Spend Time Learning from Your Customers Before Chasing Investor Money
The best use of your time may not be raising funds
Raising money is an important step for many entrepreneurs, but is it the best use of your time at early stages? At one of our Healthcare Entrepreneur Meetup with Bird Blitch, Founder of Patientco, we discussed the importance of spending more time with your customers, rather than chasing money from investors early on. Blitch suggested that spending as much time as possible learning your customers needs and building them into your product will do the most for your startup.
Use Your Time Wisely
One of the biggest challenges, in life and in business, is managing your time and using it effectively. You only have so many hours you can devote to your business, what’s the best way to use them? Chasing money from investors takes time, time that you could use to make your product better. Blitch offered this advice: “Every hour you spend raising money, you could spend with a potential customer, learning.” Go to your customers first and really learn what they need from your product. Investing your time in learning how to build the best product possible will make raising money easier later on. If you’re just beginning the customer discovery phase, here’s three helpful things to keep in mind.
Think About Who You Know
So, talking to customers is a great way to learn, but how do you go about finding them? Blitch talked about his experience finding customers early on at our Meetup. He encouraged entrepreneurs to think about their connections. Many entrepreneurs step into new industries when they start a company. Think about people in your life who have experience in the industries you enter. They’ll have first hand experience with the problems you’re trying to solve. Friends, neighbors, and people in your community can be amazing connections for you on your entrepreneurial journey.
Learn as Much as You Can About the Problem You’re Solving
Spending time with your customers is a great way to educate yourself about the problem you’re solving, and what you need to do to be the best solution. This information will be essential as your startup grows, for both product development and sales. Should you go after investor money in the future, those investors are going to have a lot of questions for you.
It’s always going to be tempting to go after funding, but be patient. When the time comes, you’ll be thankful you spent time with your customers and can answer investor questions with confidence.