“It started out as a feeling, Which then grew into a hope, Which then turned into a quiet thought, Which then turned into a quiet word, And then that word grew louder and louder, ‘Til it was a battle cry” – The Call, Regina Spektor
Often it feels looks ideas build momentum just like the lyrics from Regina Spektor’s, The Call. Looking at some startups it often looks like this is the momentum you generate just from having a good idea… heck it worked for a baseball pitch in rural Iowa! So surely if you have a great idea or a great product, it just needs to be there and everyone will find it, use it and love it?
Well, you’d be wrong! Often these ‘overnight successes were years in the making!!!!
A lot of times when we meet founders and startups at tsf.tech, we get the privilege of seeing some amazing ideas and some inspiring people. When you combine that passion with our expertise in building MVPs and all-round startup support, great products get made and great businesses get built.
Getting your product built might seem like the biggest hurdle, but in reality, that is just the first barrier. One of the biggest challenges you’ll face is actually getting your first paying customer on board. In order to get a customer to pay, you need more than just a product. To shed some light on this here are my three pieces of advice for getting your first customers.
Get out of the building
Customers might find you if you’re lucky. If you know who your prospective customers are you can definitely find them.
This is probably the most critical piece of advice I can give. Being proactive is crucial. With your decision making power as a founder and your passion to solve the problem your target users have, can often push the needle in your favour. These days getting out of the building might be fraught with covid restrictions and zoom meetings, but it is the approach of actively finding them rather than waiting which is key.
Don’t wait until it’s ‘ready’
Part of the tsf.tech process is working in phases with dedicated time between each, for our founders to go and test their product with real people. Now it may seem like a risk to show your potential clients something that is unfinished or lacking that polish, or just isn’t working fully yet, but there is a huge potential upside.
By showing your potential customers the journey of your product and offering them the chance to input, you can generate a significant amount of both critical feedback and excitement about both your product as it fits more to their needs and also that you as a company are willing to listen and adapt. This can really drive home that you are fixing their issue and turn them into paying customers that are advocates for your solution. Who knows they may even pay upfront and help the next stage of your build
Balance the chicken and egg
If you are a marketplace you have two types of customers: the supply and the demand. It is often like the chicken and egg questions of if I have X and not Y then X gets no benefit and vice versa.
Usually, you have one side that it makes more sense to get more of initially, like Just Eat (other food delivery services are applicable) needing restaurants for people to order from. They might not mind being on the service if they get a few extra orders while you get customers onboard. But they probably won’t wait forever, especially once they start paying to be there.
The best approach from our experience, entice your ‘supply side’ by engaging early and often, and then make sure you can get the ‘demand side’, whether through marketing or sales. After that, it is a case of getting equilibrium to keep both sides of the equation happy, and ensuring both are getting the benefits you hoped.
Each one of these topics could be a blog in its own right with the reasoning as to why, the tactics and the advantages you can gain. But, for now, I hope these three small insights have helped you and given you that push that just by existing your users may not find you and you are better going and finding them.