StartUp Founders: Find & Talk To Your EarlyVangelists / Early Adopters
As a startup consultant, I often hear from founders who are struggling to identify their target market and the early adopters who will help them achieve product-market fit. It’s a common challenge, but one that can make or break a startup in its early stages.
When it comes to identifying your early adopters, it’s important to focus on those who are already experiencing the problem that your solution aims to solve. These are the people who are most likely to see the potential in your product and be willing to take a risk on it, even if it’s still in its early stages. They may have even cobbled together their own solutions to the problem, which means they have some budget to invest in a better, more comprehensive solution.
In Steve Blank’s book, “The Four Steps to Epiphany,” he defines early evangelists as “a special breed of customers willing to take a risk on your startup‘s product or service because they can actually envision its potential to solve a critical and immediate problem.” The key word here is potential – your product doesn’t have to do everything perfectly right out of the gate. Early adopters are willing to take a chance on something that shows promise and is on its way to solving their problem.
It’s also important to note that early adopters are not the same as casual product lookers or people who are simply willing to kick the tires. These are people who are actively seeking a solution to their problem and are willing to invest in it.
As a startup founder, your job is to identify these early adopters and get on the phone with them to learn more about their needs and how your solution can meet them. This requires a deep understanding of their personas, their functional requirements, and the traits that make them a good fit for your product.
It’s also important to find a balance between the amount of value you’re delivering to your early adopters and the risk they’re taking by investing in an underfunded, high-risk startup. This is why it’s crucial to focus on early adopters who are already vested in the problem and have some budget to invest in a solution.
To sum it up, as you’re developing your go-to-market strategy, be sure to focus on your first cluster of customers – your early adopters. These are the people who will help you achieve product-market fit and pave the way for broader market adoption. Listen to their feedback, learn from them, and build a product that meets their needs.