Thursday, October 11, 2012

microISV Business Success

Book review of The Best Advice Ever for Becoming a Success at Work by Robert McCord (published by Andrews McMeel Publishing).

Here's a short book (178 pages) that's full of stories and tales that will help you with your software marketing.

As with most business books, you'll have to translate the author's opinions. He's talking about the general business marketplace, and all of us are working in the software development industry.

Here are two examples of McCord's advice:

As a software developer, it would be easy for your to quickly dismiss McCord's advice about Wal-Mart's "everyday low price" philosophy. After all, you sell distinguished software, and not a bunch of commodities. On further analysis, however, you need to think about your applications' prices. Are you hurting your brand and your income stream by putting your software on sale from time to time? Do your discounted prices cause your prospects to defer the software-buying decision until a later date, when they can buy from you at a lower price? And, if so, how many of these prospects remember to return to your website to make the purchase?

Michael McCarthy is quoted in a 1997 article in The Wall Street Journal as saying: "During the early 1990s, Frito-Lay researchers found that most people preferred a (potato) chip that broke under about four pounds of pressure per square inch. And consumers demand consistency. They would complain if chips were just eight one-thousandths of an inch too thick or too thin." As a software developer, you could quickly move on to the next story, without giving this one a lot of your time. Alternatively, you might consider how your prospects will react to the deviations that you've introduced into your program's graphical user interface (GUI). Will your prospects and customers embrace GUI changes as exciting and innovative, or will they reject them because your customers require consistency?

Like so many business books, the amount of wisdom you extract from "The Best Advice Ever for Becoming a Success at Work" is related to the amount of work you're investing in translating general business principles into your microISV market niche.

"The Best Advice Ever for Becoming a Success at Work" is the kind of book that you can pick up, select a page, and enjoy for four or five minutes, confident that you'll learn an idea or two that will strengthen your software marketing.

A lot of McCord's quotations and advice are not relevant to a mom-and-pop company in the high-tech world of application software development. But software developers can get thought-provoking material from many of these articles.

I'll leave you with one of the book's quotations from Po Bronson, author of the book "The First $20 Million Is Always the Hardest."

"If Microsoft made cars...we'd all have to switch to Microsoft Gas."

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