› Hi, developer community!
I’m the researcher within the Ecosystem and Marketplace team. I’ve recently been researching the wide array of partners within the Marketplace community. As we round out 2020, I’d like to share with you a little bit about what I’ve heard and learned.
Over the past few months, I’ve had the pleasure of speaking to many of you. I’ve heard from a range of people at different stages in their business journey. Some of you were just getting started on Marketplace, others had been running an app business as a side hobby for years, some had very successful startups, and some are thinking about listing on Marketplace but haven’t made the leap… yet.
As I chatted with each of you, I heard many people express uncertainty about what others experience as founders in the Marketplace. Research has shown that entrepreneurship can be a lonely endeavor, and owning a Marketplace business is no different. If you’re a founder, perhaps you’ve wondered what other founders have done in their journey to success, or how they have handled challenges that you’re facing. If you’re thinking about listing on Marketplace, perhaps you want to learn about the business journey ahead. Let me shine a little light on that loneliness and share what your peers are experiencing.
The Journey to Success
Based on these conversations, our partners experience five key milestones in their journey as a small business, I call them
- Proof of Concept
- The A-Ha Moment
- Taste of Success
Each of these milestones is associated with specific challenges and successes that are fairly consistent across different people. However, the way these milestones might fit together is unique to the individual. Your journey might look like this:
Proof of Concept
Proof of concept is a development-focused stage of the journey. An engineer (or team of) is working on their app idea in their spare time. This milestone is all about getting your app to work technically.
Major challenges at this stage are all about accessing technical support and problem-solving. We heard that you make use of Google, this forum, DAC, support tickets, Slack, and StackOverflow to help answer your technical questions.
The A-Ha! moment is the point in time where you recognized that you could commercialize this app and make some money! I heard founders describe this moment as when they realized their app could be of value to others.
At this stage in the journey, you prepare your app listing and create the very beginning foundations of your business.
I heard that a challenge at this stage is grappling with all the requirements of listing on the Marketplace. For example: What should the price be? How do I set up customer support? Do I need a website? How do I create an end-user agreement?
Taste of Success
You’ve launched on the Marketplace, and people are using your app! Congrats. This is such an exciting point in the journey. Although, while an exciting time, this is also very stressful.
As most founders are engineers, we heard that there are many (potentially) unfamiliar tasks to tackle, which can be a pretty overwhelming moment. You need not only be an engineering lead for your app but also a marketer, a product manager, a researcher collecting and actioning customer feedback, an account manager, and even customer support.
Don’t be afraid to seek support and guidance from your peers to help stem this anxiety. Try the Marketplace Partner forum in the Atlassian Developer Community. If you’re a Marketplace Partner but don’t have access to that category, request access here.
You’ve had your app(s) for a year or more on the Marketplace, and you’ve got a fulfilling side hobby. Your app business might provide some extra cash on the side or offer an intellectual and creative outlet. The app business isn’t a full-time focus.
A significant challenge that founders at this stage expressed was how to collect and action customer feedback. The design team and I are currently thinking about ways that we can make that easier.
Your app business is producing enough revenue that you can make the jump to focusing on it full time.
At our final stage in the small business journey, all of those unfamiliar, non-engineering tasks are starting to outweigh the actual building and maintaining of the app.
I heard those of you at this stage expressing that they feel challenged by… Atlassian. I’ll say it. I heard that we can make things difficult for you in a few ways, from pushing changes that cause breaks to creating programs that can be difficult to access when you are a small business. If you haven’t already, check out Atlassian Ventures. I’m very excited by this program, which will give support to high potential small partners to take their idea to the next level.
So, where are you on your business journey? Have I captured your experience so far?
Next, I’ll be sharing what factors people feel contributed to their success in the Marketplace.
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