Whether you are about to launch your new software or have launched, I will guarantee that more than 90% of you have not established a product market fit for your product and this is a HUGE problem.
We know that most startups fail because they build a product that no one wants or needs. Entrepreneurs tend to have so much excitement surrounding their products that they lose touch with the point of the business in the first place; serving a customer that needs their help.
I want to first start off by saying, STOP FALLING IN LOVE WITH YOUR FRIGGEN PRODUCT! In a few years it will be obsolete (especially with todays technology growth ) but your customers will not be. Plus your product is never going to pay you…ever. BUT, hopefully customers will. Bottom line is when you fall in love with your product you lose track of reality and you cease to focus on the true nature of entrepreneurship, that of getting solving real problems and getting paid for it (hopefully).
Another commonality I see often is the lack of the good old one-two punch. Most startups that launch lack a true focus and lack a true target customer. They often have several focuses, 4 back up plans, 5 different personas, and another backup plan. Some of these companies toil for a year or more burning precious time and money but not figuring out that they need to take a step back and figure out what they heck they sell and who the heck they are selling too instead of “we do everything for everyone.” That is the kiss of death.
My favorite thing to say to a first time entrepreneur is a quote by my good friend Tony Robbins. “Complexity is the ENEMY of execution.” They have too much going on, too many things they are trying to sell, too many people they are going after, too many channels they are marketing on. Any of this sound familiar?
This complexity leads to a whole bunch of wasted time, heart ache, arguments, frustration, and loss of MONEY….which entrepreneurs cannot afford to burn. You may have a great idea but I can guarantee you, you can cut over 75% of the “FAT” off your baby right now and it would be easier to sell and easier to get traction.
As you may or may not know, product market fit is all about validating your idea. It’s about proving that there truly is a market out there that wants what you have. You cannot validate an idea that doesn’t have a focused “result” you offer and a focused target customer you are trying to sell that result too.
So how do you narrow this down and get less complex?
How do you focus on selling “one thing?”
How do you focus on selling to “one customer?”
As one of the world’s greatest marketer says “Solve a problem for one person or a small group first before you solve a problem for everyone.”
For many of you reading this, that quote may have taken the wind out of your sales because you are focused on skipping this step and going right to solving everyones problem because going big is sexy and there is money to be made. Sure, going big is awesome but MOST that went big started small first.
* Amazon sold only to book lovers (WAY less people loved books back then)
* Facebook was made for Harvard college students (really for Mark trying to meet girls)
* Uber was made for people that got black cars (95% of the population has never been in a black car)
* AirBNB was made so the founders could rent their couch out to afford to live in San Francisco (help struggling young adults starting out)
* Apple sold it’s “Apple 1” computer to one store in Mountain View California for hobbyists (small small group of enthusiasts)
Granted, most of the companies about didn’t have the aspirations to get to where they got to but we can learn a ton from them in that they really solved small problems first. They proved their product market fit out on a small scale.
Disclaimer: Product market fit never stays in one place. The market changes and so do the needs of the customers so you must constantly validate product market fit over the lifetime of your customers or you will lose your edge and your customers will go elsewhere. Remember 11 out of the 12 original Dow Jones companies are gone and times are going to change way quicker than they did in the early 1900’s.
So what do you need to do to validate your product and to achieve product market fit? Well, after years of research, working with dozens of startups, and starting two of my own I have come up with a system that can get you most of the way there. Nothing is perfect and nothing is guaranteed but this way is 500% better than the “no system” most startups are using.
Remember, entrepreneurs build systems to increase efficiency and lesson pain. If you are building a system but not using a system to get to where you want to go, you are being inefficient. Very un-entrepreneurish of you.
*Product Market Fit*
1. Have one thing you deliver to the end customer not many
2. Be able to describe exactly what you deliver in one legible sentence
3. Find a place where you can be the first. If you can’t create a new place
4. Find out how successful companies like you sell and market and copy them
5. Have one established persona that needs your product more than anyone else
6. Interview those personas to prove out your theory was right
7. Find out if they will pay for what you have and if they “really need it”
8. Bring on early customers for free that match your persona and see if it sticks
9. If not, rinse and repeat until you get it right
That’s it! You can take care of all of this in less than a month and you have soft released your product. It’s going to be messy. Things won’t work. People will stop using it. But the feedback you get will be priceless and eventually you might actually find where your product fits by solving one person or a small group of people’s challenges.
Take it from my brother and I. We screwed up so many times so you guys don’t have to. We complicated our first few companies but we learned and realized where we went wrong. We learned to never let the product cloud our vision. We learned that if we thought we were narrow focused, we should be twice as narrow. We learned that truly solving one persons challenge first was the first building block to product market fit. We also learned that our customers will only stick around as long as we keep solving their challenges and anticipate what they need next.
Product market fit is THE MOST IMPORTANT thing to get right in order for you to enjoy the startup success that you so desire. Don’t skip this step.
If you want some more information on how to achieve your product market fit and validate your product my brother and I put on this training weekly. Join us if you like. https://goo.gl/RhgRXr