Stories in Digital Business: Follow the decisions that make the metrics better

Pivotdesk

By Kelly Taylor, VP of Product and Co-founder at PivotDesk

Here’s the thing about startups: You have a great idea, you employ some smart people, slap up a website, and the next thing you know, you are running a business with 20 employees in 29 markets.

There’s never enough time or resources to do all of the things you should do to help grow your business because you’re too busy actually making the idea work. With so much going on, it’s easy to let measuring metrics fall to the wayside. It’s a ton of work and your whole team has to be on board, but neglecting this can also result in one of your biggest missed opportunities.

One of the best things about being a lean, mean startup is that you can make a game-changing decision without going through the bureaucracy and red tape that impedes the behemoths. But what information are you using to make those decisions?

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Stories in Digital Business: The Customer is Still Correct

Shado Sports-20140905095337

So you’re building a digital product! Be it a financial SaaS platform, a blog, or a twitter account, there’s one simple lesson that can help guide you during any part of the process and help attract and retain users, and help create a corporate culture that energizes and excites developers.

Here it is: Open a dialogue with potential customers. No matter what stage your business or product is in, it is always vital to talk to the folks who will be (or currently are) using the product. You can do this via Twitter, an e-mail form on your site, LinkedIn, Facebook, forums, Reddit, Twitch, or even in-person. You don’t have to do them all at once, or respond to every message. But reaching out and asking can bring in ideas, solutions, and re-shape your thinking.

An example I’ll use is a personal one. I founded Shado Sports Ventures back in July with the intent of creating a fantasy sports platform that integrated finances. I posted on the /r/fantasybaseball (among others) Reddit asking for some feedback and to see if there was interest. Early on, we had a basic website that had a form asking users to “Convince Us” that they’d be great for our beta test. What we got on Day 3 changed our entire approach:

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