How to get your first 50 Customers

Starting a business in Kenya is hard. It takes resources and time for an entrepreneur to come up with a product or service to sell. Once the product or service is market ready, the next major challenge arises – selling. No matter how good the product or service is, you have to show it to the targeted customers. The questions on how to get people buying from your business emerge. Acquiring and retaining the first customers is very essential and partly determines if the business takes off or fails in its initial stage.

These first customers help you in validating the viability of the business. Their reviews and feedback are going to help you to make improvements to your product or service where necessary.

Below are 7 proven ways in which you can get the first 20 customers for your business or startup.

#1 Selling to friends, family and your existing network

If you cannot sell a product or service to the people close to you, chances are you won’t be able to sell to the rest. Family, friends, relatives, acquaintances, and people in your professional circle are the first customers you should aim for. Talk to them about what you are offering. They are not necessarily going to buy but they will give you invaluable feedback. These people will also introduce you to their network which forms your potential buyers too.

#2 From the internet communities, groups, and forums

The internet community and online forums can also be a source of your first 20 customers. Search for topics relating to your product and service and see what others are saying.  They could be asking questions regarding a product/service, looking for the product/service or discussing the cons or pros of the product/service.  If your product/service serves their pain point, then you are sure to make a sale.

Some of the online community forums you can search in Kenya include:

  • Facebook groups and marketplaces
  • Bubewa Kenya
  • Quora
  • Reddit
  • LinkedIn groups
  • Product hunt
  • AngelList
  • Venture capital for Africa (VC4A)

#3 Learn from customers of your competitors

When carrying out the product/service research, you established a couple of competitors to your business. Watch closely what they are doing right or wrong. Ask your competitors’ customers questions that will give you a lead on how they are doing their business. This will give you feedback which you can use to improve your product or offer the customers a better solution to their problems through your product/service.

#4 Creating rich and useful blog posts

If you are good at writing articles, you can go the blogging way. Create good posts about your unique product/service. This will not only help you in the short term but also in the long term. If you write creative and optimized content about your product/service, you will develop a good relationship with your market who will then become your customers. People want to know that you also understand your business. This establishes a trust for the products and services.

#5 Emailing or cold calling

This is the step where you engage with strangers. Before sending someone an email pitching your business, make sure you know them from someone else. This could be someone introduced to you by a friend or colleague.  You can also “stalk” them by first doing a research on their needs then send them an email with a possible solution to the need.

#6 Giving your products/service for free at the initial stage

People love freebies. You can offer your product/service for free during beta stage then price it later. This tactic will attract users who will later convert to paying customers. The users will also provide feedback which will help in improving the product or service.

#7 Use paid Advertising method

If you have the money, you can use paid advertising methods to get the first 50 customers to your business. Facebook ads and Google ads are the best-paid advertising platforms. This may not be the best option if you are looking for feedback and reviews.