When startups are hunting for product-market fit, there are a couple of ways to think about the goal of the process. How you approach the goal of Stage 1 (Product-Market fit), can dramatically affect the outcome.
Approach 1 (the most common): We are building a product that is the absolute best product and will win on its own against other products.
Approach 2 (the least common): We are building a product that we can build a customer acquisition machine around and scale like crazy.
I can already hear the objections to #2: if this is your goal, then you lack passion for the product. You are only working towards incremental improvements and you aren’t trying to offer a transformative solution. They may even say you are a “sell out” and have little character.
Yet, at the same time, once the business is up and running we talk all know and embrace this quote:
Work ON the business not IN the business.
So why wait until you have a product to think about the business as the product?
Your product can be the best thing since sliced-anything, but if nobody knows about it, nobody is using it, then what have you accomplished?
Remember that in the earliest stages of a startup, as you explore product/market fit, that you still have to build a business around that product. How this happens is not trivial and the plan to scale should be coordinated with the what you are going to scale.