Communities: A Great Way to Hack Product–Market Fit

For early-stage founders, achieving product–market fit is an important hurdle. Iterating on a solution until it creates enough value for customers to be happy to pay for it isn’t easy, but for a successful company, it’s necessary.

In a world where people are more distributed, I’m a big fan of early-stage founders creating communities around the problem they’re solving. Bringing people with similar interests together can create value for all of them.

For the start-up, building a community early is a great way to accelerate reaching product–market fit. Early community members don’t need to be customers or users. They just need to have an interest in the problem being solved. Passionate community members can provide valuable insights on the problem that help founders understand what solution to build. Engaged community members with whom founders build a rapport are more likely to try a new product and provide honest feedback on how to make it better. All of this can help founders develop a superior solution sooner.

For community members, being around others with similar interests makes them feel connected and understood. The community has lots of benefits for members. One is the free flow of information and knowledge, which is valuable because it can lead to outcomes that otherwise wouldn’t happen, such as job opportunities.

Communities are powerful and can be cost-effective. Start-ups should consider whether it makes sense to create or become active in a community for their space.