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10 Things Startups Shouldn't Do With a Potential Customer Profile


Your idea, product, or service is amazing, but you need to find people that want to buy it. Save yourself struggle and strife by working out potential customer profiles before you do anything else related to your startup.

Now, what is a potential customer profile? Simply put, it’s a characterization of your ideal customer. It’s an outline of the person you think would be most interested in, and would most benefit from, your product or service, and therefore want to buy it.

As you first get started down the road to determining your ideal customer and figuring out his or her profile, it’s good to know what NOT to do. The following 10 approaches should be avoided when determining your potential customer profiles. Try the tips that follow each one instead!

1. Don’t Only Think About Yourself 

You are a special flower, indeed, but there’s only one of you. While a single potential customer profile might line up with your own characteristics (and there’s no guarantee), be sure to think about all those other people in the world, too, and what might appeal to them.

2. Don’t Ignore Feedback 

You’ve probably tried out your product or service on a couple people. Never disregard what they have told you they like or dislike about it. Remember who said what, and use that information to develop personas. Keep specific people in mind, even, if they had something insightful to say.

Customer_Profile_Small_Magnet.jpg3. Don’t Copy the Competition 

The marketplace is crowded, and there are probably a few products or services similar to yours out in the world. Even so, don’t copy what those people do. Perform your own research, reach your own conclusions, and act accordingly.

4. Don’t Try to Appeal to Everybody 

You can’t be everything to everyone, but you can be something great to a large enough group that keeps your business solvent. Focus on finding out who those people are, and forget about everyone else.

5. Don’t Sweat Losing Non-Ideal Customers 

There will be many types of people that simply won’t qualify as ideal potential customers. That’s okay. Letting go of them and focusing your efforts elsewhere is for the best, we promise.

6. Don’t Guess or Assume 

It’s all too easy to say, “I think this is what my potential customers will be into.” If you don’t know that for sure, though, don’t act on the impulse. Instead, go back and do some more research, seek additional feedback, and keep an eye on trends.

Customer_Profile_Small_2-1.jpg7. Don’t Wall Yourself In 

Other people know different things than you do, and there are resources available to open up worlds of knowledge and perspective with which you are unfamiliar. A more well-rounded view of your potential customer will result from seeking out both.

8. Don’t Disregard Unexpected Data 

You may find that what you assumed would work does not, but something else you’d never thought of has a lot of potential. Follow up on the latter, and see possibilities (and find customers!) that were unavailable before.

9. Don’t Lose Focus 

The rabbit hole in which you’ll work on your potential customer profiles can go very, very deep. Be sure to always keep your head up, and to remember that this is just the first step in a much longer process.

10. Don’t Move On Too Soon 

Do you think you have an okay idea who your ideal customer is, and you can work the rest out later? That means you’re not finished. Keep working until you know these personas through and through, and avoid later pivots and embarrassment.


Now that you know who you’re talking to, what are you going to say? Better yet, who’s going to be creating that messaging—because I know you don’t have time for that! Figure it out with our FREE guide to blog outsourcing.


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personas, content strategy, startups

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