Start With Customer Delight

This past week I had two conversations with entrepreneurs that boiled down to the same thing: every successful venture starts by delighting a customer. Simple, right? Wrong. Entrepreneurs love dreaming about the future, how the world should work, and what needs to be created. Only, as the creator of the idea, it’s easy to believe things should function a certain way.

We should sell to job titles X, Y, and Z because they’ve always been the buyers.

We should avoid doing X because it’s never worked for other companies.

We should charge X to ensure Y gross margins.

We shouldn’t spend more than X to acquire customers.

We should avoid custom work and one-off services as they aren’t scalable.

None of it matters if customers don’t love the product. Put another way, don’t optimize the business model around what makes a “good business.” Instead, optimize the business model around customer delight and then figure out the rest.

Start with customer delight. Without happy customers, nothing else matters.