Find Your First Customers

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Updated January 28, 2020

Before people quit their day jobs and cash in their 401K to start a business, it all begins with an idea. Often that idea keeps you up at night, looping through your brain and eliciting the same question on repeat: โ€œWhat if?โ€

Before taking out an outsized loan to fund a business or rashly typing out a letter of resignation, you can ask Twitter. Often Twitter can be a better sounding board than friends and family who are unable to stay neutral and may provide overly positive (โ€œThis is brilliant! Sign me up!โ€) or particularly negativeโ€”or personal (โ€œNah. Should you be thinking of starting a business while youโ€™re in debt?โ€)

Simply sending out a tweet about your business idea can be a form of rapid customer validation that helps you gauge the interest in a product or service. Sharing and explaining your business with a limited number of characters will help you think more clearly about your value proposition.

  • If the reception is positive, youโ€™ll also get a glimpse into who your first customers might be. You can ask more questions about everything from pricing (โ€œHow much would you pay for this?โ€) or competitors (โ€œWhat do you use now that serves the same purpose?โ€)

  • If the reception is negative or non-existent, it doesnโ€™t mean you should abandon your idea. However โ€œlukewarm responseโ€ is a data point you didnโ€™t have before and will serve your next steps, whether thatโ€™s idea iteration or additional research.

Gain Valuable Feedback

Whether youโ€™re starting a new company from scratch or releasing a new feature or product line, Twitter can serve as a great sounding board. Leveraged properly, the platform will enable you to you to learn from your customers and improve your product. Entrepreneurs who are active on Twitter can create a direct line from themselves to their customers; whether thatโ€™s to solicit feedback or provide customer support.

Teams that build continuous customer discovery into their DNA will become smarter than their investors, and build more successful companies.Steve Blank (@sgblank), entrepreneur, professor, author *

Getting feedback on what you want to build and release or how you can improve can yield useful feedback that informs your decisions. Following this feedback can yield better results than if you were to build and release something in isolation. You can opt to solicit feedback as a founder or employee, which has the benefit of personalization, or collect feedback under your companyโ€™s account, which may have the benefit of wider reach.

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