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Market Development Stage 1: Part 1 - Getting to the Heart of Product/Market Fit

Keep it simple. There’s no better advice in the world than that.

And when it comes to finding your company’s product/market fit (PMF) - that little dose of wisdom is going to go a very long way.

In an early stage company, you are not afforded the luxury of time or money to figure out why you exist. You need the answer to that fundamental question ASAP. Fail to figure this out - and your company’s lights are going to be shut off quicker than you think.

So what do you do? How can an early stage company rapidly determine and iterate on their PMF before that window closes? Keep it simple.

In this blog post, we are going to cover key questions that will validate the market need for your solution and uncover your most attractive customer. As a reminder, the most attractive customer is one who has a pain that your solution can solve, values your solution’s advantages, and would be crazy not to buy your solution if they understood these advantages.

The Heart of Product/Market Fit: The Market Need & Customer Pain

Now, I’m not saying it’s easy to identify and validate a market need. Let me be clear. It is an EXTREMELY hard thing to do, but you don't need to over complicate it.

By now - you most likely have a working hypothesis about why you think the market needs your solution. Otherwise, you would not be in the early stages of product/market fit. So what’s next? Validating the market need and building a hypothesis about your most attractive customer. So where to start?

By breaking your working hypothesis down into a few simple questions, you can start down the right path towards product/market fit. These questions will be your compass, solidifying your market need, while also illuminating critical clues as to who your most attractive customer may be.

What is the customer’s life like right now without your solution? What pain does the customer experience without your solution? Who feels that pain? Be specific! What is the cost of that pain in real dollar terms? Think time, revenue, expenses, customer retention and risk of project failure.What is the cost of that pain in strategic terms? Think competitive advantage and market share.What’s the reason or compelling event for the customer to take action right away? Is your customer willing to do something innovative to fix that pain? These questions will form the core of your product/market fit.

Take them seriously!

In upcoming posts, we go deeper into how we can use these customer pain points to connect to the market opportunity and build a segmentation attack plan.

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