Just because you built it, doesn’t mean your “customers” are guaranteed to come
Joshua Davidson wrote this article
If you build it, they will come.
It’s one of the most memorable quotes of our recent time when it comes to novels (and also adapted into the 1989 movie, Field of Dreams, as you can watch the scene here).
It’s also this awkward mantra, this entitled belief that many entrepreneurs, CEOs, CMOs, leaders and so-called business “experts” seem to have in 2017.
Let’s be honest with ourselves, no, if you build something, users, customers, whatever your objective is, will not just come. You need to work for it.
It does not matter if you have the greatest product, the best company, hell, the most brilliant customer service on the planet. If you are not pouring in just as much effort into your marketing, you might as well not even try being in business.
Just being listed in a directory, on a search result, or submitting your new product to ProductHunt, BetaList or Reddit is not going to cut it. That’s not what is going to get your train moving, let alone running at full speed.
Sorry to break it to you.
For the early stage startups, you’re probably saying to yourself out loud, well, I do not have the money!
True, but being honest with you, neither did I when I began Chop Dawg either.
You know what I did back in the summer of 2009 when I just started Chop Dawg and had less than $100.00 in my bank account? I went door to door, asking for business owners and managers to talk to them about my services.
Every single day, from sunrise to sunset.
You know what we did at Chop Dawg when we had limited money, but a bit more labor as a resource to leverage instead?
We researched, and cold emailed, cold called, and cold messaged every business owner we could locate about our services.
You know what we did when we had a bit more money at Chop Dawg to allocate towards marketing?
We put the little bit that we had at risk in an effort for it to grow. We did mailer campaigns, small paid advertisements, business cards, and small sponsorships where we could.
You know what we do today with the revenue we are earning?
Allocating most of it back into the business, primarily towards our operations and growth; paid advertisements, content, new websites, more visual awareness, bringing in even more talent to the team.
Do you notice the common theme in all of this?
It’s that we are never taking our foot off the pedal, and leveraging the resources we have at our disposal to grow, to validate our existence, to keep taking us to the next level. Most importantly, to continue attracting new customers, clients, and fans.
You need to be doing the same thing.
If you’re a multi-million dollar operation and afraid to keep getting the word out there about your company, your product, I am sorry to break it to you, but you’re on your deathbed.
You just don’t know it yet.
If you are a brand new startup that just launched and think that posting on Reddit, ProductHunt, and BetaList is all that it takes to become the next big Goliath in the enterprise space, think again.
It does not matter how big or how small you are.
What is important is how much you are leveraging your strengths, your greatest assets.
Figuratively put on your bootstraps, grab a shovel, and get to work!
What you do now will determine if your company survives tomorrow.
If you lose that hunger, why bother? If you don’t put in the work to find customers, except the automated, lazy way, are you even trying? Are you just trying to make yourself feel busier, more productive than you are?
Are you indeed prioritizing the right way for the greater good of your product?
Listen, doing things like being listed in directories, submitting new products to relevant websites isn’t bad. It’s just the bare minimum, not the standard. You need to be putting in the work.
Yes, that means putting in a real effort to scale. That can be through your time when you’re small, or through capital and labor when you’re large. No matter the position that you’re in, go all in and remember that just because you build it, it does not mean they will come. You need to work for your customers. You need to work for your existence.