Relationships of Trust Help Land Early Customers

This week, I’ve listened to two founders who are targeting enterprise companies as customers. One, “Alan,” landed a major one with no product and a pitch deck. The other, “ Bob,” has a working product but hasn’t yet been able to persuade anyone to use his platform (which is great, by the way). The big difference? Relationships.

Alan has years of experience and relationships with people who trust him. He leveraged them to land his first customer. Bob is solving a problem in a space where he doesn’t have relationships or experience. He has to earn the trust of potential customers, and that takes time. Alan has founder–market fit; Bob doesn’t. This doesn’t mean Bob won’t be successful; it just means he may have a tougher journey. I learned this lesson the hard way when I was a founder.

Many factors increase or decrease the chance of success. Founder–market fit is one of them. If you’re an aspiring founder with an idea but no founder–market fit, ask yourself if you’re the right person to solve the problem. If you believe you are, forge ahead!