Go for the consumer

When someone in a startup tells me that they are going for the enterprise segment, I get a ‘gulp’ feeling. In fact the only thing that makes me more anxious is if the startup is going for the public sector.

Why?

Because it can be super tricky to actually sell what you’re doing to them.

In the enterprise your user is often not the one actually paying the bills – especially for larger accounts. This complicates your sale; it doesn’t really matter if rank and file users are excited; if the person, who is going to fork over the cash doesn’t really see or understand the value of what you’re doing, it all may amount to nothing.

Best case? You can spend months and months and months closing just one sale. Worst case? There won’t be any sale despite your ongoing, costly efforts.

For public sector it can be even worse;

Take the complexity of the enterprise sale and add political layers, various discussion and decision fora that need to get aligned without any timely deadline and a procurement process where someone completely detached from what you’re trying to sell is going to decide IF and WHEN they will open up the tender process that’s relevant – and crucial – for your ability to make a substantial sale.

It can quickly turn into a nightmare. And a costly and frustrating one at that with little or no luck in the other end.

Now, I am not saying that it can’t be done. Of course it can. It’s just hard and extremely risky, and you will have to fight more than most for whatever deals you’re able to close. But once you get that done, the reward can be good as well; bigger deals, longer terms, more stability on your revenue etc.

However, I still like the consumer play the most; the shortest possible way to someone with a creditcard willing to pay for whatever kind of relief you bring to the customers pain.

To me, the consumer approach has several advantages;

It can be easier to figure out what the right product is because you can better experiment your way towards a better understanding of your future customer and her pain(s). Your user is your customer.

It can be more efficient to market and ultimately sell, because the journey to get to the individual customer is easier to map and get right.

It can be easier to at least drive trial of your product or service to give consumers a taste of what you can offer – and then deliver above and beyond, so they fall in love with your solution and stick around for more.

And ultimately it can be easier to get the satisfaction of actually having helped someone be better off because of something you did and made available. A feeling you really shouldn’t discount.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

The HelloFresh test

One of the basic common rules for startups is that if what you’re working on is worth doing, you’re bound to have competition (unless you’re operating in one of those rare spaces, where you have spotted something before anyone else, of course).

With so many services – especially in the consumer space – feeling more or less alike or at the very least trying to serve the same need or solve the same problem, you need to ask yourself, what the differentiator between success and failure is going to be.

There are quite a lot to choose from, but one of the ones, I increasingly believe a lot in is the end-to-end Customer Experience, i.e. everything from the smoothness of using the product and get what you need to the overall feel of the entire experience.

If you want to learn from the best – or those believed or rumored to be the best – there is only one way to go about it: To try the service out and see for yourself.

For that reason I have made a personal decision:

I am going to be trying out a different services in quite crowded consumer spaces over the coming months to get a sense of how those that get singled out for their Customer Experience and their ability to execute ruthlessly against it actually work.

I have already signed up for the first one: HelloFresh.

HelloFresh is rumored to be a cutthroat business that are very good at executing flawlessly in the crowded meal kit market.

They have just entered the Danish market, and I have signed up to give it a spin. The Danish meal kit market is super crowded with all sorts of services, and I have previously tried a few without being overly impressed.

So I am very curious to see, if my experience with HelloFresh is going to feel any different – if I can FEEL the execution. And what – if anything – I can learn from it to bring to the other things I am working on.

Because, yes, it always pays to get inspired from other industries for what you’re trying to succeed with yourself.

I will keep you posted on what I learn.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)