Jeff Bezos — like him or hate him — is a true visionary.

He identified the oncoming e-commerce tsunami and was able to surf it better than anyone. In doing so, Amazon changed the world.

Apple, Uber, SpaceX, Airbnb and Tesla are among others that changed the world.

They changed the world by betting big on radical ideas that offered high risk and high rewards.

Find a big problem.

Build a great solution.

Onboard lots of customers.

It’s the perfect startup story. But it’s not your story…

Instead, you built a product that nobody wants.

So now what…?

Well, you have two options:

  1. Give up and try something else.
  2. Bite, scratch and claw your way back until you find Product/Market Fit.

Assuming you’re up for the challenge, you’ll need a strategy. That’s what you’re going to find in this guide.

What is Product/Market Fit?

The definition of Product/Market Fit is often debated but the description from Marc Andreesen (who first coined the term) provides everything we need to know:

This post originally appeared on the OpinionX blog.

In the early days of a startup, it is tempting to build a feature as soon as one person requests it. You’re hungry for new users and building the features they ask for seems like a logical approach to getting them signed up for your product. But this is almost always a big mistake.

As a general rule, building your product based on feature requests results in more pain than progress.

There are several reasons why you shouldn’t build a feature for just one customer:

1) Products need to be built with a vision

You’ve created a great survey and you’re already imagining the potential results. There’s just one crucial step standing in your way; you need to find participants. But not everyone has a big budget. Thankfully, there’s no need to worry. Here are 3 popular methods you can use to find people to complete your survey:

1. Distribute to your community

Distributing your survey to your existing community is the most common approach taken by people carrying out their research using OpinionX .

This method is suuuuper easy; just copy a survey link and email it to your community. Things aren’t always this easy though — we…

A red slot machine in an arcade.
A red slot machine in an arcade.
Photo by Carl Raw on Unsplash

For 6 months, our startup was stuck in a loop. We would admit that our landing page wasn’t good enough, re-write it, be happy for a few days and then the cycle would begin again. We understood the importance of getting our landing page right. We read every “how to write a landing page” guide and brainstormed headings for hours on end. Despite our efforts, we were never happy. Our poor conversion rate constantly reminded us that our messaging wasn’t landing properly with website visitors. It was painful, disheartening and time-consuming. We knew that we had to try something new.

There is a proven formula for successful startups: identify a niche, offer something better than existing providers, and communicate your differentiation to the people who care enough to pay you.

Within this formula, founders must choose where to be innovative and where it makes more sense to follow the well worn path. Choosing to unnecessarily innovate will waste precious time on features that add no value. Choosing the wrong things to innovate will leave you without any appealing differentiation. The key is to innovate only where it adds value for customers.

When we launched OpinionX in late 2020, we made…

Startups are experimental and chaotic. This culture of risk is also what creates the potential for disruption. It’s the reason that 80% of new businesses fail and why the biggest success stories often come from such unexpected places.

In the early days, most startups avoid formal processes. They’re seen as an unnecessary stifling of creativity. But an absence of process can lead to a lot of running in circles, aimless debate, inefficient learning and poor allocation of resources. So how can startups organize themselves effectively while remaining agile and open-minded? The answer is a problem-focused roadmap. …

You have an idea for a startup and you’re excited. This could be an opportunity to change your life, get control of your finances and live your dream. But before all this, you need to validate if your idea is solving a real problem that customers are willing to pay for. No customers = no business. You know that talking to customers is the first step for validating your idea and you have mustered up the courage to put yourself out there and start listening. Go you! Starting is always the hardest part, right? Wrong.

80% of new businesses fail…

Every great visionary understands the importance of saying “No!”. Steve Jobs famously said “People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are.” While this is a lovely quote, it can be difficult to live by in practice. Feature creep is real my friends.

If you hear yourself or anyone else on your team saying any of the following lines, take a step back and think twice:

1) “It won’t take long to build”

This is awful logic. Features should always be…

While prioritization is important for every job, Product Managers need to be ruthless at prioritization to a whole other level. As a PM, it’s up to you to decide which features should be built, which features require more research and which features should be abandoned altogether. This is an onerous process made even more difficult by conflicting opinions collected from customers, engineers, data analysts and the executive team. Luckily there are great prioritization frameworks available that help you to sort through the noise and decide what to work on. …

Éamon Cullen

Building next generation research tools at OpinionX

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store