I'm going to write this once and then distribute it, because I've had some inquiries and I've been contemplating myself where the program has to go from here.
We're nearly 4 weeks into launch for BeadEnCounter, and sales are...disappointing to say the least. Tragic would be more like it. Like any new project, one hopes for that miraculous "crash the servers" response from the public. It's quite deflating to realize we're going to have to settle for the normal "build over time" business curve.
But it is early days yet. I've found in other ventures that three years is about the normal time to get a new business established. I don't have the capitalization to hold out quite so long on this project, I need the cash flow in order to pursue the future I'd like to see happen for the software.
Since I was pushing so hard before and during the beta testing program, and then to get the whole website up and store revamped and installers made, etc. I kind of got used to a frantic pace and constant work on the software. Now I feel a little at loose ends. But I continue to fine-tune the website, and to seek optimum marketing opportunities.
So here's what I see happening:
- Marketing drives the universe. This is my entirely new and original thought. Yeah. Right. I had thought print advertising was the way to go, in national publications. Well, perhaps I'm being way too impatient, but I expected a better response. Turns out that repetition drives people to be aware of ads, and for print ads in monthly publications, the repeat rate is realllllllyyyyy lowwwwww. So we'll be redistributing some of our long-term money commitments from print to online venues. I've got one lined up, others will follow. Repeated viewings happen a lot faster online. Hopefully click-throughs will happen faster as well.
- Refine the website. I'm working on photos/images to convey the concepts in the software to the visitors to the website. Something that shows how using the product assists in organizing, and creates productivity and profitability. Abstract concepts conveyed in concrete images. Any suggestions to improve the website are welcome.
- New features in the software. As has been noted by testers and commenters, the Consignment area is particularly underdeveloped, and the Inventory process needs fleshing out. Currently we don't have true inventory management. I want to add much more functional Vendor tracking features, and incorporate some very clever feature requests by early users. As with any software product, there comes a point where you have to freeze features and just ship the darn thing! Otherwise you just develop eternally and never get a product out the door. Once again, suggestions on features are welcome at any time at the forum we've set up for just this purpose. You can see what others have suggested, add your own, and discuss with other users how they use the software. Some of our users are very clever.
So that's our future focus. I had expected that after our launch, work, meaning marketing, would continue. I didn't anticipate that it would be nearly full time!
If anyone is considering buying BeadEnCounter but is hesitating, or has considered it but rejected the idea, I would dearly like to hear about the reasons why. I want to make BeadEnCounter the best product it can possibly be, and offer an irresistable bargain to artists, beaders and crafters everywhere. My testing group can tell you I take criticism well, and am very willing to listen and adapt.
Visit us on the forum, and join the conversation!