After startups launch, many entrepreneurs then go to find their first customers. A lot of founders find the most tempting tactic to sell it to anyone who may be interested, no matter what. In reality unless your product or service can actually service anyone without any heavy lifting on your team’s part, you will be better off starting off with a Minimum Viable Audience that can help focus your sales, marketing and delivery efforts. This blog post will outline why every startup needs a minimum viable audience to succeed.
1. The Product Stays Focused
Nothing will kill a startups growth like the engineering team being pulled in multiple directions due to very different customers having very different use cases and needs. The easiest way to keep your engineering team on task is to work with a small group of customers who all have the same use case. This way your team can focus on making an amazing experience that solves one problem really well instead of a subpar experience that spans multiple use cases.
2. Sales and Onboarding Becomes Repeatable
Repeatable processes unlock the keys to true growth and scalability. By focusing on a small audience you can easily create sales processes that can be followed by anyone and won’t require someone to learn how to navigate multiple types of conversations. On the other side of the same coin, the onboarding and customer success team will also have an easier time getting clients up and running on your product. Since every new customer will similar to others, it’ll be easy to learn the types of systems they use, the structure they have on their team, and common challenges they face in using your product or service.
3. Marketing Campaigns Can Be Built
The hardest part of launching marketing campaigns for early stage startups is zeroing in on a particular need or challenge to create content around it. As all marketers know, strategizing, implementing and launching campaigns takes a lot of work. While agile teams can launch a campaign in a month, teams (or one person) at startups strapped for cash and time will take longer to launch. The challenge of startup marketing is the challenges need to translate to topics the startup focuses on for months, if not a full year. By focusing on a minimum viable audience, marketers at startups have time to create websites, messaging, lead magnets and ad campaigns that can actually move the needle instead of launching disconnected campaigns with limited results.
4. Support is Easier to Manage
Just like keeping engineers focused on the same use cases, support also needs stability in solving the same problems every day. In a lot of smaller startups the engineering team may double as the support team. In those instances it’s even more important to keep support focused. As a founder, your team doesn’t have time to be constantly fixing bugs or dealing with tickets because a product is hard to use. They’ll need to product as easy to use as possible so they’re not bogged down responding to customer requests all day.
The easiest way to have profits as a startup is to have low costs across the board. Whether you’re looking to market to a specific group of people who all show up at the same meetups, or you’re looking to find a particular group to sell to, keeping the whole team focused on making the most amount of money with the team that exists will give founders the greatest path to creating value and staying in the market. The key to startup success is startup survival, and the best way to survive is to create a revenue making machine that will help customers succeed and give your team more than one way to grow, whether that be through investors, saving the profits, or getting a loan.