3 things that kill your SaaS startup between launch and product-market fit.
Unless you are just floating a powerpoint deck and a business card, you know the real journey is the path to product-market fit.
It’s really easy to get distracted after your MVP launch. Don’t get me wrong, shipping your MVP is definitely a ridiculously important step and it deserves to be celebrated. Especially if you have a viral component built in your product and getting users organically. Think Calendly. Loom. (and even in our story of ClosingPage)
But the journey that matters in a startup really starts after MVP. It is the most iconic rite of passage a SaaS startup takes — from MVP to the product-market fit. For those of you who’d like to get technical with the actual definition of the term, read this piece by one of my favorite SaaS entrepreneurs David Cummings.
With all the launch noise, there’s a good chance you might stumble and fall if you are not being conscious of your path. Here are some common pitfalls that can trap you from moving toward the next big milestone, product-market fit.
1. Not iterating your customer onboarding
You might think you already nailed your user flows. But think again. Take a hard look at the data and collect user feedback (or even better observe user behavior) as they use your product for the 1st time.
In SaaS, most startups don’t die out of bad ideas. But because of bad execution and churn. Be ruthless in your UX. Evaluate and eliminate every single step that’s not necessarily adding value to customer. It’s very very hard to do this without user feedback so make sure you listen to them.
2. High expectations
Kendrick Lamar said this in his famous song and it’s extremely relevant.
Sit down, be humble.
With the launch, your work is not done yet. Every area in your startup won’t be perfect yet so keep low expectations and do your best. You can’t be sexy and suave like Drift in your marketing yet. Be humble. You can’t compete with GaryVee in 7 days. Be humble. Same with content, social, community, events, investor relationships, pitch deck, hiring etc. All of this could suck at various levels. Just be OK with it unless it impacts customers directly. Startups are not for people chasing an ego boost. You are in the wrong profession if so.
3. Lack of ship mentality
Every day in a startup is a chance for you to ship something. Doesn’t matter if it’s a simple tweet, an email, a tiny product enhancement or even setting up 1–1 meeting with your customer. Do it. Ship it. Don’t hesitate at all. If you have great insights, great energy, great passion, great ideas but never actually put them out there for the world to see (and possibly judge you!), you don’t get to be called a true startup. Embrace the judgement, embrace the imperfection. One day it’ll all be fine. 500 days later you and your team will be considered superstars but only if you ship 500 times.
What else? What are some thoughts/ideas you have on the journey to product-market fit? Drop a line if you like, we’re all ears for interesting commentary. Always!
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