Why Should Startups Always Follow the Customer?

People don’t buy products. They buy solutions.

That’s classic wisdom in the business world.

However, startup founders often get too caught up in their own vision to ask one simple question.

What do our customers actually want?

It’s an easy trap to fall into. When a company is just starting out, they often have one set of ideas about what their product should do. They have a big, inspired idea that’s going to change the world, and they want to see it through.

Once it hits reality, though, their customers might take them down different paths than they initially imagined.

Here at CoSchedule, we think that’s okay. In fact, we spend a lot of time talking directly to customers to get their feedback.

And that feedback gets turned into real features you can actually use.

So, why exactly should startups follow their customers? Watch and I’ll explain (with a little help from our own J. Morgan Legreid):

 

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Transcript

Eric: The heart of CoSchedule and art … Sorry, I’ll just take panic with the sun. I got to get it all out.

As you can see I’m here at the beautiful state capital grounds in Bismarck, North Dakota, where CoSchedule is headquartered and founded in. You know, we are at this place, this epicenter of North Dakota, where the direction for our future is taking place for our great state. But the direction for CoSchedule has always been in our mission statement, and that’s to create products that our customers will love, it’s got to be easy to use, and it’s got to solve a pain point or an issue for our customer.

Alright Garrett, we have this subtle little motto around CoSchedule called do what you love. But it kinds of weaves itself through everything that we do and no matter who you are and doing at CoSchedule is want to make sure that we’re always creating a product that our customers love.

And I think, you’ve said this before, that, sometimes entrepreneurs get wrapped up in their vision or their dream for the product, instead of really following what the customers want. How do we make sure that we don’t fall victim to that same play?

Garrett: Well sometimes like the startup culture in that conversation is kind of like the culture of the idea, like, it’s the idea, the entrepreneur, and like the bravery to go out there and achieve it, and it’s not quite how products are made, you know.

And right from the early start of CoSchedule, we started incorporating our customers, before we’d actually launched anything, before we were really even public, we put together a group called copilots, and these copilots were 10 or 20 different potential users that we showed wire frames to. We showed them, sometimes, working products, and we gave them access to all kinds of things and just listened to them in a weekly Google Hangout.

And we got just lots of random conversation. We understood what problems we were actually solving for them, and I think, you know, as a company that’s the goal is to get past your idea, and then understand the problem, and then solve the problem.

Eric: You know I’m loving this idea of talking to people about following customers needs. Let’s go find some, let’s go. Oh there he is, J. Morgan, how’s it going man?

J.Morgan: Doing well Eric, how are you?

Eric: This is where the magic happens, right? This is the garage where all the design and development takes place. I was just chatting with Garrett, we’re talking about always following the customers needs. So give me a tangible example of this J. Morgan.

J.Morgan: So for the last couple of years customers have been constantly asking for this way to cross collaborate between different pieces of content, kind of bring it all together under one project. So a couple of months ago we just launched Marketing Projects, and that was a key feature where we were back and forth with the customer a lot, doing different versions, trying to figure out exactly what they wanted and how they wanted to use it, to ultimately make that final product.

Eric: At CoSchedule, we’re solving a problem in a market where people are desperate for a solution. And we always feel like following customers needs is always a sweet recipe for success. Remember, people don’t buy ideas, people buy solutions. Thanks for joining us at over here at CoSchedule, on our quest to organize the world one marketing calendar at a time.

And that’s a wrap for this episode of #OverheardAtCoSchedule. Subscribe to our YouTube channel below and never miss an upcoming episode.

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