Core Concepts

Knowledge is power

After raising pre-seed capital, 90% of startups fail on the way to Series A. To win, you need a structured playbook that efficiently guides you through uncertainty as you work toward product-market fit. That’s where I fit it, and here are important concepts to know so we can hit the ground running when we work together.


The Chasm​

Not my term, but it’s the pit that swallows most startups on their way to Series A. To avoid it, you need to see:

  • GTM as your roadmap
  • Product-market fit as your destination
How you execute GTM dictates the speed you take to get there.


GTM: It’s Not What You Think!

Sadly, many founders define GTM the same way large corporations do: product launch. The problem? Unlike large corporations, early stage startups have limited resources. Your GTM plan must be built on:

1. IDEAL CUSTOMER SEGMENTATION - Identifies early adopters with a burning need for your solution

2. STRONG VALUE PROPOSITION - Demonstrates measurable ROI for the customer

3. CONSISTENT MESSAGING - Using their way of defining problem, pain and solution

4. LAUNCHPAD TO HIGH GROWTH MARKET - Early adopters segment must enable you to springboard into markets with vast, open frontiers

5. REVENUE MODEL - That can generate a high valuation multiple during exit


GTM is an Ongoing Process

GTM is a structured learning process used to identify what works and what doesn’t. It’s the only way to successively eliminate uncertainty from your business model.

Your first GTM plan won’t be your last. It’s the starting point to your journey and will evolve as you experiment, assess, adjust and repeat. The outcome is a defensible playbook that VCs believe in.


Product-Market Fit

PMF means early adopters are buying it, using it, loving it and telling others about it. It’s the destination to your pre-seed to Series A journey. As an early stage founder, your goal is to extend the burn rate long enough to find PMF.

GTM is your tactical strategy for finding PMF.
Your agility in adjusting that strategy is pivoting.


The Art of the Pivot

Pivoting is your change strategy. Most of your journey involves data-driven decision making. Pivoting, however, is more of a learned art, combining your ability to pay attention to cues and eliminate internal biases.

Some of the most successful startups - Airbnb, YouTube and Instagram - adjusted their business models to adapt to challenges and new opportunities. However, many startups fail to pivot into better business models and higher degrees of PMF.

Your ability to pivot can lead to the right PMF, and that’s critical to your journey.


Why Most Startups Fail

Founders often think that failing to fundraise or generate early sales is why the startup failed. The truth is that they didn’t find PMF before cash ran out. In my experience:

  • A third were led by founders who failed to pivot
  • A third knew to pivot, but not where to pivot to
  • The rest couldn’t pivot without disrupting the startup’s workflow
Time ticks on, resources wane and the chasm continues to swallow startups.


The Art of Failing

If 90% of early stage startups fail, the odds are stacked against you. Failing is a very real potential outcome. I don’t want you to fail.

If it comes to it, you need to see it early enough. I’ve learned more from mistakes than wins. If failing is inevitable, I’ll help you fail fast and fail forward. That said, let’s win.

Let’s accelerate your traction, sales and fundraising together.