In this chapter, I discuss some common issues that entrepreneurs encouter while trying to achieve product/market fit.
- "Should everyone think my idea is good?" is a common question asked by inexperienced entrepreneurs. The answer is most certainly "no:" as explained previously, startups are inherently contrarian. That is why, if everyone thinks your idea is good, then you might be too late or your idea might be too obvious to make for a defensible business. It is far better to have a few passionate customers than many passive supporters.
- Competition is present in every opportunity worth pursuing. As/if your company achieves product/market fit, it becomes more and more important to pay attention and react to competitors. However, especially early on, startups really should be focused on delivering and proving their value-add, rather than thinking how to defend their piece of a pie which doesn't even exist yet.
- Being first to market certainly gives bragging rights, but there is little evidence to suggest that it secures market dominance. What really matters is being the first to product/market fit. Don't be fooled by flashy press releases into thinking that the game is over.
- Stealth and NDAs are often used by inexperienced entrepreneurs to "protect" the idea they are working on. The vast majority of the time such secrecy is a bad idea, because most startups' biggest challenge is not other startups but apathy. Entrepreneurs benefit tremendously from getting as much feedback as early as possible and run into trouble when being stealthy prevents them from interacting with their target market. What is more, startups are inherently contrarian and the people who are likely to "get it" have their own ideas they are excited about. These factors futher diminish the likelihood that your idea is simply copied. That is why I recommend having a bias for maximizing feedback, while still using common sense and not revealing the entire secret sauce.
- Interacting with the press happens naturally in the course of introducing new products. The key thing to remember is that reporters have a unique point of view: they are trying to bring an interesting story to their audience. Understanding what is perceived as a valuable story can go a long way toward helping you get more press coverage.
This chapter concludes the section on Achieving Product/Market Fit. In the next two chapters, I provide some concluding remarks.