A few months ago I made a big leap and launched SimpleCallTracker.  So how did it go?  Well….it went well.  I have plans on doing a big PR push with press releases and hopefully media exposure, but I have taken baby steps so far to promote the product and they have worked (meaning….paying customers).  SimpleCallTracker is a revenue generating product.  Yippee!  I’m not quite at retirement level yet, but launching a product and having unknown people on the Internet give you money for something you created feels amazing.  I’m one of the lucky ones…every product I have ever launched has generated revenue.

half-a-car

The big secret (not anymore) is that when I launched SimpleCallTracker, it wasn’t done.  In the world of start-ups, MVP stands for Minimal Viable Product.   In the context of SimpleCallTracker, I released a fully working product….it was able to acquire phone numbers, you can set them up, and calls would be forwarded and tracked.

I’m not getting my email reports

The biggest thing that was missing from the initial product launch was the email tracking reports.  Now, despite launching a working product, emailed reports were not something that was a core feature to the product.  They are very nice to have, since you don’t have to log into the application to get your tracking information, and they are provided in a nice Microsoft Excel format, but no one signed up on the actual launch date, and in a pinch, I could have generated the reports by hand and emailed them.

Billing History and changing credit cards

Yes, your credit card was required on sign up, and it is stored in a PCI compliant data center, and I never ever see your actual card information.  But….when I first launched SimpleCallTracker, there was no way for you to see your billing history, or change your credit card.  This might be one of those obvious things, that there is no history when it is brand new, so it was an easy one to push off.

What’s still missing

Automatic deactivation of trial accounts.  When someone tries SimpleCallTracker, and they don’t want to continue the trial, I have to manually go in and decommission their account, along with the telephone number that they might have selected.  It is something that can be done easily in the code, but it’s just not something that has been a priority yet.

What does it all mean?

I’m not suggesting that you ship an incomplete product.  As I mentioned before, the product I shipped worked, and it worked well (and is still working well).  I’m recommending that when you are evaluating when you can ship a product, try and get a product in the customer’s hands as soon as possible and focus on the core product.  Things that are ripe for automation are the things that can be done manually in the meantime, and even though it may be time consuming, it gets your product on the market faster.