While it is fairly straightforward that you need early adopters to build a new product successfully, it’s also usually true that founders find it hard to seek them and work with them.
Existence of problem
Before we get into that, let’s just recap few things and set a context to understand the situation in which a start-up founder is when he or she is building a new product.
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.
With an incredible fit between you and your early adopters, they play a crucial role in speeding up this process of clarity before your resources are exhausted.
Early adopters optimise your efforts.
If you want to build a new business, you need to cross the paths with your early adopters, not by chance but by choice.
And yet, in practice, we see many founders do not do this.
There are 6 reasons for this.
Reason # 1 – Better mousetrap fallacy
Even founders who believe in lean startup methods tend to fall into it. The “better mousetrap fallacy” is the mistaken belief that a superior product will automatically generate customers. It is easy for start-up founders to get blinded by their new product as they are working hard to build.
And, it is this fallacy that some founders tend to not give much attention to working on getting early adopters.
Reason # 2 – Trying to scale early
Premature scaling is “spending money beyond the essentials on growing the business before nailing the product/market fit.” Or, spending resources on mass marketing much before you know what solution might work for sure.
Why does this happen?
- We like the very idea of a big number of users.
- We don’t like engaging with users individually because it’s hard and demoralizing to be rejected.
- We are shy and feel lazy to recruit users individually,
Most of the successful startups started from a handful number of users or early adopters and in the beginning, did many things that don’t scale.
Reason # 3 – Mistaken identity
Some users sign up for a variety of reasons (other than the consideration of their pain point), though they may not be having an urgency to solve the problem that you are trying to solve. And, for the reasons that they signed up early, you mistake them for being early adopters.
What is the problem with this?
- If the users who signed up are not desperate to find solutions, there is less likelihood of an active usage of your product or them buying it.
- And until users start using your product actively, you will not get any feedback about its usefulness.
Reason # 4 – At loss with them
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.
It is not a rocket science that you cannot learn. The key to doing it right is to treat each individual user as a human and not as something that adds to the numbers.
Reason # 5 – Pitching urge
In an early product building phase, learning is more critical than pitching. But many times, we give a miss to this.
- We come under pressure from targets.
- It is very hard to resist the temptation to pitch or sell our product or idea and in the process, we tend to forget “learning” as the core objective of customer discovery.
- We tend to not care to learn about prospects; it’s just so much easy to focus on product and technology instead.
When you are in a “pitching” mode, you are looking for as many sale opportunities as possible and when you are in a “learning” mode, you are looking for conversation opportunity.
Reason # 6 – Avoiding unsexy stuff
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 the focus away from product development, design and sales.
If you don’t do what is needed to reach your early adopters, you will never be able to reach them.
The double benefit of seeking them
You acquire active users
You define your product
The inaction is doubly dangerous
You fail to grow.
You remain in denial about your product’s lameness.
You make a choice!
Take away from this article
- How much ever it may sound hard, it is important to overcome all those reasons that you find keeping you away from early adopters.
- And the good news is that all of those reasons can be worked upon and overcome if you want to.
- Life is too short to build something that no one wants. Find your early adopters today!