Unicorns are never ‘nice-to-haves’

“What is a unicorn, daddy-preneur?”

“It’s considered a start-up that quickly became a market MUST-HAVE and capitalized upon it ( the “it” being their perfect product-market fit), to become highly prized as a start-up, in a short space of time.”

“Where do MUST-HAVEs like these come from, dad? “

“They do pop up unpredictably in the start-up world from time to time, but today they can be made in a MUST-HAVE factory, where new innovations are turned into market MUST-HAVEs reliably, daughter-preneur!”

This MUST-HAVE factory has developed a scientific way to assess and affect a perfect product-market fit, the primary ingredient or DNA used for producing MUST HAVEs – the essence of a unicorn.

Worth noting, no (mere) NICE-TO-HAVE ever became a unicorn.

The factory has been developed and built, because it’s architects have found a way to consistently overcome the primary limitation (faced by most of their start-up clients), which is the elusiveness nature of their market’s sweet spot.

This sweet spot, when located and hit with an un-refusable offer, makes for a perfect product-market fit – as is can be assessed and produced in the product-market fit / MUST-HAVE factory today.

MUST-HAVEs by definition “reach product-market fit”, and “is the only thing that matters”, says Marc Andreesen.

It also accounts for the fact that 25 year olds are successfully running billion dollar companies.

Reach product-market fit, and the market pulls (almost) regardless of leadership.

If the market pulls, it forgives most other start-up sins.

And reaching product-market fit, means your start-up innovation, business model and market offer have met your market at their MUST-HAVE level, and the market then pulls.

And to become a MUST-HAVE, like Uber, Dropbox etc, your offering must have exceeded the market’s perception of MUST-HAVE value.

Essentially therefore, making the Market’s MUST-HAVE value , more important than your MVP.

So let’s unpack the creation of this MUST HAVE Value.

It’s a 3 stage methodology that converts a NICE-TO-HAVE innovation into a market MUST-HAVE, and brings accelerated market adoption and enhanced valuations for the start-up

Stage 1: Intrinsic Value:

An innovation can bring MUST-HAVE-type value, if and only if, it diminishes a significant limitation for the market.

Find the limitation (not addressing a known need, problem or want which are only symptoms) your innovation removes, and you have found the market’s sweet spot of MUST-HAVE proportions.

Stage 2: Realised Value

The market must change its existing behavior, or rules, to benefit from removing the limitation.

Find and adopt the new behaviour (the new rule) , and you’ve found the key to unlock market value that MUST HAVEs must command.

Stage 3 Guaranteed Value

Then innovations need a catalyst, to accelerate the rate of market adoption.

This guaranteed value is all about ‘walking the talk’.

If you guarantee the right market value, you find your market stickiness, you become ‘the rule’, the Uber of your industry, the verb and the MUST-HAVE.

So how do you know if you have reached product-market fit?

Well if you’re asking the question, then you have not! Here’s why…

What is Product Market Fit?

We can answer this question from four perspectives:

Market perspective = Product-Market Fit is achieved the moment your new product offering become a market MUST HAVE.

Start Up perspective = Product-Market Fit is achieved when your Minimum Viable Product(MVP) satisfies the Minimum Viable Value(MVV) of the market.

Funder perspective = Product-Market Fit is a tipping point (without it is hard to succeed, with it is hard to fail)

Scientific perspective = The moment the activity of attracting and retaining customers is no longer the weakest link or prime constraint.


How do Start-Ups go about ensuring they can achieve PMF ?

Let’s start with a statement “ The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.” 

We can answer this question from two perspectives:

If you ignore principles – Then HOPE and Determination might take you all the way. There is no clear cut recipe. The odds are against you. If you grasp principles – Then FOCUS and Confidence can take you all the way. There is a clear cut recipe. The odds are in your favour.

  • Step 1 = Check if your idea or new product innovation can become a MUST HAVE

Define your target market’s Minimum Viable Value Specification – “Must HAVE Spec”

  • Step 2 = Check if your MVP can physically perform to the 10X level required to enable the MUST HAVE

Define your MVP’s feature set that will enable the market to adopt and sustain the new way

  • Step 3 = Check if your OFFER can meet the Guarantee Value level required for the market to adopt the MUST HAVE.

Define your Value Guarantee That Counts (High conversion)

  • Step 4 = Check if your TRACTION can meet the PMF level required to become the MUST HAVEof the market.

Define your telltale signs (tipping point) as designed by the MUST-HAVE factory.

So let’s sum it up:

MUST-HAVEs convincingly overcome the early start-up constraint of low or slow market adoption, by raising the perception of value in the mind of its target market, to the level of a MUST HAVE.

To raise the innovation to a MUST-HAVE level, a market offer or more precisely, a Value Guarantee That Counts (VGTC), is used as the catalyst. And boy-o-boy, a VGTC does count! The market pulls and word of mouth becomes more effective than the start-up’s own sales team and paid marketing.

A VGTC constructed scientifically to achieve a perfect product-market fit, can be tested that it truly hits the sweet spot, and based on its established sales hit rate, the start-up can then rapidly build the business, hire and attract investment accordingly, in line with the new MUST-HAVE.

So what goes into VGTC and how reliable is the MUST-HAVE factory process?

Well there are only 2 principles, as discussed above, that the innovation must comply with, to become a MUST HAVE, and we use this lens through which to assess and then affect the product-market fit

And at the assessment stage: it’s now possible to scientifically determine if you’re sitting on a MUST HAVE or not, and we do this by seeing if it complies to these 2 principles. If so, we then scope out the MUST-HAVE spec. and ultimately assess if it’s possible to create a VGTC which can be offered to the market, that will raise the innovation a proven MUST-HAVE.

This MUST-HAVE factory exists, and has assessed hundreds of hopeful start-ups from around the world, assisted plenty towards product-market fit, and has invested in nearly a portfolio which have become market MUST HAVEs..

Call us today, if you believe you may have a potential market MUST-HAVE, and want to assess and realise it.

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