Should you sell your product to Grandma? Getting your first transaction right.

Posted on September 15, 2011 by


So you’ve just had a brilliant product or service idea~Yay! You are dying to test your idea out – who do you go to?

Most likely you will start with your friends and family – if you are lucky they will tell you the brutal truth about your product/ service but most likely they may go a little easier on you, encourage your venture and send you on your merry way feeling pretty good about your idea.

So what is the problem here? You did not properly validate your idea with an objective party.  Your friends and family are naturally biased towards you – they like you and in reality your grandma would probably buy anything off you – regardless if it was good, crap or useful.

A better approach to testing your idea and/or first transaction is to find a REAL CUSTOMER – yes, someone you do not know, who would be willing to pay for your product because it adds value to their lives.  Using this approach you can validate:

  • Product: Does it add value to the customer? Is it complete? Are there any changes that the customer suggested?
  • Price: How much does the customer expect to pay? Are you too cheap/expensive?
  • Message: Does your sales pitch touch on the value proposition of your customer? Have you missed any features that are important to the customer?
  • Business Model: Can you make money? Viability of your cost structure? Suitable sales channel?

While Grandma can provide you some fast (and much needed) cash initially using Grandma as a first transaction deprives you of the ability to learn and validate your idea. In the long run, this can cause you to lose a lot of time. And ‘time’ is the most important asset you have starting out.

Disclaimer: Attending the number one entrepreneurship school in the country (Babson College) definitely has it perks – one big one is that you get to listen and learn from some great professors who have been there done that in the world of business and start-ups. Big shout out to Bob Caspe who inspired this post.