Tips on Getting your First 10 Paying Customers
Three tips for discovering and obtaining your first 10 paying customers.
Three suggestions to build your base
So you have this amazing idea, you feel you have done customer discovery to prove authentic demand and identified an ideal target customer and must-have problem. You have a belief on where to start in the market. How do you get your first paying customers to start bringing in revenue and growing the business?
Leveraging customer discovery relationships for friendly customers
If you have done customer discovery right, you should have spoken to many potential customers and industry experts. Through that process you have built relationships that can easily translate into development partners and your first customers. These are the ones who feel the pain, are leaning in to the conversation and truly want your product to solve their problem. Do what you can to get these early adopters using your product and paying something (price does not necessarily matter but greater than zero). These early customers will provide amazing product feedback and referrals if they are bought into the problem you are solving.
Testing channels for unaffiliated customers
If you have narrowed in on your target customer, there are many potential ways to reach them. That could range from self-service on your website, online outreach (paid or unpaid), influencers, offline events, and many more. Focus on where your potential customers hang out and gather information. Test small doses of channels you think are effective and take notice of which channels provide the most value as these new customers will be unaffiliated vs. more friendly customers. You may also need to consider varying your message to ensure that pitch is resonating with potential customers. Lastly, closely monitor if these channels are bringing in your ideal customers that are great fits for your solution, or instead customers that sign-up but are not the right fit.
As you are signing up customers, remember to continually do hypothesis testing and refine your approach. Am I delivering value? Is my target customer correct? Am I reaching them in the best way? Is the message resonating? Does my pricing work? There are many more questions to be answered but the important thing is continually learning from those first customers so you can refine your go-to-market strategy.
Getting your first ten customers is hard. If your first ten customers all have different use cases or sources of value, you may need to reconsider the approach. But if your first ten customers are all aligned on the same problem, use case, and value you have much more confidence you are onto something. If you can get ten customers, you can go get one hundred customers!