place. I would definitely recommend Andy’s services, as this was value for money, particularly for those who find their software is not doing as well as it should do and need to look at it from a completely different perspective.

Paul Roberts, www.roboprintjobmanager.com

I am quite tickled at being compared to talented chef and TV bad boy Gordon Ramsey (warning, lots of swearing). However, while I aspire to his level of passion, knowledge and commitment, I would like to point out that I don’t use the F word during consulting (unless perhaps I find out that you are paying Google $0.50 each time someone in China clicks on your ad for a $20 product).

TestRail

The guys at Gurock Software were kind enough to send me this testimonial after I did some consulting on TestRail, their web based test management software.

After launching our new test management software TestRail early last year, we recently contacted Andy to help us increase the visibility of our product. Based on customer feedback and reviews, we knew that many software development teams prefer TestRail over legacy solutions that are difficult to use. But we also knew that most teams weren’t aware of our new product, so we wanted to improve this situation.

The first thing Andy did was to try and test the application as a normal user would use it. While he walked through the application and briefly tested its major features, he recorded a video of this experience and narrated the video with comments and suggestions. Seeing how a first-time user uses your application can be very useful and it definitely showed us a few things that we could improve.

Learning more about the application was also important for the next step: Andy interviewed us to learn more about our goals, marketing methods and many other things. He then prepared a detailed and thorough report with many suggestions, comments and recommendations. Implementing all those suggestions will take time but we are already seeing first positive results of the short-term improvements that we’ve implemented. If you want to bring your product (or product marketing) to the next level, Andy’s consulting service is highly recommended.

Dennis Gurock, http://www.gurock.com

Although only launched last year, TestRail is already a polished product with an impressive customer list. If you have a suite of test cases you need to manage, I suggest you take a look.

After launching our new test management software TestRail early last
year, we recently contacted Andy to help us increase the visibility of
our product. Based on customer feedback and reviews, we knew that many
software development teams prefer TestRail over legacy solutions that
are difficult to use. But we also knew that most teams weren’t aware of
our new product, so we wanted to improve this situation.

The first thing Andy did was to try and test the application as a normal
user would use it. While he walked through the application and briefly
tested its major features, he recorded a video of this experience and
narrated the video with comments and suggestions. Seeing how a
first-time user uses your application can be very useful and it
definitely showed us a few things that we could improve.

Learning more about the application was also important for the next
step: Andy interviewed us to learn more about our goals, marketing
methods and many other things. He then prepared a detailed and thorough
report with many suggestions, comments and recommendations. Implementing
all those suggestions will take time but we are already seeing first
positive results of the short-term improvements that we’ve implemented.

If you want to bring your product (or product marketing) to the next
level, Andy’s consulting service is highly recommended.

Mailplane

I recently did a day of consulting for Ruben Bakker of  Mailplane. I looked in depth at his marketing and did a screencast of myself downloading, using and buying Mailplane. We also discussed some ideas for a new product. At the end of the process he was kind enough to write me this testimonial:

How can I improve my sales? How can I make my application more profitable? Which of my ideas could be the next software product? With these questions in mind I hired Andy. He evaluated my small business, tested the product, checked the product website/store, and we discussed my strategy. Andy knows the Micro-ISV life and business with all its specialities and constraints. As a result of his work, I’ve now a clear plan and even tools on how to improve my sales. I was already able to put some ideas to work, and they already yielded measurable improvements. And Andy helped me choose my next project, I am now very much looking forward to it.

Ruben Bakker, www.mailplaneapp.com

Mailplane is a Mac desktop app that embeds and extends Gmail. For example, Mailplane allows you to drag and drop attachments, something that isn’t possible with Gmail running in a standard browser. This web/desktop hybrid approach potentially gives the best of both world – the richness of a desktop client, with the ability to fall back on the bare web app if required (e.g. from an Internet cafe). I expect to see more web/desktop hybrids in future.

Mailplane is a very polished app and I recommend downloading the free trial if you use Gmail on Mac OS X.

Zed builds and bugs

zedI did some consulting for Zed builds and bugs a few months back and made some suggestions on how they could improve their marketing and product. In particular I focussed on their marketing message/positioning, website, Adwords campaign and set-up usability issues. They have now been kind enough to write-up their experiences working with me on their blog. Best of all, they have included some hard data on improvements since they implemented the recommendations:

Metric Change
Website Visitors 10% Increase
Trial Downloads 200% Increase
Google Organic Search Hits 320% Increase
Visitor Time Spent on Website 250% Increase

Obviously I can’t claim too much credit, as they did all the hard work. But it certainly looks like things are heading in the right direction and I think the changes to their website are a huge improvement.

Zed is an interesting product, integrating a continuous integration server with a bug tracker, wiki and forums, all behind a slick web interface. Obviously there are plenty of products that do these things individually, but Zed’s power comes from the integration of them all. For example, a build failure can automatically generate a bug report and bug fix can trigger an automatic build.

If you are interested in continuous integration and/or a more integrated approach to developer collaboration I recommend you try Zed. If you have less than 5 users you can take advantage of their free community edition.

DeepTrawl

deeptrawlI have been an enthusiastic user of Deeptrawl since the first beta was announced on the BOS forum. I run DeepTrawl on http://www.perfecttableplan.com every time I make major changes to ensure that there are no broken links, missing images or other website bugs. It has saved me quite a few potentially embarassing mistakes and helped me sleep a bit sounder at night. So I was very pleased when the author, Jonathan Matthews, asked me to do a day of consulting to assist in his efforts to move DeepTrawl sales to the next level.

The consultation ran to two long phone calls, lots of emails, some research and testing and a report with 21 pages of recommendations covering areas including: licensing, pricing, SEO, website, promotion, Adwords and usability. Here is what Jonathan had to say about the process:

I approached Andy Brice to do some consulting specifically because I wanted to increase sales largely through improving my marketing efforts.

Andy’s approach is one which I think those from a coding background will appreciate. From the first phone call it was clear his process was refined and methodical: not concentrating on fluffy marketing fads but rather on solid proven methods.

Throughout the consulting process it was clear that Andy was taking all the positive and negative marketing knowledge he gained making his own product successful & applying it to create unique recommendations for my own product.

The final report was delivered before the due date & on budget. Reading the report I was stunned by the wealth of information it contained. The report doesn’t just contain dry facts & statistics, the emphasis is clearly on actionable points. Reading Andy’s justifications for making his recommendations it’s clear that implementing them will ratchet up the effectiveness of my marketing efforts one step at a time.

My conclusion is that Andy’s consulting is probably the most cost effective investment I will ever make in my business; I fully expect the expenditure to be repaid many, many times over.

Jonathan Matthews, www.deeptrawl.com

If you have a website that runs to tens or hundreds of pages that you need to QA, I would definitely recommend  giving DeepTrawl a try. To sweeten the deal Jonathan is offering readers of this blog 20% off until the end of July (go to the buy page, click a ‘buy now’ button, then click ‘the checkout’ button, then enter the coupon code: successfulsw01 ).

Consulting testimonial: Schemax Calendar

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.

Could your business use an independent and experienced perspective?

Consulting testimonial: Tudumo

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.

Could your business use an independent and experienced perspective?