As a startup founder/ first employee, one of the biggest challenges is to get the initial traction, first few customers for your business etc. Generally, people get in a grove of doing things perfectly and always think of the future on how ideally things should work. This is where people get it wrong, during the initial days of a company one should do things that do not scale but are bound to give you short terms results.
Y combinator in an article written in 2013 named it “Things that do not Scale”. Being a part of various startups at different stages I can vouch for this. Probably for the first threshold level of revenues/ customers some of the things that a founder generally should go through are –
- Cold calling potential customer on a regular basis
- Reach out to the bloggers/ influencers/ writers in your domain to cover you. Every coverage get you some eyeballs and that all you want.
- Build a freemium version of your product and give it to people in exchange of affiliation and customer leads.
- Meet customers/ potential customers as much as you can and talk to them about your vision
- Meet people in the sector who can guide, investors, etc., mind that the talks get propagated very fast here
- Hire the first set of people yourself by spending a considerable amount of time with each potential hire so that you build out something great.
- Attend meetup’s and become a part of the community so that people know the face behind the product.
- Test your product with real people and get a detailed feedback
- Make giveaways a part of your offering and get people to talk about it s=on social media.
- Do customer support yourself so that you can build for the pain points of the customers
- Chat with people using your competitor’s product and just take their opinion and know what is that you can solve for them in a better way.
- Detail out your product to a level that front end is so easy to use and back end is equally complex
- Listen to everyone who talks about yours’s or your competitor’s product and takes those learning and pain points to your product.
The startups take off because of their founders and not because of the product itself. The initial traction/ usage comes because of the founder. True is the fact that because of founder charisma sometimes the sub-optimal products also get a good initial traction and eventually gets funded. But these kinds of startups are set up for failure. There is no doubt that product/ service should be great and it should solve a pain point for the user but product alone being great is probably not going to work. New age founders love to code, but they must come out of their cocoon and do certain things for them to get on the path of success.