by creating a community around your product, you already have a pool of potential beta testers to soft launch to! If not, you can reach out to the people you interviewed during customer discovery, and they more likely than not would be willing to try out the beta if they were willing to take a call/fill out survey for you.
The first sets soft launches are very crucial as you will be tapping into the feedback of your earliest adopters—people who were willing to take the time to talk to you or join your community because they believed in you and/or your mission enough to sign up to use a brand new, unproven product purely off of excitement/need! You can apply many of the same principles of Talking to Humans’s interview guide to interviewing your first beta testers to find what they liked, didn’t like, and a fresh user-perspective that you clearly lack as a hyper-biased founder.
to prep the feedback guide and record feedback from your first users!
🧑🏻🔬 Testing for Product-Market Fit
Ah yes, the elusive ✨product-market fit✨ that everyone strives for. Here’s the best short piece on PMF from Lenny Rachitsky that synthesizes information on PMF from prominent founders and investors. You can reference this while testing for PMF. More often than not, you will know when you achieve product-market fit when your product is growing weekly in MRR as it will feel like you are selling your product like hotcakes 🥞. There is an undeniable pull🥊 from the market that will make you potentially feel understaffed at this point!
Also check out Eventbrite CPO’s guide as well
Some additional words of advice
There is a concrete identifiable customer segment or persona in focus
You understand their specific needs and pains
For consumer focused companies, PMF is generally found when you have organic viral growth. That is, people love your product enough that they use it, and then engage their friends to use it, who then engage their friends to use it.
whereas for B2B focused companies, PMF is generally found when you have 7–10 repeatable sales to customers similar to each other.
Andrew Chen of a16z describes metrics of PMF for SaaS companies as 5% free to paid conversion, 3x LTV to CAC ratio, and <2% churn.
🔂 Rinse and Repeat until PMF!
After you product test to your initial batch of beta testers, ITERATE. This will be a constant back and forth now between iterating on user feedback on your MVP and talking to more users. In fact, this process never ends—you will always be talking to users on how to improve your product and you will always iterate on your product based on feedback. Until you feel like your product has reached some or most of the the above PMF indicators in Lenny’s guide, keep perfecting your product and slowly push it out to more people with soft launches while also growing the community and buzz around it.