Startup Success: 7 Hacks to Secure your first 10 Customers!

Newly launched start-up on the hunt for your first customers? Check out our top 7 tips on how to secure sales for your business!

April 2, 2020

So, you're all set. You’ve finalised the product. You’ve sorted the paperwork. It’s go time! 

Now to pop some paracetamol post-signing celebrations, and wait for the cash to start flowing in. Good times all round right? Wrong. Unfortunately, a product won’t sell itself. 👎

Fail to continue putting in the grind and you’ll soon be swapping that expensive champagne (or Prosecco, we don’t judge) for a K Cider and a kebab, as your product sinks alongside your dreams.

Only YOU have the power to make your startup a success!

Don’t worry. We’re going to bless you with all the info you need on landing your first 10 customers! 😇

  1. Use and abuse your network.

Start local and expand your contacts as you weave your way through friends, colleagues, and family. All opinions are useful and valid. Feedback is your best friend during your company’s early development stages, so take on board any pain points that may come up.

Questions are a great way to ask and learn about bettering your business - think of it as future sales pitch prepping! What do you like? What can I improve? Does this work? What else could I be doing?

Finally, set about introducing yourself. Whether it be partners, investors, or potential prospects, the first interactions start with a hello. 👋

‘A Hubspot study suggested that LinkedIn is 277% more effective for generating leads than other social media networks, with 80% of B2B leads coming from the platform.’

Another handy networking tip is to make appearances at trade shows and conferences. Getting your face out amongst the prospecting crowd is a great way to spread awareness of your brand. Take Etsy, for example, the online craft marketplace set about scouring craft fairs pitching to vendors across the country to get them to open a store on their site. Just look at them now! Where better to buy a *thoughtful* yet easily accessible gift for Mother’s Day? Goodbye last-minute panic buys! 👋

  1. Locate your niche.

When it comes to finding your customer base, your peers are your allies. Place yourselves in the heart of conversations by getting stuck into online forums, chats, and discussions. 

The most popular social platforms include Reddit (content is voted up or down based on popularity) and Quora (identifies the best answer to a question). 

From dancing cat videos to the murky depths of the deep dark web, there's a subreddit for everything. Don’t overlook the power of the people and their influence!

‘Technology communities are huge for Reddit and only will continue to grow. In 2018, Reddit saw a 24% year-over-year increase in total engagement (comments + posts + votes) in technology Subreddits.’
- Foundation Marketing, 2020.

Make sure you're active and on-the-ball to be the first in responding to a question. The quicker you post, the more exposure your answer gets.

  1. Cold emails 

As kids, we were always told that stranger danger was a bad thing. Well, when it comes to business, it’s the opposite! The skill of sending cold emails that work is all in the wording.

Put yourself in your prospect’s shoes and consider this: Does it look like spam? Is it attention-grabbing? Would I take the time to read it? Is it too *salesy*? Am I being clear? Have I got a defining call to action?

Remember to always research your prospect prior to reaching out, compliment something you admire about the business, identify their pain points, and layout exactly how you plan to help.

Check out our example below! 👇

Emailing provides a personable yet effective way of contacting prospects. Add some humour into the text and pretend your old pals, approachability goes a long way! 

Some great emailing software includes:





  1. Offer a freebie

From taste testing in ASDA to playing with the latest technology software, everyone loves a freebie (we’re cheap, what can we say 💁). Offering up a tester of your product (minus the payment commitments), could be the perfect way to generate some interest! 

Free trial:

When it comes to SaaS products, opting to enable a free trial is a must. You want to entice the user just enough that they fall in love with the product, so, come to the end of the trial, they don’t mind making the switch to a paid plan.


Yet another tactic for tempting the user is to provide a free version of your product whilst excluding other important features. Hootsuite is a great example of leveraging added bonuses as the user can experience the perks of pre-scheduling their content, however, may wish to expand their service to include paid extras such as access to reports, social analytics, and additional users.

5. Affiliate Marketing: The influence of social stars 🤩  

Want a quick fix way to grow your following and increase your conversions? Influencers are your guys! 

Whether it’s a shoutout on Instagram, exclusive discount code or a dedicated guest blog post, influencer’s pre-existing audiences could be the perfect step in reaching your target demographic! 

From Love Island stars selling car air fresheners (they really did peak in the villa huh? 👀) to online gamers reviewing unreleased footage, there’s a niche for everyone.

Spend time researching your chosen individuals and pre-plan your budget limitations, so you know exactly what you're asking for in a collaboration.

The affiliate markets your product, you track affiliate traffic via a unique URL, visitors from the affiliate are converted to paying customers and the affiliate receives a commission for the transition.

Speaking of paid advertising, if you're happy to splash the cash on financing your business promotions, then Facebook/ LinkedIn ads are a great way to push your business online. Set a budget, select a time period, choose your audience, add an information form, and launch your ad to bring the leads to you!

6. Get into your blogging groove 💃 

Although time- consuming, blogging is a great way to show off your company's knowledge and expertise. Whether you feature staff profiles, in depth-case studies, life hacks, or monthly news roundups, regular posting of high-quality content will skyrocket your company's brand!

Blogs steer traffic to your website:

Tactical SEO use (Search Engine Optimization) and keyword research will help get your content to the top of Google and in front of your audience's eyes. Test out some keywords/ phrases to identify the most commonly searched for questions related to your industry, and base your blog topic on this.

Some great SEO tools include:



Neil Patel SEO Analyser


Google Search Console

Grammarly (Not SEO related but a great shout if you want to double-check your grammar!)

Thought leadership:

Make your voice stand out the loudest in a pool of blog postings and advice columns. The quality of content you produce MATTERS

A well-written blog can do wonders for your company's reputation. Think James Watt from Brewdog and Steven Bartlett from Social Chain,  both thought leaders at the top of their industries. If you want to popularise your product, you’ve got to get your brand voice out there!

7. Outsource your problems away 👋

Struggling to get your sales off the ground? Enter outsourcing. The perfect cost-cutting solution for your start-up needs! Outsourcing is the practice of hiring a party outside of your business to carry out activities traditionally performed internally.

By outsourcing your weaknesses, the business owner can focus on other important tasks. Not only reserved for huge corporations, outsourcing can make a huge impact on the performance and sales growth of smaller businesses too. 

It costs approximately £30,614 to replace a sales person on a salary of £40,000. Ouch!
- Dotted, 2020.

Take us here at Dotted, for example, we help take new technology products to market via prospecting, demo’s and sales targets. 

Knowing when to outsource is unique to each company. Some may need more assistance further down the line with daily office tasks, and others immediately as you seek your very first customers. The outsourcing process allows business owners to assemble a skilled team without the additional cost and salary of a full-time employee.

Key takeaways:

Look we get it, life as a startup is hard. We’ve even been there ourselves! Just remember, the time and hustle you put into your business will all be worth it when you're at the top of 20 Stories, Pornstar Martini in hand, toasting to hitting your first sales target! 🍸

Strategies to consider:

  • Use and abuse your network
  • Locate your niche
  • Don’t be afraid to cold call (phone, email, etc)
  • Offer out a freebie (free trial/ Freemium)
  • Utilise influencers (and their existing followers)
  • Consistently post high quality content (blogs etc)
  • Outsource your problems away

So, you're all set? Go get em’! 👏

Got a new platform you want to sell? Dotted offers excellent outsourcing solutions to take your new product to market. Give us a call on 0161 974 4890 to speak to the team!