Almost two years ago, since I started India Boulevard, the number one goal till date has always been to acquire and retain a customer. I know that this is the single most important question on every entrepreneur's mind.
Today I want to share from my experience, #5 tips on how to get your first 50 customers.
In a world where there are so many choices, we need to give customers a reason to engage with us and buy our product. We need to convince them that we are a real business and are there to help and service them. Hence, building trust and credibility through our online and offline presence becomes especially important for a company that is starting out. Small things like having reviews, press mentions, Facebook Likes can make a big difference eventually.
Consistency is Key
Each business is focused on providing its customers with a unique experience -- whether it's via a website, mobile app, walk-in-store or customer calls. For engaging customers, the consistency of experience is everything. Whether your product is in beta or being constantly updated, we need to make sure our customers have the same experience every time they engage with us. Why? Because consistency breeds familiarity and that leads to trust!
Don't' Be Afraid to Experiment
As entrepreneurs, we are always thinking about which acquisition channel works and how do we scale our business, based on those channels. However, for the first 50 customers, rather than focusing on finding the 'right channel', try anything and everything. Why? Because at the early stages of our business, we are learning and running experiments. So, try different things and don't be afraid to fail. Not all experiments succeed and that's okay.
Feedback is a Glass That's Always Half-full
Your early customers are often early adopters and hence their feedback is valuable. It will help you know whether your 'experiments' are working or no. Knowing what we got right or wrong is helpful as it helps us refine our approach and product. That said, we don't always have to agree with the feedback or act on it. It is more important to be aware of how and why people are engaging with our product.
Customer Acquisition is an Investment, Not an Expense
In the early days, you need to find product-market-fit and know everything about your customers -- why, how and when they are choosing your product. Getting to know your customer and where they find you is important and can provide you with invaluable insight for the future of your business. So, don't worry about acquisition costs for your first 50 customers. It's more important to acquire them than acquiring them cheaply.
Remember, successful businesses don't have 50 customers, they have 50,000 customers! In a nutshell, the heart of it all is starting a business is one of hardest things you will ever do, so pat yourself on the back and bring that first customer onboard.
Then repeat the same exercise and get the next one and so on. Keep it simple and be true to yourself and your customer. Remember, it's a marathon and you're in it for the long run (no pun intended).