Who First?

Figuring out whom to target as your first customers can feel tough. Many groups may have the problem you’re solving. On the surface, they seem similar, but often there are differences that aren’t obvious.

In a perfect world, founders do customer discovery before building anything. This gives them the chance to learn deeply about the problem and how it’s affecting people (i.e., how much pain it’s causing). And the act of listening to understand people’s problems can help establish relationships and build trust.

These conversations are also great data points. With enough data points, patterns will be revealed. Founders who hear the same thing over and over have found non‑obvious commonalities that can form the basis of the ideal customer group.

Figuring out who your first customer should be is hard, but it becomes a lot easier when you talk to people to understand the problem instead of to sell them something.