Are you working on the right business idea? 💡

Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

Product Market Fit is a well known concept for startups. Founder Idea Fit — sometimes called Founder Market Fit or Problem Founder Fit — is a precursor to Product Market Fit and equally important.

A strong Founder Idea Fit will usually help Founders to reach Product Market Fit, giving them unique insights into the problem but also the perseverance to continue pursuing their vision through the challenges they will encounter on their journey.

💬 How do you define Founder Idea Fit?

Founder Idea Fit is an indicator of a match between the founders and the problem they are going after. Founder Idea Fit means that the founders have a deep understanding of the problem and market they are entering.

The founders personify their product, business and company. Ultimately Founder Idea Fit is an innate, unfair advantage that sets founders apart from their competitors.

It is the inextricable link between the founders and their idea. You can be seen to have “founder fit” if you personally fit the idea, product, or service you are pitching. One of the best indicators of this “fit” is passion, partly because if you’re passionate about something, you’ve probably been working on it and thinking about it for a long time.

⚠️ Why is Founder Idea Fit important?

Most founders start businesses in spaces they don’t know much about. People also tend to fall in love with their own idea hence the importance of assessing the Founder Idea Fit and cutting losses as early as possible.

Founders with strong Idea Fit usually find it easier to test value hypotheses through customer discovery because they have access to potential customers. If you can’t acquire customers for interviews, how are you going to build a business in that market segment?

Founders need to be brutally honest with themselves and acknowledge when their idea is not a fit. A great story of a wrong Founder Idea Fit: “Why Founder Market Fit Matters…A Lot” by Luke Szyrmer.

These natural disadvantages I had in this market were ones that I couldn’t easily change about myself. Best to cut my losses and get out. Founder-market fit wasn’t there.

Finally, when evaluating startups, investors will often look for founders who are obsessed with the problem they are trying to solve. Does the team deeply understand the market they are in or will there be a steep learning curve? Execution of an idea is everything, hence founders with a strong idea fit will have an advantage over competitors. Without that “fit,” you’re unlikely to get the funding you need.

📏 Assessing Founder Idea Fit

Which are the tools available to help founders decide whether or not to pursue their idea?

The Founder Idea Fit is usually a combination of the following elements:

  • Obsession | Passion
  • Founder Story | Background
  • Personality
  • (Professional) Experience

Obsession means you would choose to work on the idea in your free time. It means you can work effortlessly on your product and customer issues.

Through the Founder Story, it is possible to identify the Purpose. What triggered the Founder into taking this idea on as a mission?

The ‘Founders Attribute Framework’ (‘FAF’) created by Gemba Capital is a set of 20 attributes grouped into 4 dimensions: Execution Ability, Emotional Quotient, Personality Traits, Leadership Skills. A great medium article details the different attributes of this framework, you can find it here.

If you read this far, you are probably searching to assess whether you are working on the right idea. Consequently you could be interested in our Founder Idea Fit assessment: a 3-step assessment giving you a reality check on your business idea.

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Rémi SAINT-JEAN

Impact Business Designer | Breakthrough innovation is born from unusual combinations | Ideas shared here are rooted in ‘Small Data’ and Customer Experience.