Signing the first 10 unaffiliated customers is one of the most difficult tasks as an entrepreneur. Building a prototype is straightforward. Getting mentorship and help is straightforward. Convincing someone to pay money for an unproven product at an unproven startup is hard. Very hard. Only, paying customers are the lifeblood of the business.
Here are a few ideas on acquiring the first 10 customers:
- Outbound Prospecting – Build a list of potential companies. Jump on LinkedIn and find the right people. Send them a personalized message that’s thoughtful and relevant. Be pleasantly persistent.
- Inbound Marketing – Write a blog. Create a community. Engage with people on Twitter. Work towards 1,000 true fans.
- Referrals – Ask a friend. Find the local chamber of commerce. Talk to previous colleagues. Use your network. People want to help other people.
Acquiring the first 10 customers is challenging. But, once you get 10 customers, you can get 100. And then 1,000 and beyond. The key is finding the early adopters and building momentum.
What else? What are some more thoughts on acquiring the first 10 customers?