5 Critical Things to Get Right Pre-Product-Market-Fit

2 min read

Your life as a founder before product-market fit is about getting 5 things right in a sequence.

  1. Understanding the pains faced by the niche to get their job done.

  2. Selecting which one to solve.

  3. Solving it creatively through a mechanism that creates differentiation against existing options.

  4. Communicating it to your niche that makes them feel understood.

  5. Making your product sticky that your niche loves to repeatedly buy, use and refer.

Don’t start with an idea. You will end up trying to find 1 (solution in search of a problem).

You should be iterating in the step not pivoting your 1 when you’re at 3.

Lean startup is about validating the idea first (3). Design thinking has the right sequence from 1, 2, 3.

2 shouldn’t determine large TAM at first. Large TAM is determined by selecting more adjacent problems to solve.

Don’t scale before getting the steps firing all cylinders. Your runway is about multiplying what’s working, not amplifying what doesn’t.

If you must throw money, stage-gate it after completing each step.

Me-too copycats will achieve faster time-to-market-fit since category creators figured them out first. But will always be behind unless they out-innovate them.

Don’t start another 10 min delivery startup. It’s a bloody red ocean commodity now. The winners are the ones with cash to burn in order to be the cheapest.

Innovators may use the same 1 and 2 but do 3 differently. Designers are trained to do this well.

Don’t hire copywriters to do 4. They won’t be able to write in a way that pierces that heart and pocket of your niche. Founders got to learn how to write.

Successful pre-sales happens if you do 3 and 4 right.

Focus on getting these 5 right and you’re halfway in your 0-1 journey. Then optimize pricing, channel, growth and team after PMF.