Finding Your First Customer As A Purpose Business

In the world of business, the first customer is typically someone who purchases your product or service, hoping it will benefit them, regardless of its value. Toothpick sales statistics illustrate this; people often buy toothpicks for serving finger foods rather than dental use. Toothpick companies emphasize durability and effectiveness as their values, marketing them as miraculous tooth-cleaning tools.

However, the situation differs for purpose-driven businesses. Defining a customer here involves two conditions: willingness to pay (with money, time, etc.) and being an intended user of the product/service.

Why is having an intended user important? Unlike established toothpick companies, purpose businesses need ongoing feedback on their products/services during the early stages. Any feedback is valuable. Knowing your product’s relevance and applicability is crucial advice when seeking customers. That being said, how do you find your first customer?

Mission: Your mission as a purpose business plays a crucial part in your product/service’s relevance to your target audience. Let’s take an example, This generic mission statement, “Empowering change through sustainable solutions for a better world.” though effective, can be a starting point to understand who your customers are. Whether your company offers services or is product-based, the word “solutions” needs to affect someone.

Profile: Explore and ideate who that someone is; be as descriptive as you can. For instance, think of managers in construction companies dealing with daily heat or single fathers with three kids seeking time-management solutions. Your mission statement can guide the creation of customer profiles. Identify the specific group of people most likely to resonate with your purpose. Understand their demographics, preferences, behaviors, and pain points.

Measure: On a scale of 1-5, how crucial is it for the profiled individuals to access your product/service? This measurement matters, as it guides your next steps.If the scale leans towards 1 (least important), your material should educate your audience about why they need your product and how it benefits them. You might also attract those closer to 5 who aren’t aware of the problem and need to be educated. Your next steps depend on where they fall on this scale.

Channel: Identify the right channel to reach your customers. If you’ve followed the steps above, you’ll have enough information to determine where your customers spend time, whether digitally or in person. At Anima, for example, we relied on offline strategies for over two years to connect with clients— this was especially effective during COVID when competition decreased. Discovering the right communication channel significantly increases your chances of finding your first customer (if not more).

In our next edition, we’ll delve into how to effectively communicate with leads and prospects as a purpose-driven business.

 Today’s Action Steps: Focus on uncovering the real-world impact of your mission:

  1. Reflect: Revisit your mission statement and consider how it directly resonates with your potential customers.
  2. Relate: Find connections between your purpose and your customers’ needs or values.
  3. Imagine: Visualize scenarios where your offerings genuinely improve lives.
  4. Share: Give a glimpse into your mission exploration journey to your channels
  5. Engage: Encourage your audience to share their thoughts on how your purpose aligns with their needs.

Strengthen your purpose-business connection and stay tuned for next week’s communication insights.