Most entrepreneurs come up with an idea for a product and focus on building a prototype. Only, in the software world, it’s become progressively easier to build a decent product and, as an entrepreneur, it’s fun to iterate on the features. Now, there’s so much “progress” on the product that entrepreneurs continue to focus their efforts there and don’t focus on the much harder challenge: customer acquisition.
Here are a few thoughts on customer acquisition for the product-focused entrepreneur:
- Read Traction by Gabriel Weinberg and start methodically trying different marketing channels
- Buy Predictable Revenue and SalesLoft and test out the sales development methodology
- Talk to the five most successful entrepreneurs you know and learn what they did to acquire customers in the early days
- Build a customer acquisition machine (know that it takes much longer than expected)
- Know that there’s a transition period from product/market fit to repeatedly acquiring customers
One of the more successful entrepreneurs I know went through three product pivots in the same market and managed to thrive because they’re so good at customer acquisition. For most entrepreneurs, customer acquisition is significantly harder than product development, especially in the early years.
What else? What are some more thoughts on the idea that customer acquisition is harder than product development?
4 thoughts on “Customer Acquisition is Harder than Product Development”
Hey David, do you think customer acquisition is easier with a new mobile app that already belongs to an existing market or one that is creating their own market? Example such as Yik Yak that created a market of anonymous users based off of their location.
Great post David, thank you.
Could not agree with you more on two things, David:
1) “Build a customer acquisition machine (know that it takes much longer than expected)”
2) “For most entrepreneurs, customer acquisition is significantly harder than product development, especially in the early years.”
It takes a long time to get the flywheel turning, as we’re experiencing right now as we push to break through a plateau. And, it’s so tempting to go back to product development when it doesn’t start working immediately. The reality is that it takes 100 little experiments to find 2 that work well enough to be the building blocks of a repeatable growth process.
So if customer acquisition is so hard and building products is so easy how come most technical folks don’t think that way.