This article refers to product/market fit, a term coined by Marc .Andreessen a decade ago. It touches an essential success factor for each new venture: is there a market for your product?
Simply, it does not require any explanation, because you always feel IT. It's when your products are selling like crazy, customer are queueing, WOM is spreading, you can find IK google references after the first week, even before your product really launched, customers are waiting to gave you the money and your biggest problem is lack of processing power. That's when you got it.
Otherwise you just feel that there is not enough value (at this moment) for you customers, deals don't close and journalist are not so excited about writing you back. It refers both to products and service, however you are going to encounter different problems regarding each category. Despite that from a business perspective your operational task is to solve those problems and give your customers what they want. In this chapter you are going to read about those challenges, importance of emphasis both on control and/or prediction of your future, growth decision and community support.
Paul Graham used to define start-up as a fast growing organization (start-up=growth), and only those deserve this name. However, what does it mean to grow fast? 10, 15, 115%? A week, a month, a year? Following Graham's simple example if you grow 1% a week, you can expect l,7x growth in a year. If you grow 10% a week your start-up will skyrocket up to 142x during the first year of growth, 20K x till the end of second year, and 2,6M x till the end of third year. Keeping these calculations more plausible if you assume 5% growth per week you have almost 167 x growth in two and 2020 x growth in three years.
As you can assume those growth rates and start-ups like Dropbox, Airbnb, Stripe are usually answering very precisely defined customers needs. Some were born lately, some existed a long before, and some were triggered by disruptive moves in traditional markets. Even in the most unpredictable markets there are patterns that might be spotted by experienced entrepreneurs (usually not managers) or even novice entrepreneurs.
Adjusting product/service offering to potential customers through experimentation, using agile methodology, sometimes supported by benchmarking or (very!) elastic planning and trends watching will be explored in next chapter: