November 9, 2012

Advice From 25 Entrepreneurs

Learning from your own mistakes is great.  Learning from other people’s mistakes is even better.

Today I stumbled across an article on David Hauser’s entrepreneurship website titled 25 Entrepreneurs Tell What They’d Wish They’d Known Before They Founding Their First Startup.  It’s excellent.  One of the best bits, below:

I wish that I knew how difficult it is to acquire a customer, get them to pay for your product and believe it’s as magical as you think it is.

Most startup founders count on customer acquisition as a foregone conclusion, yet it’s the number one thing that keeps them up at night for the first 2-3 years if not longer. Every part of that process is deeply challenging for a company. It also doesn’t happen quickly.

A few tips on how to navigate early stage customer acquisition challenges:

1) Talk to every person in your target market that will speak to you. Know their needs better than they know them. Your most valuable insights will come from talking to customers daily.

2) Marketing to potential customers is a series of experiments. Before you start, define what success/failure looks like. When the experiment is over, rinse and repeat.

3) Surround yourself with team members and advisers that will hold you accountable to the business’ metrics and finances. The success/failure of the business depends on these people. You must trust them completely because you don’t have time to look over their shoulder.

Nick Francis (@nickfrancis), Co-founder and CEO of Help Scout

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