Every new software business has to face the critical phase of market validation. You’ve started your business around a big idea that solves a problem that matters, and now you have to prove it.
The future of your company depends on this phase – if it takes off, the future is bright; if not, you have a problem. And it’s this sense of urgency that gives us extra powers. You can feel the drive, the passion, the commitment to make a difference, the alertness to focus on the essence.
Startups need these extra powers because, be honest, they have everything against them. No brand-awareness, not proof-points of value, a product with a minimal footprint, and often not even a reference point to something a prospect is familiar with simply because what they are offering hasn’t been done before. As a consequence, many startups win by changing one customer at a time – and with that, they learn, tune, accelerate, create momentum, grow confidence – and repeat.
There’s a lot to learn from this ‘conquering one customer at a time’ approach – for software businesses of every size. Why do we tend to become more generic and create more distance from the market when our company grows larger? Why do we start to focus on ‘the numbers’ rather than customers when our targets grow bigger? Why do we shift our focus towards copying the competition and out % market share?
So, what if we’d make an effort in keeping this Startup mindset? What if we’d focused our efforts on what we’d naturally do if we’d had to prove our value for the very first time? Delivering our best work by helping each customer transform and make a meaningful difference? Delivering impact and experiences, they find worth making a remark about to their peers.
Wouldn’t that give much more energy? Wouldn’t everyone benefit from this? And beyond this: wouldn’t this help you win more, win bigger and grow even faster?
Here’s a challenge: What’s the most critical thing you can do today to bring back that magic of getting your first 100 customers?