So you’re an aspiring entrepreneur who’s set out to change the world for the better and put a dent in the universe. Armed with a revolutionary idea which is going to address the unmet needs of hundreds of millions of millennial worldwide, you’re ready and eager to get going. All you need to do next is reduce your idea to the paper, conceptualize and ultimately develop into a state-of-the-art online platform.
Nine months later and $150K you’ve borrowed from family and friends, you have the first version of your revolutionary platform ready to go and so naturally you launch it with a drumroll. You’ve built your platform without much thought of anything else, let alone client’s acquisition as you believe they sure will come, for after all your platform is so revolutionary and more importantly designed to meet the needs of your target audience. There’s only one problem, no one shows up to your $150K party! But why, you wonder?
The old myth ‘if you build it, they’ll come’ has been debunked way too many times for you to make a such a rookie mistake. But hey, we’re only human you say and somehow justify it to yourself but can’t quite justify it to family and friends who’ve just lost $150K.
To avoid the foregoing rookie mistake from ever happening to you, think traction before all else as traction trumps all. As you set out to develop your product you’ve got to start to actively work on your go-to-market strategy and figure out how best to let the world – your audience – know about it once you launch.
Luckily, myriad of exceptional client acquisition or traction channels exist i.e., search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, blogging, email marketing, social media marketing, affiliate programs etc. and all of them are at your disposal. Here’s how you can make it work from the first go.
1. Build your product in parallel with go-to-market (GTM) strategy
When you set out to build your product, make sure you also outline your GTM in parallel. GTM should entail your target market/audience, unique selling proposition (USP) and distribution channels, among others. If you aren’t already an expert in your domain, you’ve got to step up and learn everything there is to know about your industry, fast. You’ve got to be able to demonstrate in-depth knowledge of your clients, their needs, your competition and their weaknesses – all the while, developing, testing and tweaking your product.
2. Know metrics that matter and keep an eye on them
What you can’t measure you can’t manage and as a founder of your startup, you ought to be able to manage and grow your business aggressively and consistently. With that in mind, you’ve got to identify the most pertinent metrics that are imperative for your startup, set adequate expectations/objectives and measure them continuously. Depending on your industry, product, distribution channels etc. your metrics must be well suited and fit for purpose. If you were to build an online platform for example, metrics such as page visitors/views, conversion rate, bounce rate, user acquisition cost and lifetime value could be of most interest to you.
3. Keep an open mind and be flexible
As you build, tweak and improve your product with your target audience in mind, you’ll inevitably learn what works and what doesn’t. You’ve got be very flexible and open-minded, for no matter how well planned your product is, you’ll go through series of iterations, tweaks and pivots before you reach product market fit (PMF). The sooner you accept that your product isn’t perfect and features you thought cool aren’t, the sooner you’ll achieve the PMF and that’s what you need in order to survive and ultimately grow your business thereafter.
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