How to get the first 20 clients for a startup

Don't worry about what you expect to achieve in the future or at an early stage if you can. Buy the first clients, treat them well and use that success to fund your next steps

24, 2019

5 min read

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Startups need to buy clients and be able to generate revenue in the shortest possible time. The time has come when big venture dollars could be invested before relying on their own revenues and clients.

According to data from venture capital firm Wing, it found that 82 percent of companies that gained funding in the 2018 A Series already had sales and were beginning to care about efficiency or scale. In 2010, it was only 15 percent.

Times have changed, founders already find it difficult to attract investors with just amazing ideas and customers. People who fund such ventures want to see real results, which means that no one will make money today unless they prove the idea is successful. Investors will be even more cautious when it comes to the end of the post-recession recession, which is open to fear.

The best way to reduce risk for startups is to get someone to fund the idea. This will inspire you to think about how to start caring for your first idea when you do not have enough capital or time to do it. If you can find up to 20 people who are ready to buy your product or service, you will stand out from the rest.

Early purchases on a limited budget

Younger companies usually do not have enough money to attract customers, and many startups do business with no money at all. To do your job you can hire a small budget agency or marketing department to find your first clients on your own.

If you had an indefinite time it would be easy, but it is not. A strict budget does not allow free action. Unless you are able to prove the viability of your idea before you fundraise, you will not go far.

It is also important to note that growth tactics that are effective in the case of large companies do not justify startups. You will not have the "perfect product", you will not be able to sell it without marketing, you will not be able to develop a complex marketing plan that is similar to that of the largest companies in the United States. At the companies you have lectured on.

In the case of beginner startups, quick and economical marketing plans justify attracting customers to the less perfect product.

Luckily, the obstacles you face along the way can be a success. To achieve this, you should try to optimize your sales when you know exactly how much money you have and where to invest your income.

At the earliest stages, you may not be able to determine who your ideal customer will be or how you will provide information. However, you should try quick action on small scales. You may do something wrong, but you will repeat and improve every time you learn something new.

How to attract the first solvent clients

You have to give up on big marketing ideas, search engine optimization, evenings and Super Bowl ads right from the start. Naturally, with limited budgets, this type of gambling is extremely risky. Instead, you need to conduct experiments as soon as possible to attract your first clients.

As you contemplate and select 10 tactics for the future, create test cards, check your chances of success, and determine what you work for. These cards will guide you through sales to look like a science experiment, take some steps, determine success or failure parameters, and determine the necessary metrics to evaluate your business.

You can do all this even with a completely limited budget by the following means:

1. Attend exhibitions and conferences

Increasing the scale of customer attraction strategies in the early stages is rarely successful, so don't worry about it. Attend conferences and exhibitions in your field and establish important links there.

Etsy is a perfect example of the companies that have used this strategy. Its founders swept through all the craft markets and persuaded sellers to open stores. In addition to what Salesforce has done, you can do the same. Hire people who attend a large conference of your competitors to protest.

2. Don't be afraid to call

Even our beloved giants have started their business with ease. Uber has launched its limousine rental campaign with phone calls and offers from strangers. You tried LinkedIn or worked on your own network.

Bring cookies to your potential clients' offices. Really, really … One of the health care companies did just that and it justified the move.

If you are planning to buy potential customers by phone, keep in mind that you will not miss this opportunity on the first call. At the first call, just present yourself and invite them to a special event or dinner, or offer a ticket. This step will break down the barrier and help you succeed.

3. Use paid advertising in the early stages

Early paid advertising will be really great as it gives you the opportunity to test. Maybe you still don't have the solid foundation … At this point it should be because you are not just showing off your income, but trying to increase your income and evaluate your business model. Try Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn for ads.

For example, Ilia Pozzini, co-founder of my company, recently sold its streaming video service PlutoTV for $ 340 million to Viacom. To attract the first customer, he used small budget ads on Google and Facebook and instantly gained data and insights to test his model.

Start small. There is no need to hire an advertising agency or buy large advertising packages in the media. Set a goal and learn how to do everything with your own hands on a $ 500 budget.

4. Converter platforms

Use the Airbnb trick – get first clients from other platforms where you already have a customer. They used Craigslist's customer base to get started. Zapier did the same with the help of internet forums – he posted links to get email addresses.

Consider these examples and think about where your customers might spend most of their time online. Finding them can be a great place for platforms where there are already users.

It may not be that you really need to sell your product, but you can do two things at once. You have to choose your favorite potential tactic, then the most interesting product samples to get a statistically significant result and get started. Run the tests and determine the return on investment for each platform. Do it quickly so that you don't have to spend a lot of money to test your theories.

When one of the tactics yields a positive result, repeat it. Then repeat this process in case of any successful tactics. This way you will get feedback from real customers that will improve both your business model and your product. Now, just focus on attracting new customers.

If you take these four steps, you will get at least twenty new clients. Don't worry about what you expect to see in the future or in the next stages. Find your first clients, treat them well, and use that success to fund your next steps.

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