I understand Sean Ellis's view on product-market fit, etc. But while our product is ready (AKA "good enough") to launch and (I believe) start to get some paying customers, part of me wants to hold it back for another 1-2 months to "polish it up", add a few more things, etc. While they will definitely help, I'm not sure we absolutely need them.
We've spent a year building our product and most of the functionality is there. It works and is stable, but we also have 3 big competitors in our space with lots of funding, good (but complicated) products, etc.
So my question is really, should we stay in a private beta for 1-2 more months (with no paying customers, just a few dozen users) or should we launch sooner, even though I personally feel a bit more time on the product is needed?
I believe in MVP (Maximum Validated Product). The more you get customer/user validation, the more robust and complete the product becomes. It's smart to begin testing immediately to collect data that can help road mapping for the next product build improvements. Launch early with a few lighthouse customers to get the following (but not exhaustive) information:
• Validate improvement over previous product iterations
• Validate visual fit as a lightweight QA process
• Supplement quantitative A/B testing to investigate user preference from a qualitative perspective
• Identify missed usability issues or awkward product flows
• Show use cases of a product in multiple environments (Desktop vs. Mobile)
• Collect user feedback and hear their opinions, suggestions, and desired features lists
You are too late. You should have validated the buyability of your idea before you went further building it.
Having built and stabilized it, you should have already launched. Everyday, as you hesitate, you are loosing
In any endeavor its about the momentum. If your competitor is on to it and is seeing momentum. You are staring at extinction.
Get it Launched. Now.
Worked in and around SaaS businesses for the last 10 years.
This is a careful dance. Obviously you want the product of high enough quality that it has utility for your users, but you could play that game in perpetuity. If you have customers using the product and getting value from it, release it and start charging. Paying customers often behave different than free users and will give you the real feedback you need. Maybe there are features your paying customers need that your free customers haven't surfaced.
It depends on how many prospective customers you have.
Do you only have 3 high profile customers that you think you can sell to, or are there 100s.
If there are 100s, simply write a few of them and ask them if they want to try out your product for free, since you identified them as "high profile" clients. (don't add the "" of course;))
If there are only 3, polish for another 1-2 months.