Question

Product Founders: How did you acquire your first customers?

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erangalperin's avatar
2 years ago

I started a product in an industry I was involved in for many years (martial arts - we provide gym management software). My first users were people I've trained with over the years. They helped me get the basics in order. Most are still with us 4 years later.

I think starting a product in a market you're already familiar with and have an existing network massively increases your chances of success.

3 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @erangalperin )
2 years ago

That’s super cool, and a perfect example of building for an audience you know. Had you heard complaints from them about where existing products weren’t working the way they needed?

1 point
erangalperin's avatar
@erangalperin (replying to @maguay )
2 years ago

I have - that was my initial motivation for creating the product. Many of my users over the years have switched over from a competing product they were frustrated with. Talking to them about their frustrations allowed me to focus on making sure those are addressed in my product.

3 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @erangalperin )
2 years ago

That’s one of the best ways to build a product that directly fits the needs of your customers. Really neat to hear your story there, thanks for sharing!

1 point
erangalperin's avatar
@erangalperin (replying to @maguay )
2 years ago

I definitely agree! In previous companies I've started I didn't always have that direct connection to what my users wanted, and it helps a lot.

By the way, loved your article about SaaS design trends - that's how I found this community. Good stuff!

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @erangalperin )
2 years ago

Thank you, really glad to hear that!

1 point
Joe_Benjamin's avatar
2 years ago

Good old cold outreach.

We "mom-tested" a lot of people during customer developmnet (90% cold outreach) and understood the problems and pains they had. It made it pretty easy to take that information and roll it into cold emails to acquire our first customers. Closed our first deal with the second meeting we booked. And then it continued the more outreach we did.

We also sold it to some people we spoke to during our customer development/research conversations. Others are in sales cycles or we'll go back to them once we build out more features for their specific needs.

3 points
AmeetM's avatar
2 years ago

You should be your FIRST customer! Let me walk you through our journey....

At SyndicationPro.com, we built the product for ourselves and use it everyday. Over time, a few of our friends wanted to check it out and started using it/paying for it!

From there, our product has snowballed! After launching a public product 6 months ago, we have over $400mm of capital being managed through our app.

We continue to use the product everyday, find new use cases and continue to build the product in tandem with our customers.

I would recommend not chasing a "market" "blue ocean" "excel projections". Build from the heart and build for yourself!

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @AmeetM )
2 years ago

Interesting, thanks for sharing your story! Now that you have customers, do you focus more on what you specifically want from the product (in being your own best customer), or has the product shifted to focus more on customer needs as sales have grown?

1 point
MeSanti's avatar
2 years ago

I used this simple growth hack.
My target was founders and finance reviewers of scale up startup.
1. Crunchbase search of startups that received series A in last 1-2 years
2. With a list of LinkedIn URLs of those companies, I used phantombuster to scrape the list of employees
3. Filtered out founders and finance people from list of employees
4. Again, using phantombuster, I sent an invitations with a personalised message to each person in my list.
5. Followed up with a few messages to the ones that replied to schedule a demo.
6. Demo, talk some more, iterate, come back with a better demo until we converted our first five paying customers.

I hope that helps!

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @MeSanti )
2 years ago

You've got that down to a process—thanks for sharing! Did you find you had to hone your product based on those early customers' feedback, or that you had to hone your pitch to better sell what you'd built?

1 point
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