What Should I Be Doing If I Don’t Have Product–Market Fit?

I talked to two early founders today who asked questions related to similar challenges. With many things they could be working on, they’re not sure what they should be doing right now. Both have early versions of their products but no product–market fit.

We discussed the objective of this early stage of the entrepreneurial journey: building something that solves a problem well enough that people want to pay for it. That’s always the objective when you don’t have product–market fit. These founders have good products, but they’re missing something. They don’t yet know what that something is. If they figure it out and build it, they’ll find product–market fit and be ready to scale the company around this solution.

When I think about this stage, I see it as a cycle. Talking to customers, distilling what you’re hearing, improving the product based on that feedback, and finding out if customers like the new product are key. Anything that doesn’t support this cycle, important though it may be, probably can wait.