An early investor in Pinterest and Uber who sold a company for $100 million says there’s a specific order in which young startups need to target clients

scott belsky headshot

Scott Belsky is Adobe’s chief product officer and executive vice president at Creative Cloud. In 2006, he cofounded Behance. He’s also an author, entrepreneur, and investor.
In his experience creating different products, he’s identified the different types of customers that new businesses should want — and exactly when they should be working with those customers.
You don’t actually want to get all of your customers right away; expanding slowly, and with the right group, is essential.
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New products tend to launch with a “we’ll take any customer we can get” mentality. But what if that’s wrong, or even destructive, for the process of gaining empathy and key insights/iterating? Indeed, the customers you have at different stages of your business impact how your product evolves and how your team prioritizes. Especially for venture-backed businesses that optimize for sustainable differentiation and growth before cashflow, not all customers are equal. What makes a customer attractive throughout the lifecycle of a company? It really varies, depending on the stage of your company and product.

I’ve written about and discussed the ideal types of customers you want — and when — in the product portion of “The Messy Middle.” But let’s quickly discuss the five types of customers to optimize for along the journey of launching and growing a product.

SEE ALSO: I’ve interviewed over 600 entrepreneurs and millionaires on my podcast, but the best piece of business advice I’ve ever heard came from a director on ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

1. Willing explorers

You know those early customers that love to be first, dig in, and willfully try to figure out whether (and how) a new product adds value to their lives? These are the customers you want to target first, and you should be willing to handhold them through the process of on-boarding to your product in a non-scalable fashion. In the early days of Behance, I recall certain members of our network that responded to every email and understood what we were trying to build well before it was built. I also remember when Periscope was in its early beta with a very small but hyper-engaged audience that would jump in whenever a user was live streaming. These “willing” — and often times visionary — customers are the ones you want to engage first. You don’t want too many, because you want to get to know them. These early customers …read more

Source:: Business Insider

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