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“In a sense there’s just one mistake that kills startups: not making something users want.” Paul Graham, 18 Mistakes that Kill Startups.

After the rise of The Lean Startup, everyone and their startup cousin started talking about the need to “get out of the building.” In other words, the need to talk to your customers (or potential customers) about the problems they have and how you can (potentially) solve them.

Like dieting and exercise, talking to customers is something startups know they should do, but rarely do it. Even if you do decide to speak to your customers, it’s tempting to just to send a Google Form to your email list, analyze the results, and call it a day.

But if you want meaningful results, you need to get on the phone.

Look. I’m not here to sell you customer development services. I won’t be hurt if you choose to ignore my advice and just send a survey. I’ve got waaay too much on my plate scaling a data-driven content agency for SaaS.

But I want to share with you ten things I learned talking with less than 25 potential customers.

  • SB

    Siddharth Bharath

    over 2 years ago #

    Another epic post from Jason. I love point number 4. Most people don't make the connection between writing and understanding customers. That's why you see so many businesses hire writers from Fiverr who have no clue about their industry.

    • JQ

      Jason Quey

      over 2 years ago #

      Thanks for your kind words, Sid

      I'm not 100% dead set against buying content from content farms like Fiverr.

      Though I don't plan to outsource my writing, I think the issue is most with the strategy and process.

  • JK

    Jes Kirkwood

    over 2 years ago #

    Love point #5. Too many people underestimate the power of relationships! In reality, relationships are what drives business forward. Even the most sophisticated marketing techniques can't compete with a tight-knit network.

    • JQ

      Jason Quey

      over 2 years ago #

      Very true Jes. Even Facebook recently announced an emphasis on improving Facebook groups, which is built on a tight knit community

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