The riskiest assumption, for your start-up in the beginning, is whether there are any people actively trying to solve the problem your product will solve for them.
These are the people we call early adopters.
Your goals is really to find if there are people already trying to solve the problem (that you are working on), understand how they describe the problem, know the emotions they experience with the problem, know how to reach more of similar of them and get insights on dissatisfaction factors of their current solution.
Startups need to begin by seeking out this core group of early adopters and then engaging with individual users to convince them to sign up. Focusing on this has a double benefit — you acquire users and define the product. On the other hand, if you inaction on this is doubly dangerous, because you not only fail to grow, but you can remain in denial about your product’s lameness.
Start-up is a stage in the process of turning a business idea into an established real company and a ‘start-up’ is a company that is confused about – what its product is? Who its customers are? How to make money? We start with assumptions about everything to begin with. The more early you start to get a sense for theories against reality, the safer you are. Early adopters play a crucial role in speeding up this process of clarity, before your resources are exhausted.
“If you can’t find early adopters, you can’t build a business.” – Trevor Owens, Lean Startup Machine CEO
Yet, in practice, we see many founders find it hard to find early adopters and engage with them. Here are some of the reasons commonly found that come in a way of you and your early adopters.
- We are not serious about finding them.
- We don’t like engaging with users individually, because it’s hard and demoralizing.
- We get mistaken them with those who are not.
- We are not fully convinced that we need them. We continue in love with our product and believe that people will buy.
- We don’t know where to find them and we don’t know how to reach out to them.
- We don’t know how to get them on board.
- We don’t know how to engage with them.
- We don’t know how to de-code what they tell us.
- We come under pressure of targets. It is very hard to resist the temptation to pitch or sell our product and in the process, we tend to forget “learning” as the core objective of customer discovery.
- There is a hard work involved in locating prospects to be approached for customer discovery and at times it is hard to reach out to them and convince them to spare time for us.
- The whole process is time consuming. It would take focus away from product development, design and sales.
Life is too short to build something that no one wants.
Find your early adopters today!