Monday, January 30, 2006

Build What You Need... Then Sell It

This entry goes back to the series of business ideas that I was writing about a couple of weeks ago. This entry though will take a slightly different approach in that it doesn't suggest product, instead it suggests selling a product that you may already have.

"We are our customer. Everything that we build, we build for ourselves. And we realize that if we need this, it's likely that hundreds of thousands of other people just like us will need this." - Jason Fried, 37 Signals (interview)

So, this product that I am proposing isn't a new one, it is in fact an old one. Back in 2001, my organization had a need for a request tracking tool. There were some tools around, most of which specifically built for bug tracking, but they didn't quite fit our business. So we went ahead and built a tool that fit our needs. We built in a flexible permissions and preference system, email triggers, hours tracking, contact lists, file uploads, and of course the ability to enter and search for requests. Over the years we have had many discussions about upgrades, and in fact I have a whiteboard full of ideas. The bottom line is that we have nearly 5 years experience with this tool, and we know what features are important to the users.

Once you build a product like this to solve your own needs, the next step is to realize that you potentially have a product that you can sell to others. In my case, I think we really do have a product to sell.


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