Here are some things I’m doing to grow more slowly, but into a stronger and more resilient business. Most of these are just common sense, customer-friendly policies that in turn forces me to build a product that delivers consistent, long-term value. Not rocket science.
Pricing my product at a level where it must be delivering value. The average price my customers pay is $60 per month. At this level the tool must be delivering value otherwise people churn fast. This forces me to build the right features for the right kind of long term customers. I've said this multiple times before but I think the tendency for engineers to charge "$9 a month" kills indie businesses before they even get started. I think one of the reasons we shy away from charging more is because we are uncomfortable with confronting the reality that our product may not be delivering enough value. I say address this issue head on and price at a level where you must demonstrate value. It's a form of forced evolution.
Emails on every payment. Some businesses disable their payment notifications as they don’t want to “remind” customers that they are paying for something they aren’t using. Not me. If my customers aren’t using my product then my business is broken, I’d rather they cancel so I can learn why.
Four failed charges auto cancels and shuts down the account. Ongoing delinquent churn messes up my MRR numbers and makes it hard to understand what’s happening in my business. I give customers a fair warning, 4 notifications, then I get the account off my books if there’s no response. There is a fraction of my MRR numbers on IH that I actually never see due to delinquent churn, and I'd guess it's the same story for a lot of people here. This is dangerous as it can lull you into a false sense of security, thinking you've got a $10k MRR business... when actually you've only got a $5k MRR business!
Focus on Monthly plans. I’m moving to monthly only. Everyone tells you to offer yearly-discounted plans but the few yearly plans I’ve sold have become inactive users. It’s nice to have the money but I can’t learn anything from customers who don’t use the app and it also just feels weird. Anyone with similar experience?
Cancel at any time, in one click. There’s no mandatory exit survey, there’s no number to call, there’s no delay - you just hit a big red button and I stop billing you.
I’m probably forgetting a few things but all of this falls under the umbrella philosophy of being as customer-friendly as possible. Treat people how you want to be treated. It will mean that I grow slower, but I’m investing in the long term and will hopefully have a much more resilient business because of it.