Starting a business—even with a truly great product idea—comes with many risks. Forbes reports that 90% of startups fail, and many of those fail within their first year.
While many unexpected and external factors contribute to a startup’s success or failure, founders have control over how much they listen to user feedback at each stage of their business. Validating a product idea early and testing it with your market is one of the most effective ways to increase your chances of success.
Many founders only start testing their product after it’s already built and ready to launch, which in many cases, is already too late. If the team has spent months designing and developing a product, only to find out right before launching that it has major usability issues, feature bloat, or poor product-market fit, it’s game over for the company.
Keep reading to learn which types of research founders and product teams should be conducting at each startup funding stage, including what to test and what you can expect to learn.
After your product is launched and you’ve found product-market fit, you can shift your research goals to focus on building a winning product roadmap. Test with your target market to generate, evaluate, and prioritize new feature ideas. You may conduct as many prototype tests for new features as you did with a new product in earlier stages.
Your product may go through some growing pains at this stage as your early customers start to hit issues and limits with what they can do with the product. Continue testing with your existing customer base to hear what they wish were different now that they’ve been using the product for a while. Where do they revert to previous solutions because your product isn’t robust enough yet? What pain points do power users encounter?
At this stage, you’re likely getting a lot of feedback from many channels: sales calls, customer support inquiries, and online reviews. User testing allows you to dig deep into those suggestions and pain points, uncovering potential solutions and areas for growth.
As you spread to a wider customer base, test your marketing campaign ideas to take the guesswork and risk out of bigger, more expensive campaigns.
Tips for testing in Series A
- Start sharing user insights within the company as your team grows.
- Consider linking to relevant video clips and highlight reels in your product roadmap for quick access.
- Combine qualitative insights with quantitative methods like A/B tests and surveys to better understand what users are doing and thinking.
User insight is the key to a startup’s success
While not every startup will succeed, listening to user feedback can help you stack the deck in your own favor. As your startup grows into a larger company, don’t forget to reflect on how user feedback has shaped the product journey and the success of your company.
Continue testing your product and gauging market sentiment as you prepare for your company’s next stages, whether it’s IPO, an acquisition, or simply growth and profitability.