That’s a theme that I’ve seen popping up quite a lot in the last few months, for example at the Product Management Festival in September, the presentation from Thomas Arend from AirBnB advocated that approach as well.
Paul Graham provides several examples how successful startups in their early stages recruited and retained users through quite laborious, manual efforts that clearly wouldn’t scale to accommodate a larger user base:
“… if the market exists you can usually start by recruiting users manually and then gradually switch to less manual methods.”
Not Only for B2C Startups Selling Through the Internet
While Paul’s examples are mostly from B2C startups that serve customers through the web channel, I see the same happening with B2B sales efforts of startups that I’m coaching: here as well, initial customer acquisition is often quite manual, with the founders personally recruiting one business customer after the other.
This way, the founders learn not only a lot about B2B sales processes – which is something that founders fresh from university usually have no prior experience with.
This is also a great way of learning even more about the market their business customers serve, which helps them to further sharpen the value proposition of their product.
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