So we are 2 co-founders having a full time job and from the last 14 months are working on a social network. I wanted to share the name of our start up here, but somehow I think that would be cheap marketing! Anyway, here is what I want to consult:
We are on this part time, and our product is solving a need of the public. What are the key components we need to remind ourselves of? In other words, what are we missing in our list of to-do's:
Marketing, SEO, Design Improvement, Customer Satisfaction Surveys, Customer reviews - these are things we are working on continously. We are solving a need yet we are not gaining users and having traction. What else are we missing. And to be honest, no one is giving us an honest opinion of our website. I expected friends to do that but alas! no one gives a heck to what I am working on.
We are solving a need yet we are not gaining users and having traction. What else are we missing.Talking (face to face) with your users?
I see a lot of new companies with this problem and it always comes down to a combination of these two issues:
The solution to both these issues is to stop coding, stop selling, and go talk to some real users.
Get them to tell you stories about the space where the problem exists. DO NOT SELL YOUR PRODUCT. Listen instead. You'll almost certainly discover angles that you have been missing.
On the product side start getting people in your target market in for usability tests. If you've not done these before Steve Krug's book "Rocket Surgery Made Easy" is a great introduction. If you've not been doing usability tests before I can guarantee that you'll be amazed at some of the problems you'll discover.
The most important thing here is to NOT BE SELLING (apologies for shouting). "Always be closing" is a great tag line for the sales team - but for founders you always need to be listening. You've obviously not got product market fit yet so the customers have stuff they can tell you if you let 'em.
It seem your list is purely operational and missing FUND RAISING! And that's no small task: you need to prepare a budget, a business plan, a pitch and then start networking. Even if you think you don't need the capital now because you seem to be just at the launch phase, you sure will at some point when scaling will become the goal!
The question may be are you marketing correctly? Are you only going for the particular niche that you expect to sign up? What is the ROI of your marketing looking like when comparing iwth signups? Are you looking at visitor vs. signup statistics?
Have you thought of using a little of that money for a market survey? What's your budget look like? Are you able to slide a little of that marketing money off in the interest of hiring an outside consultant that specializes in your particular niche and marketing to that? You state you haven't gotten any honest opinions really. I honestly think that having an objective third party provide this would be a good start.
Another question...how often are the signed up users actually using your service?