In just over two weeks, you’re going to take delivery of a brand spanking new year. Are you getting ready to seize the opportunity, or just muddle on?
I’d like to suggest four simple ways you can make 2008 the best year your microISV has ever had.
Without a plan, you are at mercy’s fate. At a conference of microISV recently, someone asked, “how many of you have business plans?” Only two hands went up – but if I had to bet a thousand dollars, those will be the two microISVs that succeed.
Business/marketing plans are one of those things we all know we should do, but don’t. 2008 can be the year you change that. Now, before the new year, while things are quiet, is the time to get ready. A business plan for a microISV should be short, focused on the year ahead, and not read by anyone else but you.
To be clear, I’m not talking about those fictional works generated to liberate money from VC’s; I’m talking about a no-nonsense real plan detailing how you are specifically going to grow your microISV over the next 12 months. If you’re not familiar with that kind of business/marketing plan, I’d strongly suggest you pick up a copy of Market Planning Guide by David H. Bangs: it’s the single best, action-orientated guide for planning your marketing/business development I’ve found to date.
Without tears, clean up old messes. Every business has it’s share of failed initiatives, projects that have run their course, bright ideas that have lost their luster.
For me, it’s letting my microISV product go way, way too long without updates and not applying what I learned about blogging to this blog. For you, what projects, products, and plans in your microISV need to be closed out and packed up so you can focus on the future?
You don’t have to blog about them as I just did, but you do need to acknowledge each failure and decide what to do about it. So take five minutes right now and make a list with two columns. In column one, each project or situation that needs to be wrapped up. In column two, what you are going to do about what’s in column one, and by when.
Sometimes, you have to let go to move forward.
Without fail, put a productivity system in place. Whether it’s David Allen’s Getting Things Done, or Leo Babata’s Zen to Done [non-affiliate link], or any other system that moves tasks from from to do to done, doesn’t leak and doesn’t drive you crazy, it’s high time you get your system together.
Note the emphasis on system: it’s all about the process, not the technology. But the plain and simple fact of the matter is if you’re going to run a successful micro company, you have got to have a system in place that captures each and every thing you need to do. Your brain is not a system – and getting all those to do’s out of your head will free your mind.
Without expectations, talk to your customers. Be it via blog, email, phone, skype or smoke signals, finding out what your customers like – and especially what they dislike – about your application or web site. This real world feedback is priceless for seeing your software the way the world sees it.
The mechanics will vary depending on your circumstances, but the intent is to find out, without pressure or marketing, what you’re customers think you need to do to take your microISV game to the next level for next year.
So, let me ask you: What would you like to see more of and less of here at 47hats?
[tags] microISVs, business plans [/tags]