Despite how useful your product or service is to the world, it’s not possible for EVERYONE to be your customer–unless you’re selling water (something everyone needs to survive). When many new entrepreneurs are first getting started with a fresh idea for a new business, they are commonly asked who would be their customer. They usually answer, “Everybody could use this!”
The truth is that when experienced entrepreneurs, and particularly investors and advisors who have heard literally thousands of ideas, hear this they know you’re drinking the “New Founder’s Kool-Aid.” Honestly, no matter how great the idea, it’s simply not possible that “everyone” can use it, but most importantly, not “everyone” would want to pay for it even if they could use it. But don’t be discouraged. That’s actually good news for you.
When you first start out, you’ll more than likely bootstrap your company, meaning you’re paying for everything out of your pocket. This funding may come from personal savings, credit cards, 401k’s, etc. With that in mind, you’ll operate pretty lean and will want to use your marketing dollars wisely. That’s why it’s more important than ever to understand that everyone is not your customer. Can you imagine how much you’d spend on marketing trying to reach everyone? It’s critical to define one ideal customer type and market to them, focus on them, and assure they are your customer before trying to move into other verticals.