Early focus on a niche market (a small market) enables a startup to achieve “small wins” faster (and experience “small losses” instead of large ones). Over time these accumulate into larger wins.
“Product-market fit happens first in sub-segments. Understanding the core value proposition for hyper-sub-segmented markets is where you’ll find strong market signals. You can’t go big without winning small first.”
Brant Cooper “Don’t Think Big. There, I Said It.“
The principle of small wins is critical to winning the trust of enterprises prospects making them your customer and in penetrating new markets. We blogged about our approach in “Crossing the Chasm: Look for a Niche in a Lot of Pain” with a reformulated representation of Geoffrey Moore’s “bowling alley”:
Look for niche markets who are in a lot of pain. If people are in enough pain they will change their behavior and risk adopting something new. After entering niche markets, we can move technology up and out by using the ones in the most pain as reference case studies to the others. Also notice you start with the smallest niche market. This will allow you to make your early mistakes on a smaller market. It also buys you time and expertise to develop a whole product.
If You Aspire to Great Things Begin With Little Ones
“You aspire to great things?
Begin with little ones.”