Amy Hoy’s talk at Microconf 2012 inspired me to ask this quesion (which i already did in the closed Microconf Europe 2014 forum ).
I’ve already had great feedback from our friends at Microconf but thought this might be a good place to continue the discussion.
In her talks Amy states that you should start your business with customers you love working for in mind, not so much your product idea.
The advantage of this is approach is that if you discover a problem that they need to have solved, and you can solve it, you already know who your customers will be PLUS you enjoy working with them (not all customers are pleasantly worked with).
So, let’s start with the assumption that we would like to be in a B2B SaaS business. Next question could be: Who is our ideal customer? What attributes define them?
Jaana Kulmala also put together a great checklist to start with.
I’ve taken some of the points mentioned in Jaana’s list and added some of my own thoughts.
Also, for this discussion i thought it would be wise to discriminate between ‘attributes of the founder’ and ‘attributes of the customer’.
Please see the list below.
What would you add to the list?
Then using the list,
What type of business professionals are most likely to have the attributes described under ‘Target Customer Attributes’ (see below)?
A C-level corporate enterprise manager? Someone with operational roles in larger corporations? A SMB manager? A founder of a VSB? The owner of an agency? A freelancer/consultant? Other?
Founder Attributes related to the target customer:
-You have some knowledge of your potential customers: what are their needs, how do they see their world, how do they buy stuff?
-You have some acknowledged authority and trust in the market of your target customers
-You love working with you target cutomers: they’ll survive the Shopping Centre Test
Target Customer Attributes:
Your target customer
-is a business (B2B) rather then consumer (B2C)
-does have money to spend: ideally they already spend similar amounts of money (or more!) on similar services like yours. Even better: they already have monthly subscriptions they pay for.
-buys products to solve problems (not folks with DIY mentalities)
-is not a cheapskate (they always complain and leave to early)
-do not frequently switch products (NB: in fast changing markets people are stimulated to explore different solutions)
-owns the budget and feels the pain you are relieving (single decision maker)
-is in a single market (multiple markets requires multiple marketing efforts)