Texts with Founders: Let the waitlist wait.
Focus on “center of the bullseye” customers.
Welcome to the 26th weekly post from Texts with Founders — tested tactics for early-stage startups.
TWF is officially half a year old! 🥳
Since launch, we’ve helped numerous founders successfully close rounds in the worst funding environment in recent memory. We started 26 weeks ago with zero subscribers. Now we have founders building transformative companies, investors at funds like a16z, and operators at companies like AngelList.
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Let the waitlist wait.
When you start getting signups to your waitlist, it can be tempting to want to serve everyone. However, many may not be a good fit for your initial product.
In the beginning, focus only on the best customers; those who are really, truly, a smashing fit for your product today. This is especially important if you are doing manual onboarding. Don’t expand your customer persona yet—focus on those on the waitlist who are a great fit. If waitlist signups keep growing, broadening your initial customer scope might be unnecessary for a long time.
Consider companies like Tesla or Levels. They targeted those who could afford a high end sedan or were willing to buy an expensive continuous glucose monitor to track food’s impact on their health. Both companies aim to become more affordable and accessible over time. However, if they had tried to cater to everyone interested in electric vehicles or metabolic health from the start, they wouldn’t have succeeded.
Focus on the “bullseye customers” initially—even if it’s a small subset of those who are interested. They often have a high willingness to pay and believe you’re solving their problems. You’ll have plenty of time to expand later.
That’s all for this week — thanks for reading.
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“I met so many fascinating people in different stages of their entrepreneurial journey, some still full-time employed, some secretly working on their next thing, some exploring new ideas, and some already with shipped products and revenue.”
Jacob Rice (ODF19) is a former senior software engineer at Airbnb and participated in our latest cohort. ODF20 kicks off 1/26 — learn more and apply at beondeck.com.