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  • Writer's pictureJordan Silverman

Starfish Beta - Customers, Process, and Insights

Updated: Jan 17

Our goal at Starfish is to help small businesses understand, benchmark, and lower their costs. Before we start our full go to market (GTM) motion we want to make sure we are actually providing value for our customers. No point to sign up a bunch of customers to a tool that customers do not benefit from. I thought it would be insightful to break down a bit of our journey on how we have done this to date. It is not perfect but hopefully helpful to others.

Summer 2023 - Customer Interviews

In Summer 2023 we started doing customer interviews. Our idea was pretty simple - small businesses struggle to make a profit because of slim margins. Software can help increase profit margins by decreasing costs. That was it - super simple hypothesis with no real clear solution in mind. The customer interviews helped shape the solution into what Starfish is today.

I really forced myself to stay rooted to our mission but open to solutions and ways to achieve it.

We had multiple conversations with about 25 small business owners and operators. Throughout this process we asked a series of questions and started building no code wireframes. The basics of our questions came from a great book I was recommended called The Mom Test. The wireframes were all made on a free tool called Visily.

After about 1.5 months of this we had 2 customers say they would pay for the wireframe we showed them - that was enough and we were off to the races.

October + November 2023 - MVP Build

End of November 2023 - MVP Launch

We built a lightweight MVP in two months. We slowly onboarded customers to the MVP. 2 customers in November, 6 more in December. We did not want to take 6 months to build a product. We wanted to build a first version of the product that people could see some value from, then work with our beta customers to constantly improve. In total it took us about 2 months to build the initial MVP. From the get go we have been using Jira for all product feedback.

Who are our Beta Customers?

To date we have been very lucky to leverage our existing network for our MVP customers.

As of this writing we have 8 beta customers all of whom are paying Starfish to use the software. Having people pay is important to us, not for the money but for the commitment. We told our early customers they can pay whatever they are comfortable with and we will lock them into that fee forever. In return we want their feedback and guidance on how to build the best software.

From a numbers standpoint we have connected with around 50 people in our network about Starfish, which has led to the 8 beta customers + a bunch of open opportunities.

What is the Beta feedback process?

Success with Starfish is simple - you decrease your costs and increase your profit margins. So our feedback process is focused entirely around this metric. As the product grows we will have other KPIs around time saving, cost understanding, budgeting, etc. but we are keeping it extremely straightforward today. No vanity metrics.


We installed FullStory before our first customer went live. It allows us to watch every single user session on replay. This is an instrumental tool to help us understand how our customers actually use Starfish. Oh and it is completely free up to the first 1,000 monthly sessions.

Weekly or Bi-Weekly Feedback Sessions

All of our beta customers bought into the vision we have here at Starfish. Is the product today perfect? No. Does it provide value today? Absolutely!

Right now our 10x feature is our automated P&L analysis and daily email tasks. Instead of spending a few days per month analyzing your P&L manually in excel we can do that for you on a daily basis.

So we focus our feedback sessions on this. Every customer talks to us once a week or every other week giving us feedback. This takes the form of both quantitative and qualitative feedback.

I have put below the feedback session outline we use - note this improves weekly so this is updated as of this writing.

  • How are things going with Starfish?

  • How are you using Starfish today?

  • Bring up anything I saw in Fullstory

  • If they are not using regularly just ask - I noticed you did not use the tool so much this week. What would make you login and use the tool more often?

  • How do they like the email alerts? What can we do improve these?

  • How have tasks been?

  • Did they save $/lower costs using Starfish this week?

  • If yes - learn more and dig in

  • If not - what can we do to help improve? What prevented them from doing so this week?

  • Any bugs/issues?

  • Any feature requests?

Our beta customers have been and will continue to be instrumental in helping us build the best company. I cannot thank each and every one of them enough for their time and feedback!

Here are some of the tools that are extremely helpful for this process:

  • Salesforce - $35 per month

  • Segment - Free - allows us to install lots of tools like FullStory on just one install

  • TextBlaze - Free

  • Stripe - % of all sales

  • ChatGPT - $20 per month

  • Perplexity - Free and my new favorite tool - 10x easier than Google Search

  • UpdateAI - Free

  • QuickBooks Online - $30 per month

  • YesWare - $19 per month for email tracking and templates

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