They say “Sales Cures All”.  In taking a new product to market, truer words could not have been spoken.

After I exited my previous company and moved back to the US, I was asked several times to speak with start-ups about reaching their first key customers, revenues, and growth markets. I noticed that most early-stage companies struggle with the challenge of product/market fit. This was especially challenging for founders with backgrounds in engineering or pure product development.

Fortunately, taking a product to market is what I’ve enjoyed doing for the past fifteen years. So much so that some that my new role at Graphene Ventures allows me to do that at scale. Some of the best conversations I’ve had while at Graphene has been helping entrepreneurs solve for that critical product/market fit.

There’s a euphoric feeling when a product’s validation reaches hyper growth. When it hits, there’s nothing better. Suddenly, the company receives a flurry of inbound requests from customers, members of the press, and investors.  Ask any successful founder, and they can vividly recall those moments.

But reaching that first inflection point (hence this blog’s name) is challenging.  So much so that this is the number one reason why start-up companies fail according to CB Insights (see below).

Top 20 Reasons Why Startups Fail - CB Insights

 

While there are several variables to solve for in getting a product to market, there were a few key frameworks I used to reach the first set of customers. Thanks to invitations from the Bunker Labs in Chicago and Qatar’s Digital Incubation Center, last year I put together the slide deck below that covers these frameworks at a high-level.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll dive deeper into the four frameworks outlined in this presentation:

  • Customer Development Process
  • Pricing
  • Managing the Demand
  • Surviving

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