🔍 It’s common knowledge that early adopters are key to getting your product feedback cycle rolling, but where should you look for them? In a recent episode of the Growth Stacking Show, host Dan Martell spoke with Cruise CEO Luca Stirbat (a carpooling app) about how they are approaching their search for early adopters. Cruise is an early stage company that just finished development, so getting customers to take a chance on them without existing validation had been especially hard. Cruise’s value proposition is offsetting companies’ carbon emissions by linking up their employees to carpool, so he suggests researching the CSR (corporate social responsibility) policies of local businesses to identify those whose values would align with their product. Moral of the story – understanding the core problem your business solves and targeting businesses who deal with it the most frequently will always be your best bet for finding your first customers.
🌡️ Powerful business narratives don’t just make the listener excited, they make you think. Eric Feng, Facebook’s VP of Commerce Innovations, shared how the best business stories can be broken down into 3 parts: framing (describing the business in a natural, almost obvious way), proximity (why the founder has a unique relationship with the problem they solve), and relatability (making it relevant). A great example he points to is home automation tool Nest. Their mission was to ”reinvent unloved home products to create simple, beautiful, thoughtful things”, a fantastic message because the framing makes their solution seem inevitable. Turns out it was, considering they got acquired by Google for 3.2b.
🦄 There’s been lots of analysis around what VC backed unicorns have in common, but not enough on startups that took venture but failed to take off. After all, you need a control group to help put those unicorn numbers in context. That’s what Ali Tamaseb (a partner at DCVC) spent the last couple years doing, gathering over 30k data points to see what truly separated big winners from the rest of the pack. He debunks some myths with his analysis, including that unicorns need to be led by technical founders (50.5% of unicorn founders were non-technical, similar to the control group) as well as the idea that unicorns should target whitespace opportunities (85% of unicorns had competition from Day 1).
🛫 In case there was still a debate, “build it and they will come” is simply a fallacy, it’s sales which fuels businesses to gain their first customers, take off, and grow. It took Cofebe’s founder James Williams little time to realize the importance of being able to sell, but a while to figure out how to build a systematic, methodical approach to doing it. He shares great advice around combatting customer expectations of lower prices by strengthening your offering’s positioning, as well as the value in a paid mentor when it comes to selling.