**The Importance of Finding Product/Market Fit**
Finding product/market fit is often considered the most challenging aspect of bringing a new product to market. It involves being in a good market and having a product that can meet the needs of that market. Many entrepreneurs and product builders struggle to achieve this elusive fit, leading to failed ventures. In this article, we will explore the concept of product/market fit and discuss a new methodology called Deliberate Startup that aims to increase the odds of finding product/market fit.
**The Lean Startup and its Limitations**
The Lean Startup methodology, popularized by Eric Ries, emerged as a response to the failures of dot com era startups. It encouraged entrepreneurs to launch a minimum viable product (MVP) quickly and gather feedback from real users. However, despite following the Lean Startup principles, some startups still failed to find product/market fit. One such example is Anywhere.FM, a web music player startup that achieved significant user growth but struggled to find a viable business model.
**Learning from the Successes of Spotify**
During the development of Anywhere.FM, the founders came across Spotify, a music startup founded by Daniel Ek. Unlike Anywhere.FM, Spotify took a different approach and spent two years building its product before launching it. Despite contradicting the principles of Lean Startup, Spotify went on to revolutionize the music industry and achieve tremendous success. This led the author to question what sets apart successful ventures that find product/market fit.
**Introducing the Deliberate Startup Methodology**
The author’s quest for a better process to find product/market fit led to the development of the Deliberate Startup methodology. This modern approach aims to address the shortcomings of the Lean Startup and enhance the chances of finding product/market fit. The Deliberate Startup methodology offers the following improvements:
1. Thoughtful Planning: Instead of agnostic experimentation, the Deliberate Startup encourages entrepreneurs to start with a thoughtful plan. This involves documenting the initial product strategy in a PMF narrative document, which outlines key assumptions across six critical dimensions.
2. Diversified Validation Techniques: While the Lean Startup focuses on launching MVPs, the Deliberate Startup expands the set of validation techniques. Entrepreneurs are encouraged to identify the riskiest assumptions of their product and tailor the validation process to mitigate those risks effectively.
3. Clear Metrics for Measuring PMF: The Lean Startup lacks specific metrics for measuring product/market fit. In contrast, the Deliberate Startup provides actionable and clear metrics to evaluate PMF. It also offers guidance on the next steps based on the stage of the PMF journey.
4. Balancing Product Development and Traction: The Lean Startup tends to prioritize product development over sales and marketing. However, the Deliberate Startup emphasizes the importance of traction development alongside product development. It offers strategies for determining initial short-term traction channels and establishing a growth loop for sustainable growth.
**Transitioning Away from the Lean Startup**
Although experienced product builders have moved beyond the Lean Startup, it remains a popular approach among first-time entrepreneurs. However, the Deliberate Startup methodology aims to offer an actionable alternative that increases the chances of finding product/market fit in future ventures.
**Join the Deliberate Startup Program**
The Deliberate Startup methodology is now available through a 4-week, part-time, virtual course offered by Reforge. This program is suitable for product builders, including product managers, engineers, designers, and marketers. It is applicable to both early-stage startups and established organizations seeking to expand their product portfolio. The upcoming cohort of the Finding Product/Market Fit course begins in March.
**Apply to Reforge Today**
To take advantage of the Deliberate Startup methodology and improve your chances of finding product/market fit, apply to Reforge today. The program offers practical guidance, techniques, and strategies to help you navigate the complex process of achieving product/market fit.