- May
Posted By : Badri
Your customer cannot be an after-thought

It’s great that we have figured out that Everybody Cannot be our customer but that helps only to a certain extent. We need to go further and figure out who our customer is because only then we can address his/her concerns and be noticed.

Before we actually go on to mapping our customer, there is a very disturbing trend that I found in many startups and even in some businesses by serial entrepreneurs.

And that is:

The customer definition is an after-thought.

Let me elaborate.

In these cases, the founder  first creates a product, service or an offering mostly because they personally felt a need and then conclude that there should be others who share their need.  Once they have built it and in some cases even launch it and find the going tough, is the time they attempt to fit a customer into that. And when they do that, it is often quite late for any rescue of any kind.

Let’s listen to this recent conversation I had with the owner of a specialty restaurant. He was complaining that the table occupancy figures were very low despite his intense promotional measures.

I asked him,as I normally do, “Who is your customer?”

His immediate response “Those who live within a 2 km radius”

I was totally zapped. If it was a roadside joint offering local fare, I could understand his logic of attracting those people in the vicinity. But for a specialty restaurant? I probed further. “But why do you think they would be interested in your offering?”

“Because I am offering something that they are not likely to find easily. I have done mailers in the locality newspaper but the response is pathetic”

I could see the trap that he has himself created and walked into.

He had set up the restaurant in a locality for considerations other than the customer, like low rentals besides others. And faced with the problem of attracting customers, he is now looking at an unsuitable neighbourhood  to bail him out and worse, he is throwing good money after bad .

A mess, totally avoidable!

If we forget that a customer is someone with a problem that we attempt to resolve or has a requirement that we are trying to meet, we are digging our own grave

For Founders of Startups who do not want this to happen to them, we have designed the ExSell Consulting Service.


  • True. These are critical questions that need to answered from all angles even before the business models are prepared. And this article states well the attention we bestow. Good one.

    • Govind,

      Thank you. And it is shocking that even those who have been in business for many years are making this tragic mistake in their ventures.


  • I am pleased to note that the Ancient Query of yours has worked and is still working for you and others !

    Thus Spake the New Age Sage !

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