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I own, for about a year now, a one-man Software Firm that works with projects in the Industrial Automation and Data Telemetry market.

My initial goal when started this firm was to develop software products and sell them directly to my final customers, which are big enterprises (mining companies and grain storage facilities).

I've achieved the "develop products" part, but still it's extremelly difficult to sell to my final customers, I always got replies like:

  • How are you going to give me support?
  • What should I do if I need you and you're on vacation? Or sick?
  • How many team members do you have?

I understand and totally agree with this concerns, but how I'm supposed to build a team without the money that comes from this kind of projects?

Today I managed to sell my products through partnerships with equipment sellers, that sells their products and sell my softwares with their brand, but they get at least 200% over my selling price. This looks fine to me, because I know all the structure involved in this kind of operation and I can get almost 1 sell/month, with my selling price being $7600 for each unit, with gives me some financial comfort, but still won't let me grow.

So, my main question is: how can I convince a possible client from buying something directly from me?

I have portfolios, all projects I install can be presented as mine, but it seems not to be enough.

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You're right about their concerns, and they need those parts solved. Would you be able to hire an MSP-type agency until you grow more? 1 sell per month doesn't sound like a lot, would you be able to sell 2 or more per month?

If you can get an MSP-type agency that agrees to only bill you when they need to do something, that helps in a few ways:

  1. If something is repeatedly breaking, you'll see the trend and fix it
  2. If you have documentation that you expect them to follow, they most likely will
  3. If you focus on the selling, you can get more money to eventually hire someone to work under you

I would focus on chatting with MSPs in the area, and see what kind of deal you can come to. Once you have "support" in place, even if you get hit by a bus, then you can show the big industries that you have that part covered.

Now that you can focus less on the technical side of things, you can focus more on the selling, increase your income, and grow from there.

  • Thanks Luke, I will go after something like this. This would be nice if I got my support part covered and focus only on selling the solution. Another thing that came in my mind, though I think it would be subject for another question, on how can I, as a small firm, protect my code from being leaked or copied by any possible employee or developer? – Leo Vesque Jan 25 at 2:53
  • Short answer, you can't... Use NDAs, and trust the people who would potentially have access to it. – Canadian Luke Jan 25 at 6:11

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