Find Your first Customer

How to Find Your first Customer ?

The approach or process adopted for acquiring the first paying customer may vary depending on the nature of the business. The following parameters will influence the approach.

1.    Product or Service

2.    B2B or B2C

3.    Must- have- A product or Me-too product.

Find Your first Customer - Common Factor

 The Common Factor

A single common factor- one should know where the potential customers are congregating so that the message can reach them. This can be through social media, seminar, shopping mall or professional associations.

Find Your first Customer - Avoidable Pitfall

Many startups are tempted to go broad and want to sell to everyone. But there's much truth in the old adage: if you try to sell to everyone, nobody will buy your product.
You can still expand later on, but to get that initial traction, you need to be laser focused on a specific group of people so that you can tailor your messaging, your offering and your value proposition to their wants and needs.-
Steli Efti, Chief Hustler @ ElasticSales.com 

Find Your first Customer- Approaches to get early Customers

1.    Friends and families are great sources to get early customers. The catch is that getting objective feedback could be difficult due to emotional strings. However, they can certainly help in connecting with their friends.

2.    In the web world free use of products for basic version is offered. The premium versions attract monthly subscription. An example in fitness vertical is Endomondo. The free version helps in tracking physical activities like walking, aerobics, sports etc. The premium version adds additional features. This approach is called Freemium Model.

3.    Developing Prototype for demonstration. The benefits should be clearly articulated.

4.    Pay as per use can build confidence especially for services.

5.    Cold Calling based on yellow pages Directory.

6.    Do not plan a grandiose marketing strategy unless one gets first three customer says Ramit Sethi of ITW fame.

Who is your exact client, and where do they go to look for a solution to their problems? Do they read magazines? Go to the grocery store? Ask their priest?

Where are people already looking for solutions to problems, and how can you make a match between them and your service? 

1.    A great way to do that is to find what Song calls "The Innovators," using paid market research panels if you can afford it. "There is always about 2% of the population that are innovators.  Meaning those are the people most willing to adopt new products or the opinion leaders. You need to identify who are your innovators," says Song.

2.    Social media tools like Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube offer a great return on investment for little to no upfront costs, says Shah and York

Find Your first Customer-  A Crucial Tip

The startup team should be absolutely clear what problems they are solving for the customers and this helps in zeroing in on targets and save the precious resources.

Find Your first Customer- Role of Business Network- Example

Business Network Iinternational (BNI) offers a platform to network with business people. They hold a breakfast meeting on a particular day of the week. Presence in the meetings is compulsory to maintain membership They support each other by recommending them to their network. Each chapter admits only one entrepreneur from each vertical.

The members read a report card in every meeting  They specify the number of introductions given to fellow members and also the business they got from recommendations received in the earlier meetings. There is an award for a member generating maximum business for fellow members.

Find Your first Customer- Conclusion

 "The big value of early customers is not the revenue generated -- but the insights they provide," says Shah. 

 Landing your first customer will require a mix of old school face-to-face networking, tapping associates, friends and use of online tools like the social media. 

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