At early stage finding the first Product/Market Fit is incredibly hard. One common misconception about PMF is that it’s a binary event: you know once it happens and you either have it or not.
In a previous post I defined PMF as “aligning Product, Distribution & Customers”:
It happens when the product (= set of features that have a clear value proposition) resonates with customers (= which are of a certain type and have defined needs) that you know how to reach and convert (= through marketing and sales).
The first consequence of this definition is that you’ll get to PMF by slowly aligning the three components (not binary but gradually) and the second consequence is that this “balance” can be broken whenever your product, distribution channels or customers change.
In that perspective Product market fit is a bit like walking on a slackline.
Finding your balance for the first time is tough…
When you begin, finding your balance for the first time can be tough:
And so is finding the first Product / Market Fit.
But maintaining the balance for a long time is tough too…
The part that people often underestimate is how difficult it is to keep this balance once you found it. You need to coordinate all your limbs and work with all your muscles at the same time:
Keeping your product market fit intact will require constant effort and before you really scale you’ll probably fall a couple of times.
The more you master it, the scariest it gets…
If losing your PMF for the first time very often feels like this:
Once you’ve become a master at it and your company starts to scale, keeping your PMF intact often feels like this:
PS: this post was inspired by the slackliners in the park next to my office. I’m myself not really good at it 😉