First I need to say I’m sorry for the trick headlines. This quick answer is that it is very unlikely to get rich on money by developing Dynamics AX add-ons, and especially if you try to this alone. However, what you will be is much richer in experience and I guarantee you will have fun. Also a warning; if you are not internally motivated to share and learn more, than do not go down this path.
I wanted to share with you some own experience in how to create, promote and sell your great ideas.
Step 1 is the idea, and step 2 is to have a either a rich uncle, nice employer or a customer that believes in your idea. It is more difficult if you are missing on step 1 or 2, and you could risk going home hungry.
Step 3 is product quality and development, and this is very well discussed and described in other blogs and from Microsoft, and I will not go down there now. One important tip here is to be clear about what versions of Dynamics AX you do support.
Step 4 is documentation. When I develop Dynamics AX Add-ons/modules, I spend a lot of time documenting with the end-user in mind. The documents I create for each add-on are; brochure, installation manual, user manual, step-by-step guide, training presentation, and a sales presentation. Do it in English!
Step 5 is about promoting your solution, and this may be the most important part. Marketing can be very expensive. A blog (like this) is much cheaper. You may need to share more than you want to attract readers (also called potential customers). You need to write about what you are doing, how you are doing it, and why it is important. Share from your documentation. Show your genuine interest in your particular subject, and what it’s capable to do. If you can share ideas and code snippets, do so. Don’t be afraid of that some may steal your code or idea. The true value is your expertise, and the ability to have a continued focus. You will probably not be rich on the product anyway, and BING/GOOGLE will figure out that what you write have value for readers. Many of the customers that have purchased my solutions have found the solution here on this blog, and then contacted me. Also try to promote your product internally among colleges and friends.
Step 6 is about making your product commercial. Then you need a pricelist. One tip, is to price it so low, that other partners/developers cannot make the same features as customizations at the same price. High price = no customers. Low price = some customers. You probably also need to create a partner model, so that partners that brings customers to you can make money on it. Also, if you want to continue to improve and further develop your product, try to sell your product with yearly enhancement fees.
Step 7 is to show and demo the product. In most cases this will be Microsoft Partners, that first “scans” the marketplace according to what a potential or existing customer needs. You will therefore need tools to do this, like Lync, GotoMeeting or any other meeting tools. If your product is great, try to demo it as often as possible, to as many as possible. They need to see that it’s actually working and are living up to the expectations explained in your blog.
Step 8 let your customers/partners try the product. “Try before you buy” is popular, because all have experiences to purchase things/software that does not live up to the expectations. But since your idea and product is great, be prepare to let them try it. You should also probably create a NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement), that the customer needs to sign before you hand over all you have for trial. Let you customers try the software in the way they want, and therefore you should make the installation (XPO or AX-models) available. In many cases, customers prefer to have a Hyper-V or VMWARE image downloaded, since it will contain both solution and data ready to try.
Step 9 is to make sure the product, documentation and support capabilities are available. Use the a WEB-page where the customers must log in. I prefer a SharePoint site, where I make all installation, documentation AND support available. As long as the customer is on an enhancement plan, they have access to what they need. I also let partners and customers on NDA have read only access to this SharePoint site. Also remember to remove users from the SharePoint site, where you see/understand that they will not purchase. Tell them that they can continue to read more on the blog
Step 10 is to sell your product. You should then have a SLA (Software License Agreement), that make sure that you and the customer is protected. Also create a document called “How to purchase”, where you describe how customers and partners should go forward. After the product is delivered, then you invoice it.
Step 11 is to be proud, and remember that you don’t do this to get rich. You do it, because on this journey you are learning a lot, and you are creating solutions that customers benefit’s from. You will also increase your own value and public recognition on the path.
Also remember that there are always winners in the lottery. One time it could be you