Over the years of talking and working with indie hackers and startup founders, I have found an alarming but common pattern.
First of all, those that fail usually start their journey for the money's sake, and that is why they make the wrong choice and in the end fail. On the other hand, those that started with the idea in mind first and then later monetised it have succeeded. Actually let me correct myself, not an idea but a problem that they wanted to solve.
The second and most important thing is that founders and even owners of already successful companies still don’t understand who exactly is their audience.
You audience is waiting to be discovered
I think that it can be understandable if you have just started. You are still on the boom in terms of numbers of customers, of course, maybe you did a product shift. You have changed the way the product is perceived from the outside, but after that is complete, and the situation is stabilised, still not doing everything you can to get to know who bought your product is a huge mistake.
You might wonder how you can do that? Well for one, you can actually send a cold email to every single person that ever signed up with the questionnaire that includes the best and most important questions that you need to make insights about your audience.
I understand that not all of the startups really want to do that, especially in times of privacy escalation. Still, there are ways to collect the data without compromising face of your company.
As an example, you can actually send a private email to 10 random clients, and that already would get you a good understand of who your customers are. Most importantly, don’t underestimate how much people like talking, if you ask 10 people to give you 30 minutes of their time by statistics, 5 of them will say yes.
I would highly suggest getting The Mom Test: How to talk to customers learn if your business is a good idea when everyone is lying to you. I think that it is the best and most easy to understand a book when it comes to getting to know your audience.
You are not your audience
Another huge problem that I saw even in veteran founders is that they see their customers as themselves. People working in tech, salary way above average, high intellect, and excellent UI/UX knowledge. Able to understand buzz words and overall completely copy of who they are.
Maybe this would come as a surprise, but that is completely wrong and most likely, the customer and the founder and completely different people that have nothing in common.
If the founder doesn’t like to talk calls, that is understandable, you are a high tech person, but that doesn’t mean that your customers don’t want it.
I think that the main point here is don’t guess who your users are. Try to analyse and get to know what they are trying to solve. That would make sure that you would be moving and adjusting in the correct path.
Start now. Get perfect later.