Asheesh Nigam

An alumnus of Indian Institute of Management, Bengaluru, Asheesh has been a start-up coach and mentor, working with promising individuals to realise their potential and support them from early establishment through to consolidation and growth.

More From The Author >>

First 100 Customers for Start-ups Are Important

Here are some of the growth strategies for your start-up and its customer:

Photo Credit : Shutterstock,

Anyone having an experience with start-up would know how hard it would be to engage those first 100 customers as it involves a great deal of groundwork and preparation. Since start-ups are not backed by billion dollars’ worth tech-infrastructure right at the very beginning, entrepreneurs need to formulate just the right kind of approach to emerging out victorious--breaking the shackles and enhancing their businesses' longevity. All significant companies of today’s times have once started small, but the market forgets the initial struggles of a brand when it eventually does well. 

As a start-up owner, you will do everything to ensure your product solves the problems of millions of people, who are the targeted consumers of your product. Without customers, your business will be dead. But the struggle does not end here. Even after establishing consumer base, it can be pretty challenging to compel it to switch to your product over the giant players. As a start-up owner, you should know how to build that bridge between your start-up and your customers. Thus, the first hundred customers become a magic potion to your start-up growth. Hence, taking into account the consumers' perspective becomes an essential aspect of start-up growth. 

Here are some of the growth strategies for your start-up and its customer: 

●    Identifying your Early Customers: While identifying your early customers, it is more about learning than selling. Most entrepreneurs do not come from a bleak background with no contacts at all. Your friends, colleagues will contribute to your first beta users. Even if they do not turn into a customer, they will help you improve your product. So, instead of cold-emailing random contacts, utilize your existing network to grow sales.

●    Nurture your Network: Networking is a great tool that can fund your start-up with clients. After you identify your early customers, you need to generate more leads. Of course, if your product is more useful than the existing products, then "word-of-mouth" can work wonders, but there are more efficient ways. For instance, you are finding events where customers congregate -- conferences, forums, social media sites. It will help you develop leads and identify the behaviour of growth among the customers you want to serve.

●    Use unconventional ways to market: Conventional Marketing is old-school, relying on a lot of paid campaigns. Start-ups should adopt new methodologies like divide and conquer for the initial 100 consumers, providing them a customized experience. For customers in your single-digit registration range, the objective is to find people willing to pay what you are offering and validate via follow up emails and interviews. For the two-digit range, the primary aim is to analyze and multiply the most responsive niches. Now is the time when you aim at scaling up. Unconventional ways of marketing are more effective in such cases. 

●    Understanding Power Users is essential: To achieve growth, understanding Power Users is essential. Power users are loyal and highly engaged community members who act as legitimate growth hackers for your product. The question then arises of how do we spot these Power Users and retain them. A good idea to locate power users is maintaining a quality index for each user, based on the engagement with the service/product. For example, for a service, keeping the consumer with the highest usage time happy leads to a positive impact. In the case of a product, a follow up from the team's top leads works wonders. 

●    Expand your existing network: Make a conscious effort to be engaged with those people, who you think are relevant for you. Attend every industry events, trade shows and local meetings. Call your past clients and strike a conversation with them about the product and their life. 

●    Start blogging early: Make sure you post at least one blog about your brand every day. Content marketing is the new start-up buzzword, and for a good reason. Providing useful content for your readers is a great way to generate relevant free traffic over time. 

●    Make maximum use of social media: Social media is the biggest saviour for many people of almost all the age groups. Gone are the days when social media was youth’s cup of tea. Every business has a Facebook page and a Twitter account nowadays. But social media is much more than a free banner space for your service. For example, you can set up email alerts anytime someone mentions they are unsatisfied with your competitor on Twitter.

●    Align your brand with customer’s need: Launching your product in the market is only half the job done. The repercussions it brings about actually decide the lifetime of your business. A variety of factors drive the tactics utilized to market the product. The lens with which the customer views your product needs to align with your product line of sight. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

Tags assigned to this article:

Around The World