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.
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.
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!
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!
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