In the third webinar of our collaborative webinar series with Lighter Capital, we examined the ways you can build SaaS products that scale. How can you find your first market, build, and launch quickly? Dustin Bruzenak, Chip Pedersen, and Jim Moar share their expert opinion.
Find a Fast First Market
“Speed is just as critical as cash for a startup,” says Jim. “Whatever you select is critical for customer acquisition.” Getting to market quickly with a smaller, faster first market allows you to establish a beachhead of paying customers as soon as you can.
But it’s not just for cash. Your fast first market can accelerate your learning and create credibility for additional acquisition through customer testimonials.
It’s More than Nice to Be Needed – It’s Essential
How do you find the fastest market for you and your product? Jim tells us, “The most important aspect of finding your first market is that your value proposition is seen by those customers as a Need to Have, not just a Nice to Have.”
While most entrepreneurs are sure that what they’ve got is a “need to have”, you can’t determine if that’s true unless you get out in the marketplace and get validation that the marketplace really agrees.
Don’t Waste Time on Maybes
“The best sellers I’ve worked with know how to distinguish between a yes, no, and maybe and don’t waste time on the maybes. Your YES can be an early champion that will persuade others why your product is a Need to Have,” Jim tells us.
Build Quickly, Launch Quickly, Fail Quickly
Chip Pedersen has shipped 150+ products in his career, and if there’s anything he’s learned, it’s that failing – and failing fast – is your friend. “It’s not a bad thing,” he says. “It shows you how to change and react.”
Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good. “People will often think they MUST have many features, as if they’re building a gigantic castle. What they really need is a hut, just to see how people like and interact with it,” Chip continues. It’s so much easier to dismantle and modify a hut than a castle. “Whether you’re working on a product, website, mobile app, keep this idea in mind. By stripping down your first launch to the bare essentials, you’ll see what the customer wants, and whether they’re going to buy it.”
Remember: Amazon was not built in a day. Look at the archives and you’ll see. Get your basic features together for launch, ask your customer questions, and find out what you need to know. Then try again.
Nothing Starts Until You Ship
Think of the process as a marathon. Shipping is actually the starting line, not the finish line. Everything that happens up to shipping is training.
Stay tuned for part 2 of our panel recap!