Thinking Techniques

Getting to market vs entering the market

While it’s important to look at your existing customers for insights and growth opportunities, it’s also important to look at the market and the customers you don’t have. It’s not uncommon for a business to have a core customer segment that plateaus or even starts to shrink — especially in tech. When this happens, we tend to look at other relevant markets that have a low barrier to enter.

Launching a lean MVP and iterating quickly works when you’re the first (or one of the first) to market. It doesn’t work as well when there are a number of more established, more functional, and more recognizable offerings out there.

If you’re entering a crowded and competitive space, you need to launch with something compelling to draw attention away from others. Making a case for users/customers to seriously consider you as the “noob” as a viable option against competitors they may have explored and recognized.

The Risk: You can get caught up on the idea of what is really “compelling” and lose a lot of time on research, interviews, iterations, etc. If that happens, others would have likely beat you to the punch and then you’re less compelling than you need to be and are now trying to catch up to the “table stakes” of that market.

The best thing to do is launch a compelling MVP. This requires a smart strategy in which your compelling “thing” is something you can ship quickly and market effectively. Getting alignment on that vision and being able to execute on it are an entirely different story.

I’ll probably write more things and you might just want to read those too.

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