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How to get your first 100 customers by being helpful


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This is a presentation I'm giving at Lean Startup Seattle.

I'm going to talk about practical ways you can get the first 100 customers for your startup - first step is to forget about 90% of the useless crap the marketing pros are trying to get you to do.

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How to get your first 100 customers by being helpful

  1. 1. How to get your first 100 Customers by being helpful Kevin Dewalt, founder SoHelpful.
  2. 2. Founder SoHelpful, 3 previous Angel Investor Collabspot (JFDI), Power Supply (500 Startups), Vericant (???) Mentor/Advisor 1,000s, mostly Lean Startup Ruby Programmer Former VC @kevindewalt Beijing, China
  3. 3. I hear from startups worldwide… “We can’t FIND customers to DO Customer Development” “I have paying customers … and they STILL won’t talk to me” “Nobody reads our blog … or opens our email” “Kevin…we get it…hypothesize, test, validate. We still aren’t getting traction.” Why are we all struggling so much to get started?
  4. 4. You ignore 99% of your inbox and 99.9999% of your ads
  5. 5. Why is it harder than ever? • Customers are overwhelmed. – Too much noise. – Endless choices. Can’t keep up. – Product bar keeps rising. • RIGHT things at the WRONG time. – Growth hacking – Product/Market fit – Content Marketing – Design – Elevator pitch
  6. 6. Reality – before you have 100 customers • Your product will suck • Your messaging will be meaningless • Your team will have huge skill shortages • Your Customer Development will have gaping, unproven assumptions So accept it – and it doesn’t matter anyway
  7. 7. A better way to start 1. Pick the market you want to serve. 2. Meet as many of these people as possible. 3. Aggressively pursue opportunities to help them. 4. Use these conversations to get insight. Test ideas. 5. As you develop your solution, prioritize helping people over all else.
  8. 8. What happens • Customer development is easier – they TELL you their problems. • The people you help will evangelize like hell for you. Leads to customers, team, $. • Prospects will convert to paying customers – for your crappy product – because they trust you.
  9. 9. Seattle Case Study
  10. 10. Summary If you have < 100 Customers … STOP trying to get people to pay attention to you – START helping them. It is a lot easier.
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