For the past decade I’ve been preaching to raw startups that they must find an unfilled niche and dominate it. Then move on to successfully tackle other market segments. But I’ve found my historical examples are way out of date. None of my mentees know that Microsoft first product line was programming languages and its sole customers were programmers. (No one called them “developers” back then.) In fact few of them were even born when Microsoft was founded (1975)!
Docusign is my new example of starting with a unserved niche, then expanding their market reach:
The company started as a provider of electronic signatures serving the U.S. real-estate industry and has expanded to track, authenticate and archive all types of digital documents for insurance, consumer goods, enterprise sales, financial, pharmaceuticals and other sectors. Customers include Salesforce.comInc.,T-Mobile USInc. and ComcastCorp. , according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
I can’t promise you that you’ll end up going public if you follow the Docusign model but you won’t fall into the classic startup problem of attempting to boil the ocean – trying to be all things to all people and ending up being nothing to anyone.