I am a big believer of testing early and testing often. This is applicable to startups in all industries. Whether product, tech, medical, energy, social, or other, it is critical to get in front of the customers or users, and get the feedback needed to iterate, improve, and ultimately add the value people are seeking.
Entrepreneurs are passionate in their endeavors, and it’s normal to focus on a vision and be undeterred, but it’s important to consistently test and retest your vision, and to keep an open mind about the best way to proceed.
When beta testing, it’s inevitable that you will run into problems, and fixing these problems is obviously a big part of it, but really listening to your users is just as critical. The challenge of course, is how to filter the feedback. Typically customers want different things, and if you try to please everybody, you will find yourself going in a hundred different directions. The most important thing is that you find overlapping data-points, where there is a common theme among your user feedback, and that you are able to pin-point what their desires are, and what they want and need. This will help you deliver focused, and scalable value.
Even before your product(s) and/or service(s) are ready for use/sale, you can interview customers or users to establish concrete goals for your next milestone. If you do have a product or service that needs to be tested. Don’t just offer it to everyone. Target specific users that are relevant to your target market, and let them give you the feedback that will help you improve. Look at google glass for instance. They aren’t offering this product on the market publicly yet. They’re first offering it to targeted hackers and tinkerers to help them modify the product.
The key is to focus, and understand specific data you want to capture so you can easily iterate and improve future versions of your sure-to-be success.