Relationships not transactions

Failing quickly is a popular opinion especially when it comes to start-ups. If you fail quickly you won’t have spent much time or burnt much money in failure. For me though, the key lesson is not to fail quickly or fail often, but to understand when to pull the plug and stop throwing good money after bad. The escalation of commitment in something is precisely the behaviour that failing quicker is trying to avoid.

When it comes to product development; it takes a certain level of stubbornness and pig-headedness to build an initial product so that your target customers can see the journey that you’re trying to take them on. Until you have a working prototype, taking a punt on your idea may be a step too far for them. Once you have that, you need to spend part of your development time engaging with your key customers and canvassing their opinion; this will be very important in driving your own roadmap for the product. There will be strange and wonderful ways in which your product delivers value to your customers, some of these will be tangential to the nominal value that was your primary goal.

Without a good relationship with your customers, you aren’t going to get any repeat business. Repeat customers are the ones that are easiest to satisfy and do the most for your revenue (and profit) as it will cost less to service them. As you grow, your costs will grow; if you don’t have the right processes in place then your profit margin will shrink even as revenue increases. Having the right types of customers should be a key plank in your growth strategy. Building a relationship with your customers is probably the hardest part of any new venture, so make sure it isn’t an afterthought when you are bootstrapping.

originally posted on medium

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