Why Beta launch is essential for every startup?
A Beta Launch is something that is not completed, in the sense that there will still be bugs to work out. Here’s a full proof experience that will define the importance of BETA LAUNCH.
Last Year we dropped one of our product after conducting its beta launch with the help of over 1000 volunteer beta testers (Although we collected them with great efforts) We would thank to this Beta launch process, as it helped as in changing our decision and this really saved our time, efforts & money. The problem was of “Product-market fit” which was realized after conducting the beta testing phase and with the help of feedback’s we received. BETA TESTING changed it all; the reality about the acceptance of our startup was totally different from what we thought of.
This taught us:
“It is better to fail early and quit early, to accept the change”
We must understand how important it is to launch the beta version of your product and get it tested by the right audience. We cannot afford to ignore the importance of this step, as this gives us the clue about the future growth of our product in the market. It is important to conduct beta in a proper and strategic way as it helps in deriving the major decisions pertaining to a product before it is released to the market.
Beta Launch is further divided as Public & Private, combinations can be made like any one of them can be chosen or both (one by one) can be conducted, it depends on the goals and the future position you want to achieve in the market for that specific product. When you enter into this phase you should be clear about what you want to achieve, for example: Is it to fix bugs? Is it to test some features? Is it to decide the direction of future development? Is it to know the percentage of acceptability of your product? Is it for viral growth and to gain early buyers? Once you are aware about your goals you can easily know when to stop. Many goals can be achieved from beta launch but it varies from product to product or a startup to startup and this reveals the potential risks of a product release.
The benefits of a Beta launch are many, some of them are:
The benefits of a Beta launch are many, some of them are:
Cost effective way to test the product quality: Every penny is precious for a startup, they have to spend money very cautiously considering the limited resources available. Under this scenario Beta launch as (private and public) both is very cheap source for getting your product tested. It is usually for Free! You can easily list your product/startup at those specific startup listing websites like Betapage.co or invite/contact them through social pages. In most of the cases you get your beta testers either free or by spending very less. The benefit you get is that even they belong to your target group.
Test the Acceptance of your product: Let’s discuss this point with a short example:- Two or more founders sitting in a room discussing about the Idea and comes to a point that YES this is the product their target audience is in need and this is going to be a great hit concludes by working on the same. This assumption is not always right. Let me correct myself they are mostly wrong and need drastic modification because what you think badly needed in the market may not be needed at all in the exact form. So beta launch helps you check & test the acceptability of your product by your specific clients directly. If most of the feedbacks are negative then get ready for the modifications but keep one thing in mind your need to satisfy a big percentage of your testers not the 100% audience otherwise you will be never ready with your product..
Prepare your product for commercialization I.e. Final Launch: Beta prepares your product for the Big Day not only in terms of product improvement, also in case of other essential things like for a Saas startup you get idea about server load, downtime, speed of server when n users are online, product uses cost, uses of analytic in terms of your product. It simply gives you the idea about how your product will implicate/react on the population size.
Bugs do not damage your reputation: Beta users forget very easily as they already know that the product they are testing is in beta and it is not bug free. They happily report bugs and expect you to work on them further. This process makes your product bug free and best before final launch.
You can open up slowly: You can control your beta launch as you want; you can even divide it in many as stages as you want. If you have less resources you can open it slowly and can provide access in small groups to the subscribers. You can set goals and act accordingly till they are achieved.
Collect data for early stage investors: Going bare hand with your pitch is not at all impressive in that case beta provides you all essential data which can be included to justify your pitch. It can be easy to convince investors by showing the acceptability of your product and positive feedback’s of the testers.
Start implementing your marketing plans: Referrals are the good medium to be utilizing in beta stage this will help you increase subscriber’s database. However it is not essential to open access for everyone but having a long subscriber list works best, with a good discount launch to your subscriber’s only list.
Determining the cost: Yes you read it right! You can randomly ask your testers how much they are willing to pay for your product by providing some cost range. This will give you more clear idea about what tag you should keep on your product which is neither too high nor too low.
Apart from this there are many other small benefits which you will get from Beta Launch like improving UI/UX features, sometimes testers may inform you about:
Some existing competitors, which you couldn’t have found earlier.
You establish lifetime good connections with your beta testers. (they can be startup founders, VCs and coders)
Some testers may inform you with better technology to be used with low price resources, and
Some good one promotes you on their social network.
Although in my view there can be no thumb rule about the duration, procedure, stages, number of subscriber and sources of subscriber for any startup. It all depends on the startup/product and future goals. In any of the cases having a Beta Launch is essential.
Happy Beta launching!!!