How A Practical Founder Improved Their Growth By Getting Better Feedback From Customers

A really important milestone for a new startup is getting “traction” with your earliest customers.

Traction simply means having enough customers using your enough of your product so you can get meaningful feedback to make better decisions.

Getting enough good feedback for you to figure out what to build next, where to find new customers, how they describe their problems, or how much they want to pay.

Having just 5 or 10 paying customers who communicate what is important to them can help you make 10X better decisions than your best guess.

Investors know this. Experienced entrepreneurs know this. So do product designers.

Sarah Hum quit her job as a product designer at Facebook to build a software product that helps SaaS product managers get more feedback from their customers—and use that feedback better too.

She and her technical cofounder built the first version of Canny while traveling the world together as nomading entrepreneurs.

Within a year, Canny created enough revenue for them to live and travel frugally.

Canny is a customer feedback management software for product managers at SaaS companies to collect useful product feedback inside their products, then prioritize requests, and communicate with customers about their requested features.

Sarah and her growing team improved their product quickly using Canny to engage with customers and make decisions about the next product feature improvements.

As Sarah explained on the Practical Founders Podcast this week:

“Feedback is important to us, but we look at it through the right lens. What are our highest-paying customers saying? What they want might be different from what the customer base as a whole wants.

“Also, for us, team happiness is also important. What do we want to work on? We don’t have investors to please; we want to build something great. We want this feature for ourselves or this would be fun to work on.”

Customer feedback gives you great clues, but it doesn’t deliver simple answers. Or make good decisions for you.

Canny is growing steadily with over $3 million in annual recurring revenue and 13 remote employees.

Sarah and her team continue to experiment with substantial pricing experiments for different customer segments.

Sarah shares the ups and downs and lessons of growing a bootstrapped software company on the Practical Founders Podcast this week.

Check it out at practicalfounders dot com or use the link below in the comments.

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