How did we find a business idea - part 3

by: Michal Szymanski

“Let me repeat it aloud.

You want to launch a new product to the market dominated by free, open source solutions. Your competition will be not only dozens free products made by passionate people, but also projects provided by technological giants, such as: Google, Twitter or Facebook, which offer free product as well.

Your distinguishing feature will be charge for your products, whereas the majority of other companies provide the same for free.

Did I miss something?”

“Hmm...We have no money, no team, no office nor experience in this technology. What's more, we don't want any investor or any subsidies. We are going to do this ourselves.”

“Are you...hmm... kidding me?”.

In this way I can describe our initial talks to people about our idea for MDB. I must honestly admit that skepticism about this plan was justified. Just the combination of Bootstrap and Material Design does not seem to be good enough. And it was not indeed.

The real break-grounding ideas for our business was not so much connected with the MDB product but with our portal

3 ideas determined MDB success (and none of them was MDB):

  • Technical support 24/7
  • Automation marketing based on thoroughgoing analytics
  • A complex, long-term, consistently implemented SEO strategy, supported by high-quality technical content and user-friendly UI of our portal

This article describes only point 1. Points 2 and 3 are so extensive that I present each of them in a separate section.

Home page of our portal

At the beginning I need to tell you a little bit about the reality of nerd community developing open source projects (free software / available for everybody).

Believe it or not, but the groups of such guys with no social life shape the future of technology - and as a result the entire modern world.

Imagine a stereotypical no-life person, who after all day long at work in front the computer, back home and ... sit in front of the computer to code in an open source project for free. Nonsense, right? And yet, thousands of geeks around the world live in this way - they devote their free time to develop technology supported their ideas.

I love this lifestyle and love such people. I am a similar nerd myself.

In the picture below you can see Dawid and me riotously celebrating New Year's Eve 2016/2017

Openness and widespread accessibility of open source technologies means that the number of potential applications is almost unlimited. And it forces the creators to give it enough flexibility.

This is very good, but appears one problem - always, but it always you come across the situation where this damn thing does not work.

what are you doing then? You write a message on the nerd community forum. Sometimes you do not get any solution but sometimes get dozens - and none of them works. Your work is in limbo. You waist time and money as well. As the project is open source and is run by whole group of unknown nerds, you can not hold anybody responsible for it. After all, they do it pro bono so why you get angry at. Sit quietly, cry and wait patiently till someone gives its attention to your problem.

While you are bitterly searching the web to find some solution, come upon MDB forum and, without much hope, write a post asking for help. You publish topic and go for something to calm down. When you back to the computer, your jaws drops in surprise. Your melissa has not been brewed yet, and you have already got your solution on the MDB forum.

“It's magic?? Who are these guys?! Can life really look like this??” - your thoughts are swirling like a school of wild eels in your head.

Welcome to the MDB technical support forum. We do not sleep to you could sleep.

Above anecdote illustrates important advantage that we managed to achieve over much stronger opponents. During the first month of its existence, from the quality point of view, MDB was much weaker than competing projects. It had no brand or supporting community. There were two of us, me and my partner. So we play the only card we had - truly sensational customer service.

On our forum no question could be left unanswered for more than 15 minutes. I did not matter whether it was the middle of the night, New Year's Eve or Christmas Eve. Support was a sanctity, so after receiving notification one of us had to sit down and solve the user's problem as fast as possible.

It was a completely new approach in the source open world and users appreciated that. The number of clients started to grow quickly, despite the fact that the quality of our product dropped behind. Earned money allowed us to improve MDB. Thanks to it, after a few months, we had both the best quality product and the most efficient technical support.

Applied strategy of sensational customer service has opened the door for us to dominate in our technology niche.

I think there is no need to say that we took advantage of this opportunity without hesitation ?

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Michal Szymanski

Co-founder of MDBootstrap and BrandFlow. Entrepreneur, web developer, UI / UX designer, marketer. Dancer and nerd at the same time.

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