We launched our MVP this year, gotten around 200 users in 4 months. We average around 10 sign ups a week without any paid marketing. Our struggle right now is getting more users in and turning them into paid, before we our runway is up, which is really soon. We are in a really competitive industry, with lots of noise so getting the message out has been a challenge.
That's a great question and there is a lot of startups asking it. Including me. I've been asked it a few times as well. I tried to tell the people what to do at first, but soon realized that they are the ones who know their product and industry better than anyone else, so I could only ask the right question to help them decide. So here you go.
1. Have you got any plan that you can compare those metrics to, to understand whether the growth is faster or slower than you planned?
2. If you preserve, have you prepared some tests that help you validate your assumptions? For example, we wanted to give it a last try so we launched a PPC campaign. That helped us speed up the decision, because more clicks on our website helped us see the trend. (also, don't forget to set some expectations first)
3. Have you validated your pivot options before you really do the pivot? You can do the validation through customer interviews or landing page, pretty quickly.
I think that you need to answer those questions first before going into more detail. Do a few build-measure-learn loops and you will get much more insights to help you decide whether to pivot or to preserve. This is one of the most difficult decisions that you are going through. Fingers crossed.
Hi! Great question, sorry you've found yourself in this situation.
I'm a growth hacker, marketer and seria entrepreneur and I gotta tell you, this is very common. So common that the default answer is persevere.
The phase where you find yourself right now should actually be expected.
You are getting some traction, so assuming is not luck (you didn't seem to mention your market or service) it appears to me that you need to focus on just that- conversion rate. If you were tonpivot you would automatically find yourself in this exact situation with the current service; pivoting doesn't mean instant growth it just means you have found out a possible better adoption due to targeted servicing or aready existing demand from that other niche, which has to do with easier adoption :P
I hope this brings clarity to your thoughts, often times we already know what to do but ur Brian tricks us into wanting to look for validation of a seemingly easier route.
Pivot if you have persevered enough and failed to find the answer. Persevere if you feel there's still room for some learning. That might sound confusing and similar as a Chicken-Egg problem.
What you need is a shift in approach, thinking, and planning. Paid marketing isn't as costly as a failed venture. You need to narrow down your focus to one or two online mediums to market your product. Secondly, if I may ask, how much time per day does your team invests on any sort of marketing activity? I am talking about free marketing.
What different marketing initiatives you have taken till date, individually or collectively?
There could be various such questions to ponder over, the answer to which could be found only after knowing your past efforts.
The only reason you would pivot is if you have made the determination that the current course will not provide you with the best possible return.
Until you have spent some money and time on marketing I don't know how you can make the determination.
If you are getting revenue without doing any marketing it seems like there is good potential there.
I guess the bottom line is: don't ditch the current plan if you have not given it a chance to succeed.
I would try and find some additional financing so that you can make this determination.
If you have experienced growth, you feel like you're solving a real problem, and your main challenge is a marketing funnel...
You're not alone =) Awareness is a huge problem for just about every startup. Unfortunately, the only answer the Lean Startup movement has to offer is kind of, "Build it, and they will come" which doesn't work for most companies. Hence the emergence of "growth hacking."
So, before pivoting, definitely test a few marketing strategies and try and get a general understanding of your cost-per-user. It takes time to optimize that number, but I would definitely try understanding the cost and difficulty/ease of acquiring users before ditching a potentially successful idea!