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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Start-ups if you build it, they won’t come

the fittest blogger | Startups if you build it they wont come

“If you build it, they will come” was an iconic phrase that came from the movie Field of dreams. This ideal sentence has been transformed into a constant phrase you will hear in the start-up community. But has little to do with the reality of start-ups.

Lets’ take a step back. You just came up with what you believe is the answer to a problem that you know with the utmost certainty will be a success. What do you do?

The entrepreneurs who build a product first without doing the proper research and testing will tend to say "Screw it, I know it will work" and will launch their product. Ultimately failing in in embarrassing manner.

Many new entrepreneurs fail to realize that the motto “if you build it, they will come” is a load of bullshi**.  I see it over and over again, especially with kids in college and companies who have failed to find their customer base and implement guerrilla marketing before launching.

You can and will build a product no one wants if you don’t properly take the right steps towards finding your users versus your customers. Not understanding if the product will bring value and solve a pain for your customers. And launching a product hastily without properly marketing it.

Tips for finding your customer base

Once you identified the problem you are trying to solve, you must make it a habit to leave your office, house, basement, wherever, and go to your target market. If you are afraid to talk to random people, then you my friend are in the wrong line of business.

You and your product will fail if you don’t take the time to going out and manually interviewing people. Asking the right questions. Finding out if your product is something they want, or if its something they need.

And talking to strangers not only will help you build your confidence and business developments skills, it will help you properly fill out your business model. You will hear things you never thought of and gain extremely important insights about the feasibility of your product.

Do not be lazy by creating online surveys and hoping one will fill it out. I am not saying that they cannot be helpful,  I am saying if you want to get the information you need in a timely manner, then take a laptop or tablet to a stranger or your target market and fill the online forms out for them.

Think about it this way, if you do 2-3 interviews a day for 5 days, you will have about 8-10 interviews done. And hopefully collecting their emails or other pertinent information in order to retain them as future customers when your product launches.

Imagine you and your team attempt 10 interviews and atleast 8 conversions a week. Conversions being sign ups, keep me involved via email, liking Facebook pages or following twitter handles, and each week you increase your interviews by 10%. You can accumulate about 100 interviews in a 2 month period with approximately a 75-80% conversion rate of those who are interested or have signed up to be emailed about launch (75-80% conversion is extremely high. You don't need numbers this high and would only see these numbers if your product has high interest levels. )

Caveat these numbers are hypothetical, if you do 15-30 interviews and your results show that you product is not solving a problem that people find of value, then you should definitely revamp your product.

Also these interviews aren't just for finding you customer base. If you get them to sign up by asking for emails or follows in person. You will have a higher chance of converting just by the pure fact that you’re putting on-the-spot pressure to them.

And you will essentially creating your email list that you will need to begin your guerrilla marketing campaign. In which you will send out your updates which must include blog posts, social media share and follow buttons, fundraising, and constant Engagement.

If you build it and want them to come. Follow these tips:

1. Create social media pages and constantly drive engagement. By far the most simple and cost effective.
2. Start blogging. Blogging has become a power house for startups as it builds customer base and is a platform to collect data. Especially if you have something that you only share once a week. But make sure you information brings value that is worth sharing. Don’t just use your blog to promote your product.
3. Make Google your best intern and ally. Whenever you need to figure out something, google it, Find the right resources and adhere to them. Then keep it moving.
4. Make your brand stand out amongst the market. It sound easy, but this might be your most difficult task. This is where your unique value propositions will help you stand out. When marketing, always find the newest trends and do them first. This is a constant factor that you must never let up on.

Hope these tips help. Leave questions and comments below or tweet me.

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