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In the chaos and frenzy of building a startup, there are plenty of places where you need to slow down to ensure you’re building a solid foundation to grow future value.
Your search for product-market fit is where you need to speed up.
A long time ago, Eric Ries introduced the concept of the Build-Measure-Learn feedback loop. The key is to get through that loop, adjust, adapt, and then start it again. You repeat this cycle until you find product-market fit. And then, as you scale, you use that process of iteration and innovation to ensure you don’t lose sight of product-market fit along the way.
Product-market fit is about more than just the products you bring to market. Fundraising is the search for product-market fit for your company. Hiring great people is the search for product-market fit for your team.
If your process is heavy and slow, you won’t get enough signal from outside of your company quickly enough. This means you’ll settle for something subpar, or your process will slow to a halt and ultimately fail.
Don’t let that happen.
Every time you put something out in the world, you must be prepared for what comes back. If it’s not what you expected, you need to be able to quickly adapt, iterate and then put it back out there again.
If you’re not getting enough signal, take more meetings with prospective customers, put your products in the hands of more users, or meet more candidates or investors.
If your internal processes are built on long roadmaps, product development that spans months, or a funding process that is single-threaded through your undeveloped investor network, you need to make some changes quickly.
You will find product-market fit through constant iteration, testing and feedback. The faster you can move through the cycle, over and over again, the quicker you’ll find the answers you’re looking for.