StartUp Founders: Finding Nemo

March 31, 2024 3 mins read
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Dear Reader,

Founders struggling to find customers? The issue lies with you, your messaging, your product, your strategy; not the prospect. Likely a result of random acts of marketing, prayer, and doing too much, too moderately. (𝕏 Tweet)

Maybe time for a switcheroo (aka strategic pivot)? It starts with building your (ICP) Ideal Customer Profile.

TLDR; Your ICP should guide every decision, every message, every feature. Laser focus on the one person with the authority, capability and pain. (Workbook)

LAST WEEK’S FRAMEWORK:

2.2 Breaking Into Your Market: Barriers To Entry

LET’S GET INTO IT:

Your ICP is a person, not a logo: You do not have time to differentiate between the ICP and buyer persona (who pulls the trigger), they merge into one champion. The person who feels the pain, has the authority to decide, the ONE individual perfectly aligned with your solution’s capability to address their needs and capable of conversion.

Defining your ICP also means recognizing who it isn’t (for now) – long sales cycles, critical integrations or demands outside your current capabilities are mid to long tail targets.

Pinpointing the one person who not only suffers from the problem you solve but is actively seeking relief. Forcing you to stop being so broad and focus on precision, understanding that target so deeply that your message resonates so viscerally it triggers a reaction (click).

Abandon the random. This structured ICP playbook helps you explore a strategy based on alignment, value, capability and empathy.

SU002.3 Your Atomic ICP aka Finding Nemo by James Sinclair

Start with ICP 001 from your myriad of ICPs. Before the solution value, assess Capability & Authority. Does this target have the financial capability and the decision-making power – if they cannot buy your solution, then value is irrelevant.

Deep Dives if You’re Still Here:

Customer Interviews: The fastest way to ensure your hypothesis stands, iterate it and gather real insights is to get into conversation with the market.

Value Proposition Alignment: Your product solves a real problem, not just a feature set. Tailor everything you do to address the outcomes you deliver.

Persona Development: Obsess into crafting a detailed persona. Who are they really? What keeps them up at night? Find the nuance…

Founders often cast wide nets, wanting to show they are changing the world. But “everything for everyone” is often “nothing for nobody” – it’s humbling to be focused, it’s also mandatory.

If potential customers respond or show interest – a smoke signal – double down. Failure to convert, signals a mismatch in your sales efforts, not necessarily your ICP.

When you find it, everything changes…. everything.

Happy hunting… As always, you are welcome to grab time with me.

(LinkedIn | Tiktok | Twitter)​

James

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The StartUp To ScaleUp Newsletter is a deep-dive into the world of startups, exploring the intricate dynamics of entrepreneurship, strategy, and market competition.

With insights ranging from theoretical concepts to practical business advice, it provides thought-provoking perspectives and actionable steps to help founders start, scale, and fund their startup. Real advice from a 3x exited founder.

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