Have You Spoken to Your Customers Yet?

December 5, 2011
By Jamie McHale

Two questions that are key for any startup are: who will my paying customers be? Will they even like what I have to offer? As Michael has covered previously on Rookie Oven – it’s the hard questions that need to be tackled in order to succeed.

I spoke to Jim Duffy at Entrepreneurial Spark about my plans for Seeu.at – a ‘pre-checkin’ service for arranging to meet your friends. Jim asked me how many people I had spoken to who were potential paying customers. Not just users of the front-end service, but businesses that would pay to partner with us. I had been sharing the idea with other developers and users – but not with businesses that would be the source of income.

I needed to speak to people who will be paying customers before I rushed further into product development.

“If you can’t find ten people who say they’ll buy it, your company is bullshit”
- Jason Cohen, Yes, but who said they’d BUY the damn thing, Smart Bear

An obvious point, but you have to get out there and actually do it!

So I did. I called up a few local businesses who I thought might be potential customers and I asked them about how they run their businesses.

I didn’t pitch them my idea. I listened to what they had to say, then I asked them questions.

This approach helped me define the problems that they were facing – and then I could explain my idea in those terms.

So what are the key advantages that I have found of getting out there and speaking to your potential customers?

So what are you doing to help you identify and speak with your customers?