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Software Success Story: Paessler Software

by NotePage, Inc.

It started out in 1996; Dirk Paessler was looking for a load testing application. Unable to find one, he wrote his own tool. Within two weeks of cleaning it up and creating a web page, he had two customers send him $ 20.00 for the program. Dirk ran his shareware business part time for 4 years. Today with six applications, Paessler Software demands Dirk's full attention. With five full and ten part-time employees Paessler software has grown into a very successful business.

Having worked in the tech industry during the dot-com crash Dirk was determined that Paessler would grow not from venture capital funding but by reinvesting profits into marketing.

The following is Dirk's input for fellow developers:

Q - What factors or marketing ideas do you attribute your success to?

- Being prepared for a long run = if you do not have a six digit marketing budget for the start, start small and take time to grow.

- Growing only from your own power = no banks, no venture capitals etc., then you will always have the full control over your company. I worked for a dot-com until it crashed in 2001 like so many others, and I definitely know that this is not the way to go...

- Having niche products perfect for marketing via search engines (we don't find customers, they find us)

- Having learnt how to create a good "shareware" app (good registration benefits, good but not annoying nag screens, etc), e.g. at the shareware conferences (a big tip for newbies!)

- Having a professional agency or at least a good graphics guy create corporate identity/graphics and the website look & feel as early as possible = nobody pays $100 to a company whose website looks like "designed with notepad" = tip: Try to find a partner on www.elance.com, We found several capable and well priced graphics guys from eastern Europe and Russia there.

- Having a good, globally minded registration company for your online sales (we use Element5/ShareIt).

- fast and knowledgable support _and_ sales replies

Q - What are some of the obstacles that you feel you have had to overcome in order to become a success?

- Inventing the right product.

- Getting the message out: It took 3 years until we found a company like Dave Collins' www.sharewarepromotions.com. We have been working with them ever since. It took another 3 years until we hired a part time PR guy. Don't wait so long!

- Being ready to give some of your hard worked code away for free (for most apps we offer freeware version to get people hooked), but this gives you more downloads

Q - Has your growth been hampered by the fact you are not located int he US?

- Not that I know. But any non-US company you MUST make sure that their websites "looks" and "reads" American. If your English is not American or not even good, get somebody who is a native speaker. And…offer dollar pricing!

Q - What advice would you give to developers starting out?

- For the first months and years, make sure you can make your living off something else. This will give you a relaxed mood that is vital for success. If you press for success it won't come! If your first product does not sky rocket, don't optimize it for years create the next one! We always experienced the biggest sales increases from new products, not with the step from version 12.4 to 13.0 of a product (although it is necessary to constantly refine your product!). At some point you will hit the right one!

Additional information about Paessler Software can be found at http://www.paessler.com

About the Author:
Sharon Housley manages marketing for NotePage, Inc. http://www.notepage.net a company specializing in alphanumeric paging, SMS and wireless messaging software solutions. Other sites by Sharon can be found at http://www.softwaremarketingresource.com , and http://www.small-business-software.net

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