After talking to several entrepreneurs at a conference today it became clear that there needs to be more focus on customer love as one the first foundations of a startup. Many people think that the process for startup success is a) raise money, b) sell a bunch of product, and c) sell the business. In reality, everything starts with 10 happy customers that absolutely love the product. Yes, once that’s in place employee happiness and the people side of the business is more important, but you have to have 10 customers that love it for that to even matter. Per customer love, one litmus test is to ask customers how upset they’d be if they could no longer use the product. Are they really upset or is it no big deal?
Here are a few thoughts on customer love:
- All products, especially business software, have a human element where people either love it, hate it, or are indifferent — the more love, the better
- Customer love comes from product and people interactions — great sales, support, and customer success also help, or hurt things
- Products don’t have to do everything imaginable for customers to love them — figure out what’s most important and make that great instead of a bunch things that are only good
- Raise money after a group of 10 happy customers are already in place, and use the money to get to 100 — too many entrepreneurs try to raise money before the customer love foundation
Customer love is at the core of every successful startup. Without that foundation, the chance of success is limited.
What else? What are some more thoughts on the importance of customer love?