How to identify your innovators and early adopters

When it comes to building momentum for your startup, a great idea and team will only get you so far. Sooner or later you’ll need to find those first few brave souls who are willing to give you a chance – your innovators and early adopters. 

But how do you find them and how do they find you? Here are four tips to help you find your innovators and early adopters and get their attention. 

1. Understand their motivations

Innovators like to stay up with the latest trends, almost to the point of being obsessive. They like being the first to try or buy a product, and they are often willing to pay a premium to get it. They’re the first in line and are often prepared to wait around for hours just to get a hold of the product they want. When it comes to purchase decisions, innovators are self-confident. They purchase a product because they want to, and are less likely to be influenced by the opinion of others. 

Early adopters are very similar but tend to be more motivated by what others think of them when making a purchase. While early adopters are opinion leaders, and will often introduce family and friends to new products and ideas, their purchase decisions will often be driven by a need to be respected and admired by those close to them. 

2. Become the expert

As we’ve established innovators and early adopters, want to be in-the-know. They read, research and consume information to identify trends, find new products and explore new solutions for existing problems. 

That is why the best way to get the attention of innovators and early adopters is to be the go-to expert. Identify what they will want and need to know and give it to them. 

Talk about new trends and industry developments. Talk about their problems and new ways to solve them. Give them the cutting edge, forward thinking, ‘inside information’ they are looking for that will help you to build their trust in your product or service. 

3. Go where your customers are

With a greater understanding of the motivations of your innovators and early adopters, you can then start to identify the market segments that might qualify as your first customers.  

From here you can determine their needs, wants, frustrations, challenges and most importantly start to uncover behavioural patterns regarding the media they would consume, the people they would listen to, the places they would visit and so on. 

Once you have this, go where your customers are. Follow their footsteps. Very soon you will be able to identify who your early adopters are and get a better idea of what they want from you and the messages they will best respond to. 

4. Leverage social media

Have a few theories on who your early adopters could be? Use social media to test and confirm which theory is right. 

Social media is a highly leveraged, low-cost way to identify early adopters. Giving you the ability to use targeted advertising to test different demographics, geographics and even psychographics you can quickly and easily see which segment will take action first. 

This not only gives you a clearer picture on your early adopters, but it also provides a platform to continue to educate customers, build buzz, capture contact details and ultimately sell your product, service or idea.  

Do you have any tricks for identifying innovators and adopters?


Five reminders for start up or start over entrepreneurs

Being an entrepreneur can be an incredibly rewarding and challenging journey. While we can have a great idea, set goals, plan ahead, research our market and promote until the cash cows come home, what we don’t always think about is our own development and frame of mind. 

To keep you in check here are five reminders for start up or start over entrepreneurs.

1. Know yourself

Know who you are and what you stand for. What do you believe in? What do you value? What are your work/life balance boundaries? What lines will you blur? What lines will you never cross? 

By asking yourself the hard questions and knowing where you stand, you will be better prepared for the challenging situations you will face. You will also be able to qualify ideas, people and opportunities faster and more effectively.  

2. Fail often and learn fast 

Often the fear of failure can hold us back from taking action or making a decision. But the truth is, failure is a learning process. The more you fail, the more you learn. You won’t get it right all of the time in business, but you can learn all of the time. The trick is to learn as fast as you can and learn your lesson the first time. 

In business, there will be opportunities that require you to take a chance, act on impulse, or make a quick decision. Do your due diligence, take calculated risks and let the facts, your experience or intuition be your driving force – not your fear of failing.

3. Focus on achievement not activity 

It can be easy to fall into the busyness trap, but activity doesn’t always equal achievement. 

While you may need to wear multiple hats to start, the goal is to pass those hats on as soon as you have the capacity to do so. While you may be great at those everyday to-dos, remember that your time is better spent on the tasks that will bring greater achievement, growth and profit to your business. 

4.  Remember you are not your business

When you are invested in your business, it can be easy to see it as an extension of yourself. So when you receive negative feedback, experience rejection from a customer or business isn’t going as well as you hoped, it can be easy to take it to heart and beat yourself up about it. 

This is why it is important to have a way to put it all in perspective because you won’t please everyone, customers and competitors will come and go, and you will experience highs and lows on your journey. 

I like to view business as a game. Sometimes you are out in front; sometimes you have to go back a few spaces, and sometimes you just need to wait to make your move. While you are the one controlling your business, it isn’t you out there on the game board.

5. Experience the journey, don’t just tick the box 

I’ll be the first to admit that ticking off those daily to-do lists can give you a great sense of accomplishment. But it’s important not to let your days be consumed with checking off to-do’s, or your months and years checking off goals. 

While it is good to keep moving forward, also remember to enjoy the moment. Celebrate the achievements, learn from the mistakes and savour the ups and downs. 

Entrepreneurship can be a wild ride, make sure you get to enjoy it!


Three startup marketing traps to avoid

There is nothing more thrilling than having an idea, bringing it to life and watching customers buy and spread the word. But marketing your startup isn’t always smooth sailing, there are ghastly winds that can blow you right off course. To help here are three startup marketing traps to avoid.

1. Not marketing early enough

While creating a high quality, value-packed product is important, if you don’t have interested customers to buy it, you don’t have a business. 

With all of the time, money and energy you spend in product research and development, you want to be in a position to reap the rewards of your hard work as soon as possible. This starts by marketing your product and building your audience early. While you may not have a product to sell, you still have a solution that you can build excitement around.

Visibility, credibility and building relationships with influencers takes time, particularly if you are self-funded and don’t have a large budget to throw at marketing and advertising. Better to invest the time early where you can also get valuable feedback from potential customers, than having to build momentum once your product is ready.

2. Thinking you are the customer

Creating a business idea out of your frustrations, observations and needs is often a winning formula for success. After all, if you have experienced it, chances are, so have others, right? While this inside knowledge into your customers problems, thoughts and behaviour allows you to be more relatable to your customers and make more relevant products, it can also lead you into the trap of thinking you are your customer.

When this happens your ideas, products and marketing become more about what you want, instead of what your customer wants. While you certainly need to take your preferences into consideration, you can’t afford to take your focus off your customers and what they want, or assume they are using your solution for the one problem. 

3. Not testing your assumptions

When you go into business, you tend to have an idea of the problem you solve, the people who have it, and the reasons why they want or need it solved. Though more often than not when you start to test the waters you can find that your initial assumptions may not have been as accurate as you thought. It could be that the market who needs your product most doesn’t want it, that your solution solves a bigger problem than you realised, or the motivations to use it are completely different.

I’m working with two startups at the moment who had a very clear idea of who their target market was and their reasoning for it made perfect sense. But after customer interviews and social media market research campaigns, they’ve uncovered an unexpected target market that is more motivated to use their product. 

So before you embark on a large scale marketing and public relations campaign to educate the market about your product, let the market educate you first.


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