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8 Actionable Ways to Get Your Startup’s First 100 Customers



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What’s the one thing that every business wants? Is it money, fame, or endless resources? The answer is quite simple—customers. Having customers is the sure-shot way of ensuring that your business stays afloat in the long run. No matter how good your product or services are, without people buying what you sell, you won’t reach anywhere. However, establishing a customer base is one of the most challenging things a business has to do, especially if you are just starting.

If you also run a saas startup and want some ideas to build your customer base, you have come to the right place. Here we give some tried and tested ways to get your first 100 customers.

1. Use your existing network and build on it

Using an existing network of friends and family is something every business does without even consciously strategizing it. You tell your friends and family about your business and hope someone will make a purchase. That’s how it starts. 

However, with a bit of planning, you can significantly enhance your reach even with your existing network. Here’s what you can do.

  • Ask your friends and family to spread the word of your business among their circle by tagging you on their social media handles. 
  • If you already run a business, ask your existing customers to try your new startup’s products or services. It will be far easier to convince those already happy with your current business and will have a certain amount of trust in you.
  • You can also target the existing audience of a product similar to yours by conducting market research.
  • Reach out to your investors to spread the word about your business in their circles. They will happily do it as they have high stakes in your business and most investors have an impressive network.

2. Start a blog

“The pen is mightier than the sword” is an age-old saying, which still holds merit. However, in the digital world, it translates into blogs. With the internet and your blogs, you have the power to reach the entire world. Now a question comes to mind—Why blogs and not anything else? Here’s why:

  • Blogs enable you to connect with like-minded people and build lasting relationships. 
  • Blogs tell your readers what your business offers and how it can resolve their problems.
  • With your blogs, you can show others you are an expert in your business, and they can rely on you for answers.
  • Blogs are also a great way to bring online traffic and authority to your website. 
  • They also help you set the tone of your business in front of potential customers. 
  • You also get instant feedback from people on your products or services through blogs.

You can share your product stories and gain loyal customers and influencers for your business through your blogs. In addition, it would be great if you put microinteractions on your blog to improve user experience.

3. Increase your reach with cold calls and emails

If you can get your first 100 customers with your existing network, it’s incredible. However, eventually, you will need to reach out to strangers or potential customers, and that’s when cold calls and emails come into the picture.

Cold emails are emails you send to people who may be interested in your services but don’t know you yet. Cold emails are most effective when you have a mutual connection with the sender that you can use as a reference. A prime example of that is an email sent by the co-founder and CEO of Zapier Wade Foster sent to Andrew Warner.

No matter how good your email is, there are always chances that the person may delete it without reading it. In contrast, calls are harder to ignore. Try cold calls and talk to your potential buyers and understand why they want to or do not want to make a purchase.

4. Give away freebies

One thing consumers find hard to resist is freebies. Whether it is your product sample or a trial demo of your softwares, you can easily convince potential consumers to purchase if they liked your product during free trials. You can even share a promo code with your potential customers to further lure them into the purchase.

However, you need to ensure that the user experience when the potential customers use your service is exceptional; otherwise, you will lose a customer forever. It is the stage where you can win their trust or lose it entirely as first impressions matter.

“What do you need to start a business? Three simple things: know your product better than anyone. Know your customer, and have a burning desire to succeed.” – Dave Thomas

5. Use the power of paid advertising

Advertisements have been one of the most effective tools in the marketing arsenal for a long time. And with digital platforms like social media and search engines, paid advertising reach has increased exponentially.

The micro-targeting options and cost-effectiveness make online advertising one of the most efficient tools for startups to increase their customer base. You can opt for search ads on Google, Bing, and other search engines. You can also choose display ads and video ads on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

6. Leverage online forums and communities

There are multiple online forums and communities like Quora, Reddit, and Inbound, where like-minded people share views, ideas, and opinions on everything. 

The power of online forums is that most people trust products or services that gain positive feedback from users. It helps you build trust among your potential customers. People who like your product will happily promote it on these forums through various means. If someone comes looking, they will see the proof through other’s opinions. 

7. Don’t forget about social media

In the current age, the power of social media is unbeatable. Nearly 4.8  billion people use social media in 2021, which means your potential customer reach on social media can be massive.

There are multiple ways through which you can leverage social media for your business to gain customers. Some of them are:

  • Influencer marketing: Influencers are people on social media who have thousands of followers. They have the power to influence their followers through their content. You can collaborate with such influencers to promote your business.
  • Social media buzz: Creating a buzz factor with your posts, tweets, and videos on social media platforms can quickly help you gain your first 100 customers. Follow the trends on social media and use them to build your rapport with potential customers. You can talk about your special offers, competitions, etc., to create the buzz.

8. Have 1-o-1 with your clients

One thing that is good about the initial stages of your business is that you have fewer responsibilities and more time on your hands. Use that time to connect with your existing clients and understand their problems. Ask for feedback about your product or services and implement those changes. 

It helps you develop long-lasting relationships with your initial customers and build your brand value in the market. 


These are just a few ways to find your first 100 customers. There are always more things you can try during the initial stages to increase your reach and revenue. It is all about researching the market and understanding what works best with your target audience.

Sean Davis is a professional content developer at DashClicks, a white-label digital marketing platform for small and medium-scale agencies. He also has more than 5 years of experience as a content strategist, blogger, and digital marketer. Sean uses his expertise to spread knowledge through his writing. He is highly proficient in describing complex technical concepts with simplicity to make them widely accessible. Sign-up for forever free access to the platform to scale your business to 7 figures.

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As an entrepreneur, I’ve learned that understanding market dynamics and choosing the right business model are crucial.

A few months into the startup, I was quick to gauge why it is necessary to go beyond the nuances of operational efficiency and the art of sustaining a business amid growing competition.

Collaboration is key.

The HR and the recruiting teams work with departments to foster a culture of collaboration, but what’s indispensable to business performance is the sync between the marketing and sales teams. What we’d consider as entrepreneurs is the need to ensure seamless collaboration to predict and achieve business goals together. In turn, this will help secure long-term recurring revenue for the business.

Besides, entrepreneurs need to focus on revenue as they gear up to take their startup from $0 to $1 million. The journey is filled with critical decisions, from identifying your target customer base to choosing the right funding strategy.

So, what next?

Read on… because here are five practical, results-driven strategies that you as a founder can implement to make a mark in their industry.

#1. Embrace the Lean Methodology

What is lean methodology?

It is all about pivoting resources to create more value for customers with fewer resources. 

This principle encourages you to be more agile and allow rapid iteration based on customer feedback rather than spending years perfecting a product before it hits the market.

Want to implement it?

Here’s what you can do.

Build “Measure-Learn” Loop: What I did was develop a minimum viable product (MVP), a simple version of the product. You can do the same since it allows you to start the learning process as quickly as possible. After launching MVP, measure how customers use it and learn from their behaviors and feedback.

Here’s what I can recommend here:

  • Identify the core features that solve your customers’ primary needs and focus solely on those to develop your MVP.
  • Know the feedback channels where early users can communicate their experiences, suggestions, and complaints.
  • Analyze user behavior and feedback to make informed product development and iteration decisions.

#2. Focus on Customer Development

Let’s talk about taking our startup to the next level. 

It’s not just about getting customers – it’s about really getting to know them. We need to dive into their world, understand their struggles, and see how our product or service can make a difference in their lives. 

It’s like we’re detectives, piecing together the puzzle of our business hypothesis by actually chatting with our customers

What would you ideally do here?

Understand Customer Segments: I’d say, start dividing your target market into segments and develop a deep understanding of each segment’s demographics, behaviors, needs, and pain points. The idea is to get into their shoes and really feel what they feel.

Ensure your Product Clicks: When starting up, think of what you offer and consider whether it clicks with what our customers need. My thought was “Does my product solve their problems? Does it make their day better?” Put yourself through a tough grilling session to show customers the value proposition and ensure that the product’s promise matches what our customers are looking for.

I’d recommend the following actions here:

  • Talk to them – through surveys, interviews, or even casual chats. The goal? To gather real, raw insights about what they need and expect.
  • Use the collected data to create detailed profiles for each type of customer. This way, everyone on our team really understood we were serving. I think this should help your startup as well.
  • Try out different versions of our product with a few customer groups. It’s all about feedback here – understanding if you’re hitting the mark or if we need to pivot.

#3. Foster a Data-Driven Culture

The digital world is highly data driven since it fuels key decisions in a startup. 

I believe it’s essential for us to build a data-driven culture. This means, you’ll move from making decisions based on hunches or assumptions. Instead, the focus should be on data analytics and insights to guide our strategies and improve our outcomes.

What can you do?

Use Data Analytics Tools: You should be using these tools to gather, analyze, and interpret data related to customer behavior, market trends, and our business operations. Here, consider the adoption of pipeline forecasting that leverages AI to find patterns in marketing data. 

In turn, you’ll get areas for improvement since it can analyze historical data and predict the outcome for you to plan your.

Action Items:

  • Pinpoint key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with your business objectives and ensure they are measurable and actionable.
  • Next, you can consider training your team to understand and use data analytics tools. This might involve workshops or bringing in experts to build a data-savvy workforce.
  • Once everything is in place, regularly review data reports and dashboards. This gives us a clear picture of a startup’s health and helps adjust your strategies and predict future trends.

#4. Strengthen Your Financial Acumen

A good grip on financial skills is important to steer your business towards growth and making sure it stays on track. For this, you’ll have to understand the money side of things, which helps you manage your cash flow. Think of figuring out smart investment moves and sizing up any risks that come your way.

Here’s a tip on how you can get savvy with your finances.

Maintain Rigorous Financial Discipline: I’m really focused on cultivating a strong company culture, one that truly resonates with our mission. So, I’d suggest fostering open communication and encouraging a sense of ownership and collaboration among everyone in the team.

Action Items:

  • Get to know your financial statements inside out – I’m talking about the income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement. These are like the vital signs for your business’s financial health
  • Use financial forecasting that helps predict your future money moves. With this, you will have a heads-up on upcoming revenues, expenses, and how much cash you’ll need. Also, research on the available financial forecasting tools that can make predictions spot-on.
  • Don’t go at it alone. Regularly touch base with financial advisors or mentors. With them by your side, you’ll have a fresh perspective on your financial strategies to ensure you’re on the right path to hit your business goals.

5. Prioritize Team Building and Leadership Development

It is crucial to focus on building a solid team and developing strong leaders. This means putting our resources into the people who are going to propel our company forward. 

What you’ll aim for here?

Creating a culture where everyone collaborates and every team member has the chance to emerge as a leader.

What I would do:

Cultivate a Strong Company Culture: This culture should mirror our mission and foster open communication. It’s important that it encourages everyone to feel a sense of ownership and work together.

Invest in Leadership and Team Development: As founders, we’ll have to make way for opportunities for teams to enhance their skills, face new challenges, and grow in their careers.

Some concrete steps that you should consider taking:

  • Begin with clearly communicating your startup’s vision, mission, and values so that every team member is on the same page.
  • Conduct regular team-building activities and workshops to boost skills and strengthen a sense of unity and collaboration.
  • How about starting a mentorship program within our organization? The more experienced team members could guide and support the growth of newer or less experienced folks.
  • Alas… encourage feedback at all levels. We should keep striving to create an environment where open, honest communication is the norm and everyone feels safe to speak up.

I know it’s one thing to get your head around these ideas and quite another to actually make them a part of your everyday business life. But that’s where the real magic happens, right? It’s all in the doing. 

As a startup founder, this means more than just being a big dreamer. How about rolling up your sleeves to be the planner who pays attention to the smallest details. Ultimately, these tips and more tactics around it will help carve a leader in you who listens and cares and the learner who’s always ready to adapt

So, as you’re either starting out or moving forward on this entrepreneurial adventure, keep these practical tips right there.

May these be your guiding lights, helping you steer through the wild and exciting world of building a startup that’s not just a dream, but a thriving reality.

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