How to acquire customers in the early days

This week, we talk about one of the most fundamental issues that every startup faces: how to acquire customers in the early days. Rick has validated his idea for Legup Health and now it’s time to go out and bootstrap his way to profitability

Acquiring customers will be different for every business, but there are a few themes we discussed that should apply to almost any business:
  • There are two goals when acquiring early customers: 1) Growing your business, and 2) Learning what works and what doesn't. Some growth channels might work for one or the other, but the best approach is to do both at the same time.
  • Identify what type of person you want to sell to. You can use intuition for this, but if you already have a few customers, it's helpful to start by looking at what they have in common and trying to find more people like that.
  • Conversations are key to learning. Even if you don't plan on selling your product one-on-one forever, you need to talk to customers (in person, over the phone, over email, whatever) so you can learn from them.
  • If you don't already have access to the right people to have conversations, you can try advertising or cold outreach. Every business will be different, but the key is to identify the right people and go where they are.
  • It's very difficult to change someone's behavior, so try to find people who are already doing whatever your product is meant for.

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© Rick Lindquist and Tyler King