Know thy customer! A 25 year old Sarah, Tim, Charlie, Joe, and Chris at a time.

Yes, the above image is only of white people. But that’s not the point. Those 5 individuals could possibly be my customers. The way they dress, who they hang out with, and even what brand of headphones they buy will be key indicators of who exactly I am going to be selling to.

The problem is, right now, I dont know any of their names. I don’t know where they live, what car they drive, or where they like to eat. This is a problem, because in my plans I am expecting these people to 1) automagically like my product 2) be willing to go out of their way to use it 3) actually find enough value in using it to pay to use it. And I plan for them to do this not just once, but as a lifestyle. That is a very tall order.

My ideation focus for my current company, and the other two that I am required to work on will be in effect an exercise of mining exactly how I can modify my plans to ensure that I am providing something of value to my customers. This will require a thorough vetting of who they are, and how they currently solve the problems that I aim to solve for them faster, better, and cheaper. Ultimately, it is a decision making process where I relinquish ideas of who I want to sell to, and replace them with who will actually buy my product!

Based on all the mentorship feedback that I have received thus far on my project, these customers exists. But just as all songs are not liked by all people, I must understand what I must say, and how I must say it to attract a specific group of customers who will LOVE my product, USE my product, and EVANGELIZE the use of my product.

This is what building a company is all about. Not really all about coming up with a great idea, but taking very simple ideas and fanatically solving the problems of real people. Then, and only then, can I really take a step back and understand who is the next batch of customers whom my company can address.

While simplistic in nature, understanding an addressable market requires answering a few complex questions such as:

  1. Is my product easily understandable? In other words will it take 10 seconds or less for my target customer to want to try me out? If I can’t clinch customers at 10 seconds, I can thoroughly understand what not even a 1 minute VC pitch will matter.
  2. Does the way my customer currently solve their problem troublesome enough for them to switch? This is huge. Most startup ideas are trying to solve a problem that only marginally needs solving.
  3. Is the pain/gain equation strong enough that my targeted customer is willing to pay for my service/product?
  4. Once I have answered the above and tweaked my model to meet the above customers needs… I need to figure out if I have dwindled my addressable market to just a few statistical individuals, or still a broad range of the population.
I look forward to the mentorship and criticism from my fellow founder peers, and particularly from the world-class entrepreneurs who are dedicating their time and energy to help me succeed. They have seen the other side of the moon and know how to get there.

One thought on “Know thy customer! A 25 year old Sarah, Tim, Charlie, Joe, and Chris at a time.

  1. So glad to see you’re tackling the first of what I consider your two biggest challenges: getting customers, and getting sellers. It seems reasonable to think if you solve the first, the second will mostly solve itself.

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