I see it virtually every month.

Someone with a super-successful past in private equity, recruitment, or management consulting charges into starting their own company full of confidence, and it…slowly…dies.

They’ll normally be full of excuses (always someone else fault) but on the inside, it’s disbelief for them that they’ve failed.

Here’s a major reason why:

The mechanics of running a company when you don’t have product/market fit are VERY DIFFERENT to when you do.

When it’s a familiar business model and product people are aware of, you just need to find clients and serve them.

Maybe you need to be innovative on client acquisition/marketing, but the customer understands what you are selling and it’s a linear process.

When you’re on the hunt for product/market fit, You can not assume ANYTHING. “People will definitely want this, because (pulls a use case out of the air which hasn’t been tested on any users”.

When I did the Techstars accelerator, week one was all about all of our teams excitedly telling the program managers our ideas. Their reply? Sounds great. You have to sell that to someone this week. This caused major stress, as theory met brutal action.

Two books worth reading if you want actual useful feedback which could save your company:
“Ask” by Ryan Levesque
“The mom test” by Rob Fitz

I say all of this and take for granted I know my users, but the secret is I’m deep in the game. Having given just under 100 talks in the last year and spoken to startup founders, running this group, being in other groups, I have a psychic understanding of people who may be interested in what I do.

These things take time and effort. You can’t copy what other people say as it sounds hollow and your prospect can see through it, somehow.

Things I say to people I’m coaching:

Have you spoken to a customer today?
How can you be sure anyone wants what you have?
There are 10 other vendors that see the exact same thing that I could buy from right now. Why should I buy from you?

I don’t do many posts on this stuff as the growth hack stuff is sexier and more interesting, but NOTHING ELSE will work if you don’t understand the above. Your company will fail or limp along making little money if you don’t innovate on both the product and the market side continually.

How will you innovate this year?

Do you want Vin Clancy and Charlie Price to mentor you for all of 2018? We’re opening up a few places for people who want to massively grow their business this year. If you’re interested, sign up here