KickoffLabs Blog:

Find out what people really think by charging money ASAP

By Josh Ledgard

Sep 27th, 2011

Even though it means you may not need KickoffLabs as long I’m going to tell you that the faster you start charging money the better. KickoffLabs was released as a minimum viable product and we started charging money without a lengthy beta period.  Here was roughly what we did:

  1. Tested the message first with a landing page. (Of course we used our own platform when it was getting closer. ) The product was only good enough for us to use since there wasn’t even a dashboard yet.
  2. Had a SMALL & QUICK private beta. To validate that customers could use it and that we were solving a mall part of their problem. < 20 people. This was less than two weeks.
  3. Launched (for pay) as soon as we felt the MVP was MVQuality.  Although the scenarios we covered were slim we felt the quality of the experience was high.
  4. Raised prices when we added more value to the product.

Why would we do this instead of a large, lengthy, private beta?

You can have a lot of traction with FREE, but you’ll never really get quality feedback until someone pays you something and THEN tells you what they think.

The exchange of money changes attitudes and user behavior. When someone doesn’t pay anything for your service they can be very forgiving… but as soon as they pay a nickel (or start seeing ads)… they feel entitled to let you know what they really think… and YOU WANT TO KNOW what they really think because it’s the only way you’ll get better. 

The other reason is to validate the market sooner. A million beta testers that aren’t paying anything doesn’t tell you whether or not there is actually a market for what you are selling.  If 100 paying customers sign up… you are on your way towards really validating a market.

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