Make your idea a success with a solid go-to-market strategy

How was this content?

There is a lot of benefit in being the first.

For starters, you have the chance to excite would-be customers by demonstrating leadership and vision. You can stake out a place for your product and service ahead of competitors, and you can uncover customer insights and learn lessons about design and production that can ensure your solution evolves faster than anything that comes after you.

Of course, there are drawbacks to being first to market.

With new businesses popping up every day, it’s tough to be absolutely certain there’s a market for what you’re selling. Also, you won’t always have the chance to learn from those who have gone before you, which can mean you might make costly mistakes.

Launching a startup is a long way from opening a restaurant, which involves steps such as finding a venue, hiring staff, and marketing your presence. For a startup – especially one offering a new product or service – the instructions aren’t always as clear.

So perhaps the biggest challenge any first mover founder must deal with is that there is no defined playbook for being first. But, imagine what happens when you get it right. Think of Airbnb’s innovative home rental marketplace or Stripe’s world-leading payment processing platform.

With a solid go-to-market strategy, you are more likely to make your idea a success.

Getting to market

A go-to-market strategy is a step-by-step guide that helps you define, develop, and deliver your startup’s business strategy. Its purpose is to help you plan out what you need to do to make the launch process successful by providing a roadmap for the actions you need to take.

Every startup’s go-to-market strategy will be unique in some ways, but many of the broader steps are almost always common.

Establish viability of your product or service with research, and then more research

Many startups begin with an insight, which is usually stated as a market opportunity. The fact that this opportunity exists tends to come down to one of two factors – either no one else has seen the opportunity, or others have seen it and tried to fulfill it, and failed. If the latter is true, that may be because the opportunity was not as good as it appeared.

To establish whether there is a viable market for what you’re planning to offer, your go-to-market strategy must start with solid research. If you are solving a problem, how much of a problem is this for the people who experience it, and what might they be willing to pay to solve it?

Understand your competition

Secondly, you need to understand the true state of your competition, including their strengths and weaknesses, even if it appears that none of them do exactly what you will do. Never underestimate the difficulty involved in wooing a customer away from a tried and tested alternative, even when that alternative doesn’t work as well as what you’re offering.

Reach your target audience

Thirdly, you need a solid plan for reaching your target audience. This must cover both the practical aspects of distribution, along with the strategies you will use to ensure they know you exist.

This is one area where the cloud offers many benefits to startups, because it helps you reach pretty much any potential customer on the planet from day one.

Thankfully, the cloud is home to a plethora of sales and marketing tools that can be easily adopted to reach your target audiences, from email and SMS marketing automation solutions to advanced customer management and data analysis tools.

Therefore, your go-to-market strategy needs to include an understanding of where your customers are, the channels you will use to reach them, and the messages you will send to gain their attention.

Winning by being first

Although each go-to-market strategy is unique, there can be great similarities between their different stages, so there is no harm in borrowing great ideas from the kinds of businesses you want to emulate.

So, while there may be no perfect go-to-market strategy that already exists for your startup, it is worth studying up on how many of the world’s best startups worked their own way through the stages of development, and then incorporating some of these ideas in your plan.

One of the techniques commonly used by startups is to create a minimum viable product, or MVP. This is essentially a stripped-back version of the proposed product or service, which includes enough features and benefits to attract interest, and which can be used to gather early feedback from customers.

Other successful ideas that leading startups have used is to launch referral programs, engage with influencers, or offer exclusive benefits to early adopters.

Borrowing proven ideas is a good way to reduce the risk in launching a startup by reducing the number of unknowns involved. The one factor that is common – and critical – to all, is their willingness to try out many different ideas and then carefully analyse the feedback.


As its name suggests, your go-to-market strategy is the guide that will help you get your product into your target market.

Therefore, before you get too far into building your great idea, invest the time needed to develop a solid plan. Because while it’s often a great to be first to market, being first doesn’t always mean you’re the winner, and it is hard to win without starting with a solid plan.

How was this content?