Your job is to build a venture that will search for real value and “the truth” of what your client really needs. – Hayes Drumwright
He pre-sold his concept to five potential clients preselling his idea; this is how you can do the same.
Explain your concept to these potential customers, without trying to sell it too much. Then shut up. If they encourage you pursuing your idea, then ask them to pay for the product. Not to make an investment, but to pay for it.
Every answer except for spending real money means they don’t truly need your stuff.
Drumwright applied this concept also for his actual company, POP. He wanted to fail fast, but when he asked five clients to tell him why he shouldn’t do it, this resulted in three different companies giving him $35,000 each based on the concept alone.
Sell It Before You Code It
A similar approach was applied by Dmitry Dragilev of JustReachOut, a tool that helps startups build relationships with the press (super-interesting service for all the Growth Hackers out there.)
What Dragilev have done was to sell his brand new product idea before writing a single line of code, with the goal of getting at least ten people sincerely committed to being a customer.
For Dmitry, this meant they were up to buying the services for something more than $50 a month for the product.
One of the most interesting parts of the story is that when he get started doing this, he never sold his product and its features, while instead, he was just asking for feedback about the idea. People love to give feedback!
If you’re about to launch your product soon, you can’t miss Dmitry’s story of how he did get traction for JustReachOut, read it here! It’s full of tips. It will unmistakably make you save your valuable time.
Achieve Product Market Fit, And Know When You Have It
Sean Ellis, founder of GrowthHackers.com and first marketing guy at Dropbox, has taken the abstract term Product-Market Fit and tried to have a precise metric to understand when you have achieved it.
He created a simple survey for a product, asking his current customers: “How would you feel if they could no longer use the product? –> Very disappointed, Somewhat disappointed, or Not disappointed.
In Ellis words, having at least 40% of the surveyed customers saying that they would be “very disappointed,” means that you achieved Product-Market Fit. Meaning, your product is a must-have for them in your market.
Admittedly this threshold is a bit arbitrary, but I defined it after comparing results across nearly 100 startups. Those that struggle for traction are always under 40%, while most that gain strong traction exceed 40%. Of course progressing beyond “early traction” requires that these users represent a large enough target market to build an interesting business.
If you haven’t reached product/market fit yet it is critical to keep your burn low and focus all resources on improving the percentage of users that say they would be very disappointed without your product.
Sometimes it is as simple as highlighting a more compelling attribute of your product – but often it requires significant product revisions or possibly even hitting the restart button on your vision.
Hope these three insightful stories would help you achieve a product market fit for your startup faster.
You have an interesting story about how you reached ProductMarket Fit for your Startup? Are you struggling to achieve Product Market Fit? Comment below