Does Your Startup Have a Customer Focus?

Creating a startup often leads companies down two certain paths: investment and product. Both are massively important for a company to scale, let’s take a few famous startup stories like Facebook, Uber, and Airbnb. However, the most crucial part of any business is to have a customer focus.

Don’t believe us? Here’s our story:

Our investment story

We were raising a £1m investment round, and I thought it was our last chance to really grow. We had previously raised other investments to get us to this point, but I felt we were at make or break.

Also, our cash was running out. We had one really strong VC lead that would be able to push us to the next level in Twine’s story.

They rejected us. By email. They wrote 2 sentences after I’d been waiting for 4 weeks for them to get back to us since our last partner meeting.  I’d spent hours in meetings and on due diligence. The reason they didn’t want to invest was that we weren’t making enough revenue. I felt incredibly frustrated as I had been clear from our first meeting what our financial position was.

I started to worry about where the next round was going to come from. The team discussed the options, and tensions were at an all-time high.

Then, I got an email from a potential customer. They wanted to proceed with the deal that we’d offered them a few weeks ago. It was a really good creative brief on Twine that would be valuable for us.

It hit me.

I’d spend the last 6 months fundraising when I could’ve spent that time selling to customers, not investors. If customers have a need, they’ll pay to have someone solve it, and we were definitely solving problems for customers.

The best thing is, customers aren’t interested in your financial projects, your team dynamics, and all the other questions that an investor will ask.
They care about you, your product, your price, and whether you will help them.

Customer focus

Once we made this decision to focus on our customers, it became easier. 6 months on and we’re on course for our first break-even month. We’re learning more about our service than ever before and I believe are in a strong position as a result.

Also, if and when we decide to raise further investment, we will be in a stronger position as we will have more customers and more revenue.

Sometimes it’s the setbacks that make you think. Focus on your customers, not investment.

Stuart Logan

The CEO of Twine. Follow him on Twine and on Twitter @stuartlogan – As the Big Boss, Stuart spends his days in a large leather armchair, staring out over the Manchester skyline while smoking a cigar and plotting world domination. (He doesn’t really). Originally from Salisbury, UK, he studied computer science at Manchester University but was always keen to break into the exciting world of start-ups, and was involved in a number of ventures before finalising his plans for Twine. When not wearing his chief executive hat (metaphorically speaking) he enjoys harbouring unrealistic expectations for Manchester United’s future success and live music.