I love browsing Quora to see the most recent questions and what is popular. Stumbled upon a question on what is the best way for first-time entrepreneurs to find product market fit. Felt like I had some insight to add - so wrote a response and wanted to share it here as well.
I’ve been part of bringing both Performable (acquired by HubSpot) and Drift from an idea, to product market fit, and then to the growth stage.
With these experiences and also watch other companies grow - I think most people spend far too long researching customers, building models, scoping out an MVP, building said MVP, building sales/marketing collateral, etc - all before any potential customers ever see the product or even the idea.
Here is a super simple approach that we used and it worked:
Come up with an idea of what you’re going to build and who it’s for.
Make a super simple sales deck that outlines the problem and how your solution solves it.
Pitch it to at least 10 companies that fit your target. (Be sure to be straightforward that the product is coming soon.)
You’ll quickly realize what is bad about the pitch, the idea, the target, pricing ideas, etc.
Iterate until you find what works. (It will be obvious!)
Start selling those early adopters - give them an awesome incentive to get onboard literally before anything is built. (Yes - you will leave some future revenue on the table by doing this, but have super happy customers and people that will push you to be better.)
Build the product focusing on the highest impact features first. You can add all of the bells and whistles later.
Get after it with selling new customers! Far too often companies get stuck in a rut with 5–10 customers that steer them in a different direction. Get to 100 as fast as possible, then if they are all showing there is a better area to focus be sure to consider it.
Keep the process simple and talk to as many potential customers as possible. You’ll get there before you know it!