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Sell It Before You Build It

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 5, 2007

In the movie Field of Dreams, the advice to Kevin Costner’s character was "If you build it, they will come." This is precisely the wrong advice for building a company. In business, you must get market validation before getting too deeply entrenched in the development process and committing time and money to a project where there may not actually be demand at the price it will cost to build it. There is no better way to assess if a product is viable than to get actual feedback from qualified customers.

Customers keep you honest. They will let you know right away if your offering is as good as you think it is. Too many companies have followed their vision to build a truly outstanding product only to find out that no one is interested in buying it at the price they can afford to offer it. There is no better way to make sure a product is marketable, with the right features, at a price that will be profitable for the company, than to go out and find actual customers for the product.

So don’t be afraid to get out there and sell it even before you’ve finished building it. Also worth noting is that a few early-adopting, paying customers on a beta/prototype service will significantly increase your ability to raise money at much better valuations!

Sean Morgan
CEO and Founder
Critical Mention and ClipSyndicate
New York

Reader Comments

ajay kumar

April 23, 2007 5:51 AM

Couldn't agree more on this! Listening and engaging with the customer right from beginning is a good way to be a successful company. If I am right, what Sean is trying to say is, learn with your customers to build an enterprise -- don't just throw your service/product/expertise at a customer which may not be received well at a later/critical stage.

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