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Bambi Francisco Roizen · October 7, 2008 · Short URL:

Build your business by listening to your customers, rather than the VCs

Everyone's got an opinion. So, learning who to listen to and who to shut out is an ongoing challenge. But if you're going to listen to someone when it comes to your business, for goodness sake - listen to your customer. This is the lesson that Dan Beltramo learned at his startup Vizu. "When we first started our company, we were thinking of it as an opinion-oriented community site on which we would conduct research," said Dan, in this "Lessons learned" segment.

"What we found was that we were much more effective using our publisher network to gather information," he said.  

This change in execution came from a blogger customer who picked up Vizu's widget and put it on the blogging site, showing Vizu that it should focus more on its market research capabilities and less on trying to drive traffic to its site. After all, so much more data could be gathered on sites people were already visiting. "You really need to listen to your customers," he said. "You have to be willing to accommodate the needs of your customers who are willing to take the risk with you early on." 

Additionally, in the capital raising process, many investors have a tendency to have opinions. That's not surprising. But if an entrepreneur isn't committed to his vision, he can be easily swayed, and ultimately led down too many inconsistent paths. Entrepreneurs should know "what's really core and what's important," said Dan. 

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Bambi Francisco Roizen

Founder and CEO of Vator, a media and research firm for entrepreneurs and investors; Managing Director of Vator Health Fund; Co-Founder of Invent Health; Author and award-winning journalist.

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Vizu is the leading online brand advertising measurement system. Our Ad Catalyst real-time measurement infrastructure for assessing ad campaign effectiveness provides powerful benefits for publishers and advertisers. Through the use of Ad Catalyst, our clients gain actionable brand lift data on their online advertising campaigns, giving them a powerful ROI metric. Vizu is a privately-held company based in San Francisco, CA, with backing from leading venture capital firms Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Greycroft Partners. For more information visit: – Advertise With confidence.

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