How to find the ideal customer for your startup in 5 steps

You can have the greatest product in the world but if you can’t reach the ‘right’ people at the right time, you might as well not have bothered.

So how do we go about edging closer to that all-important product-market fit?

Here is a quick, 5 step method we use at The Escape School to help people narrow down their target market as quickly and cheaply as possible:

1. Have you done the right kind of customer development?

Tip: Ask historical questions about factual behaviour rather than future, opinion based Qs which lead to false positives/negatives.

Good Q: How much time/money have you spent trying to solve this problem?

Bad Q: How much would you pay for X? What would be your dream feature?

Tool: Cheat Sheet Qs

2. Have you mapped out your potential personnas in detail?

Tip: The more you know about the your target customer the better! Complete at least 3, but ideally about 5 personnas.

A target market is not‘People who like ice-cream & have hands’

A target market is something like this: Personna Qs Example

3. Have you cross-checked your ideal customer criteria with your personna type?

Tip: Write a list of your criteria and score out of 10 how closely they match each of your personnas.

Example criteria might be:

  • Easiest to access
  • Cheapest to access
  • Most fun to serve
  • Most impactful to serve
  • Easiest to serve

Which one’s score the highest? Test those first.

4. Have you re-focused your sales funnel for this new personna?

5. Are you targeting one new niche personna at a time?

If not, the feedback you’ll get will be confusing.

This article was written by Ben Keene, Co-Leader of The Startup Accelerator course. Learn more about the programme and how you can join here.

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