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Show HN: Micro CRM, a CRM for People Who Hate CRMs
147 points by charly1811 43 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 85 comments
Hello Community! My name is Charles-Eugene Loubao, I am a software developer who recently turned into an Indie Maker and I am sharing my new product with you today.

Micro CRM is a Customer Relationship Managment web app built to be easy to use and intuitive. Most CRMs can be complicated to use and come with an expensive price tag. Micro CRM is built to fill that need for a much simpler and cheaper contact managment platform that offers compeling features without being overwhelming.

What can I do with it ?

- Keep all your contacts in one place - Timestamped notes can be used to keep track of events associated with your contacts, or as a call log.

By getting the Premium Plan you also can also:

- Import your existing contacts from Excel CSV files - Organize easily with tags - Create email reminders to help you remember follow-ups

What's next ?

Micro CRM is in it's early days and I am planning on adding the following features:

- Search - Sorting and Filtering - Custom fields - Contact attachments (files, links, images, etc) - Team Collaboration - Possible Integrations (email, calendar, Slack, etc)

How much does it cost ?

Micro CRM is free to use for manual entry and simple contact managment. The premium plan is $5/month and for a limited time I am offering a free 30 days trial with no credit card required when you create your account.

Head to https://microcrm.cc and create your free account today!

Great effort, and I applaud your efforts to try and come up with a solution in this very crowded space.

For me, simplicity in a CRM is not the factor that will make me pull out my wallet. After all, your current feature set I can already do using AirTable or even a Google Sheet.

The killer features I need, that will make me pay actual $ for would be:

* Ability to have multiple team members in my company share and update my list of contacts

* Ability to add contacts from other sources (e.g. directly from my Inbox, by cc'ing any correspondence to a special CRM address, or by photographing a business card).

* Ability to group contacts by company or conference etc. so I can contact them at once.

Basically, anything that eliminates data entry, and takes the pain out of manually creating a name, address, phone, email etc. Good luck with the build out of your feature set.

Loooong time reader and first time poster.

Everything you mentioned (aside from the business card reading) can be done with Odoo and the CRM addon. You can set up email aliases for different teams which allow you to cc or bcc correspondence directly to Odoo and have it match with existing contacts (or create new ones if need be)

The community edition is FOSS, easily extendable and can be self hosted. Only requires some extra Python packages and Postgres.

Full disclosure: My employer runs Odoo for MRP, CRM, Sales and Purchasing and I am employed to develop and modify these addons. It’s mostly Python and XML/Qweb for the front end but it’s a great platform to develop for.

Two of those features can be done using Google Sheets as you suggested

>* Ability to have multiple team members in my company share and update my list of contacts

>* Ability to group contacts by company or conference etc. so I can contact them at once.

And you can possibly create API integrations between Sheets and your inbox etc using Zapier.

Thank you for your helpful insight. You listed most of the things I am getting ready to build.

Stay tuned!

Would you have any interest in pulling in CDRs & text message logs to give a broader overview of interactions with clients? If so, I'd be interested in helping write bindings for the open source PBX we use...

Could you please provide more info on how you’d do this? I have built a CRM for internal use that does this with maxo.com.au . Is the open source PBX just astrix?

Hey. Thank you for checking out Micro CRM. Such a feature might be considered when the API Integration is built.

Biggest thing for me would be seamless (and option) email import. I can store contacts in a spreadsheet, but seeing the history of conversations with a customer is where a minimalist spreadsheet is a lot better.

Hi! Email integration is in the pipeline of features

I know you didn't ask for suggestions, but here's mine: the one thing I care about a CRM doing really well is pipeline / funnel management, i.e, the ability to define a set of stages that a contact goes through to close a deal or reach some other desired result and track contacts as they move through the pipeline(s).

For example: unqualified lead -> qualified lead -> responded to email -> discussion with sales rep -> made purchase

Being able to organize my contacts in this way and quickly see which contacts are at which stages and easily move them between stages (ideally with an API endpoint) is a super powerful way to drive day to day workflow (and automations like follow up emails, assuming there's an API endpoint for querying).

I’ve replied to someone else regarding Odoo, but the CRM addon has this as a default workflow. You can define a pipeline for different sales teams and track sales from leads all the way to acquisition/customer. From there on you can process sales orders, have it tie into manufacturing etc.

A simple CRM, by just supporting labels, lets you implement pretty easily any scheme like you have described.

Hierarchical labels (like gmail) are IMO the gold standard that every bit of software should implement on every type of object.

Flexibility of labelling is definitely the way to go with pipeline management. Different organizations have very different ideas about sales processes (and even what constitutes a sale/deal/partnership) and a CRM aiming for simplicity should simply let users define (and reuse) their own.

Hey, thanks for your feedback. I did not say it before but I am also considering implementing a pipeline. I myself realised today that I will need that .

An API is also in the works for a third plan: Entreprise ($50/month)

That makes sense. API access, especially at that price point, seems like something worth paying for.

have you checked out Less Annoying CRM [0]?

It has a rudimentary pipeline feature and API access. $10/month per user.

0. https://lacrm.com

Wrong TLS certificate. I wouldn't feel at ease giving away my contact and business information to a startup that can't even properly manage its web server...

I guess that's a secondary domain they forgot about. Their actual website is at https://www.lessannoyingcrm.com/ and has proper TLS certs.

That's new, been using it for a year now, and the certificate was fine up until recently.

So, once a sale is made, would you continue to update the CRM system for that customer?

I am not saying I will implement every single feature people request but I will take any feedback my customers give me. I will continue working on Micro CRM and provide updates and fix bugs.

All I'm trying to do here is build a app that people will use and be happy with.

Just curious, have you taken a look at https://github.com/frappe/frappe

AFAIK Frappe is the framework on which the CRM is build. The actual product is ERPNEXT (https://erpnext.com/)

How does it compare to Monica[1]?

[1]: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14497295

Hey, thank you for checking out Micro CRM.

At first glance Monica is a great open source CRM with a lot of good features. The main difference with Micro CRM is that I am trying to implement integrations such as email and calendar and build an API for third party integration without users having to deploy their own CRMs

The other difference is that being a closed source product, paying customers will have a person to talk to directly in case of a problem.

Lastly I am proud of my product and will also say it is better haha!

> The other difference is that being a closed source product, paying customers will have a person to talk to directly in case of a problem.

To be clear, "closed source" is unrelated to "has a support plan". You can buy support for FOSS projects, and good luck getting Google on the phone even if you pay them.

I’m Monica’s founder and I will reply if people have a problem ;-)

What is a CRM, and what problems does this solve instead of being simple/cheap? (not all of us work in the same industries with different acronyms)

'CRM' stands for Customer Relationship Management, and in a sentence is usually short for 'a CRM app'. CRMs are what folks use to keep track of their relationship with a given client. E.g. when you call your bank, the person at the other end knows your info, what happened last call, etc. That's because of the CRM.

Lots of solo-entrepreneurs struggle with CRMs, because the existing solutions are geared for large corporations or specialty verticals (e.g. healthcare, banking). Formerly, singletons used solutions like Access and FileMaker, but these are obviously deprecated in 2019 for all the usual reasons, some of which are good.

OP has created a general-purpose CRM fit for solopreneurs. I'd throw down right away for this if I wasn't worried about what happens to my data if this offering disappears, which is the Usual Problem with SaaS and one not really addressed by this product (nor is it reasonable to expect it to be.)

Thank you for your proper explanation of a CRM. I understand about your concern with your data but I can assure you, I am building this SaaS product for people like you and it is here to stay.

I am also planning on building an exporting feature , not because this product will disappear one day (which will not happen) but because I want you (the user) to be able to access your data whenever you need.

I am more than happy to hear any concerns you might have

If your board of directors wanted you to sell the company to another company to trigger a liquidity event, there is a very real possibility that the product would be shut down after the merger completes. This is a common SaaS M&A strategy we see play out often, and it is not necessarily the CEO's or founders' choice or desire.

There may be cultural differences at play here, but you may wish to tone it down on the absolutism. There's an expression I hear/use frequently.

The idea is under promise and over deliver.

This is a much easier/healthier way to set yourself up and create a positive image for you and your business.

Framing it differently, your company absolutely might fail, BUT if it did, your users data would be safe. This shows a lot of foresight and should alleviate most of the concerns prospective customers may have.

It is better because you're not providing absolute guarantees for scenarios that are outside your locus of control. At some point you will likely have a lawyer who you should run marketing material by before you release it.

Hey! Thanks for checking my app out. All of things you listed above happens a lot you see SaaS companies being sold out all the time I am aware of that.

Micro CRM is my very first bootstrapped product and I understand your concerns. My goal with this project and everything else I have in mind is not to sellout eventually but to create solutions for people that need them and make a living that way.

At the end of day creating a SaaS, or even you, the user deciding to use my app is a gamble. if you believe this product is the right fit for you I would be delighted to have you as a customer. If not I will gladly take any feedback you will have

Who takes over if you unexpectedly die or fall into a coma? That’s the hardest question I can give you, I don’t like thinking about it either .. but before I trust a huge business decision with a new SaaS these need to be asked. Do you have a team, a cofounder?

Valid concern. Who wants to use a product and see it be discontinued. As of right Micro CRM is a bootstrapped product and I do not have a co-founder. However as a Solo entrepreneur I am dedicated fill gaps in markets like this one.

The ideal future for me would be having a small team to work on these projects with me but as of right now it is a one man show.

I'm pretty happy with https://www.lessannoyingcrm.com/ and have been a customer for several years—they seem to be making a Pinboard-esque "be small and don't die" play, and functionality and support have both been great for $10/month.

I'm not affiliated aside from being a happy customer. And there's plenty of room for more CRMs so I wish OP the best of luck with Micro!

Hi Thank you for checking us out!

I really admire your efforts and optimism around the product. I started something similar 2y ago - not general like yours but a vertical CRM for a specific segment. My value proposition was to create something really simple, clean and start adding relevant features by compiling from my user’s feedback. I end up building a lot of more features than I expected (pipelines, tasks, workflow, email integrations, custom fields, filters, permissions, api, webhooks, reports etc). No matter how your product is, once you position your company as a CRM, the users will always compare you with others 9000 existing similar softwares. If you are planning to integrate google mail and/or calendar, be prepared to spend 15k to 90k for the third party company security assessment. I wish you very luck and I hope you can create something meaningful in this space.

I was getting started on a calendar integration product targeted towards businesses and I just looked up the security assessment rules after reading your comment. Having to fork up tens of thousands just to allow the product to be usable completely kills the possibility.

That's really disappointing. I suppose it's better to find out now rather than later.

Thank you you for your advice. I will keep that in mind.

I'm not even going to look at something on a .cc domain name. Get a .com or anything but ,cc. The .cc is notorious for spam.

Does an obscure TLD really stop you from checking out a site? This is a bit worrying, as it's increasingly expensive to get a ".com" that matches your product...

The domain should match your organization (or name), not your product. Honda doesn't have civic.com or accord.com, and should vectra.com point to the Hewlett-Packard PC or the Winnebago RV? (It's neither.)

As for being able to get a domain name for a company, I just tried checking "${surname}${activity}.com", and almost all of the combinations with my name (a top-25 surname in America) and common activities were available. In the rare cases where it was already taken, adding a "co" or "company" suffix was sufficient to get an unclaimed domain. So I don't even have to be very creative to come up with a perfectly good domain name.

In this case, there's already lots of other things on the web called "Micro CRM" or "MicroCRM", so if you pick that name, you're already screwing yourself on google-juice. The .cc domain name looks sketchy, but that's probably the least of your problems. It's a symptom of two other problems: you're using the product name as the domain name, and you didn't pick a unique product name. Fix either of those, and getting a .com is no problem.

Exposing two brands to your user (the company and the product) seems like a bad first impression to me. And putting your surname and/or field of your product in a domain almost always looks unprofessional and tacky, especially if the domain is unnecessarily long because of that.

I've seen plenty of companies use .cc as their main TLD. I don't know what spam you're talking about that's especially bad on cc. If anything it just looks like a shorter .com to me.

It's not "obscure" TLDs in general you need to avoid (although, .com really isn't that hard. go with getname.com or nameapp.com or something if name.com is taken for you) it's cc. There used to be a company that offered free subdomains on .co.cc and they were heavily used for spam. The vast majority of .cc sites you encountered were spam. It was a while a go but it made a noticeable ".cc = spam" impression in a lot of peoples minds.

It looks like shit/suspect and inspires the same confidence a .tk domain does. Do you remember those free-awesome-sites.tk urls from the early 2000s?

Agreed. It's some weird gatekeeping to care about the TLD.

There is nothing special about com that solves spam.

Google has mass purged .CC from the search engine in the past. In handling a small biz mail server, I auto blocked everything .CC. It's just a bad neighborhood from my experience. YMMV.

I don't mean to be a dick but that's exactly the kind of discrimination that drives the centralization of email. Please reevaluate this policy.

It is a bad trust signal to have a .cc domain. A lot of spam originates from obscure TLDs, which can spark privacy and trust concerns. Especially for a product that aims to store emails and phone numbers.

Holy smokes, I've never heard of this reputation with a .CC domain name! I use a {my-surname}.CC domain name for my personal mail (handled via G Suite, but still), and haven't noticed that i've been blocked or anything like that. I've heard of this with other TLDs like .BIZ and .INFO, but this is news to me about .CC.

And, for anyone else here who is outright blocking a .CC domain, please know that there are legitimate people like me who are not using it for any nasty spam, and only using it for a personal, family domain name - because the .COM, .NET, and .ORG were all taken at the time - and didn't really feel like getting something silly like {get-surname}.COM or {getapp-surname}.COM or {the-surname}.COM or {some-other-silly-modifier-surname}.COM, etc.

Might there be a future version which can be embedded in a larger web site or app? In other words, being able to drop in contact management features within a mobile app or React/Vue site?

I am planning on building an API to make integrations with other systems easier. That feature however would be available in the Enterprise Plan ($100/month, unlimited users) which I plan to introduce once the API for third party integration is implemented.

A mobile app is also on the works

"$100/month, unlimited users"

Just a not that, to me at least, that kind of pricing seems a bit unrealistic - a lot of CRM products charge that per user per month and do very well.

NB I'm not implying that you can't serve that demand - just that to anyone familiar with existing CRM products that seems bizarrely inexpensive.

I am trying to build a different kind of CRM. Something easy to use and affordable.

Charles, I really appreciate your effort here. But, boy! you choose the wrong name for the CRM. Search engine will be filled with Microsoft Dynamics results.

Haha ! Picking a name for a SaaS as I learned is not easy but I love the name and even tho it might be a challenge I think we will deal with it ;)

What if a user was planning on importing contacts and using tags so they sign up for the premium account. Then they decide to drop down to the free tier. Are the tags still there that they can see but just unable to add more tags? Do the tags disappear? Or once you have a paid account you can't just drop back down to free?

I always wonder how other app developers handle this kind of thing.

Hey! Right now if a user wants to switch back to free plan, the tags are still there. They just can't access them. Same thing for the import feature. The contacts stay but they are unable to import more contacts.

Good for you @charly1811 - keep going!

I suggest adding a silent layer of data aggregation like Clearbit, it will feel like magic to people by removing the pain of manual data entry.

* used to work @clearbit

Thanks for the idea !

I like that this is actually for “customer relationships” and not sales-funnel software, where once a sale is made, the system is no longer updated.

Thank you. MICRO CRM is a relationship management app. The only thing from a funnel software that I plan on Implementing is a pipeline which I believe can be useful.

Any suggestions is welcome !! I am trying to build a CRM for small businesses and freelancers so I want to know what you guys need !

I’m a veterinarian. I’ve been looking for a product that I can auto forward our emails to and log calls to without any friction. I want to be able to make notes and assign tasks. It would be nice if it would integrate with my practice management software.

Hi! Thank you for checking out Micro CRM. An email integration is on the pipeline of features to implement. What software do you use at your practice?

Go ahead and e-mail me and we can chat about it. I've got some ideas for you.

You should submit it to SaaSHub https://www.saashub.com and ProductHunt to improve your exposure.

Hi! ProductHunt Launch is next week actually!

Follow us on Twitter to be notified when we launch !


What’s your plan on promoting it? I feel like this space is overheated and it’s impossible to stand out

You are right, the CRM space is really crowded. I am not trying to build the next Salesforce or next giant in the CRM space. I believe the reason why small businesses and freelancers struggle so much is because most CRMs out there do not ask them WHAT THEY NEED. My plan for Micro CRM is to build a simple product that will grow with my customers overtime.

Right now my main strategy is to manually promote to places like HN, IndieHackers, ProductHunt (Official ProductHunt launch is Monday Nov 4) and listen to what you guys have to say and what you guys need

> I believe the reason why small businesses and freelancers struggle so much is because most CRMs out there do not ask them WHAT THEY NEED.

I work for a smallish CRM company targeting the SMB space. Not to be defensive, but making a general purpose CRM is hard. It's not that we're not asking, but there are as many different answers as there are customers out there. Some want contact management, some want task management, some want pipeline management, some want productivity and collaboration tools, all ending up shopping in the same bucket of "CRM". The list of potential features to add is endless, as is the scope creep and complexity creep of your software as your feature interactions multiply.

Though I suppose, the silver lining for you is that if you are operating as a bootstrapped business rather than growing under duress from investors, you can choose your battles (and customers) more judiciously. Best of luck out there.

Thank you! See you on the CRM battlefield ;)

Great work. At first glance, I appreciate the clean design and simple features.

I've used Hubspot free plan 3 years and it works great. Not complicated and has all the features I expect a CRM to have.

Tip: use ”real” fake data instead of lorem ipsum in the examples.

Thank you for your feedback.

Why not just use the free hubspot plan, and you get pipelines with that as well as email integration etc.

Hey! Micro CRM is not trying to compete with CRMs like HubSpot. Such CRM seem to be target for marketing team. Micro CRM is a general purpose contact management with a fixed set of features .

The best, free, and totally underappreciated CRM is Bitrix24.com IMHO. There's just nothing else free on the market that combines client and project management like Bitrix24. Check out https://bitrix24.com or https://bitrix24.eu

Do you work for Bitrix? Because this reads like an ad.

Yes, I did help Bitrix24 launch back in 2012. Didn't mean the comment to come across as an ad. I am 100% sincere in my believe that as a CRM and PM Bitrix24 got many things very right. Plus, free is free.

Can you export data with either plan?

I did not implement export yet but I will probably have it in the premium plan

It is in the pipeline of immediate features

Good job, I'm curious why Vuejs ?

Vue.js is my go to for frontend development. It is easier than react in my opinion and allows me to architecture my app however I want

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