The Time Value of Shipping: Nailing Your Go-To-Market Strategy for Startup Success


Hatched by Glasp

Aug 04, 2023

3 min read


The Time Value of Shipping: Nailing Your Go-To-Market Strategy for Startup Success


Shipping is a Feature is a fundamental principle for product managers, emphasizing the importance of delivering imperfect products to customers. The Time Value of Shipping framework builds upon this principle, highlighting the significance of delivering customer value promptly. In this article, we will explore the concept of the Time Value of Shipping in relation to nailing the go-to-market (GTM) strategy for startups. By understanding the common points between these concepts, startups can effectively navigate the three phases of their GTM strategy and drive growth.

Phase 1: Start with Customer Research and a Soft Launch

The first phase of the GTM strategy involves conducting extensive customer research and implementing a soft launch. During this phase, startups engage in conversations with customers to gain insights into their needs and pain points. By understanding how the product can make customers' lives easier, startups can refine their offerings and achieve product-market fit. It is crucial to emphasize that a soft launch is not equivalent to reaching product-market fit. Founders should focus on acquiring paying customers and controlling churn during this phase. Leveraging personal networks can be an effective way to gain initial customers, as people you know personally are often more willing to support your venture.

Phase 2: Maximizing GTM Impact with Effective Product Messaging

Once product-market fit is achieved, startups can move on to the second phase: maximizing the impact of their GTM strategy through near-perfect product messaging. During this phase, it is essential to define and communicate the unique value proposition of the product. By understanding the target market deeply, startups can identify the key beneficiaries of their offerings. Taking a step back and collaborating with the team can help uncover unique insights about the market. This process enables startups to craft compelling messaging that resonates with customers and differentiates their product from competitors.

Phase 3: Transitioning from GTM to Growth

The final phase of the GTM strategy is determining when to transition from GTM to the growth phase. This transition occurs when a startup achieves consistent monthly revenue growth of over 10% and a positive return on marketing investments. Many founders mistakenly believe that excelling in various marketing channels is necessary for success. However, the most successful startups focus on mastering one or two channels that align with their product-channel fit. By identifying and leveraging these channels, startups can drive sustainable growth and achieve their business objectives.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Prioritize customer research: Invest time in understanding your target customers' needs and pain points. This research will enable you to develop a product that aligns with customer expectations, increasing the likelihood of achieving product-market fit.
  • 2. Craft unique product messaging: Take a deep dive into your market and identify the unique value proposition of your product. By communicating this uniqueness effectively to your target audience, you can differentiate your offering and attract customers.
  • 3. Focus on mastering one or two marketing channels: Instead of spreading your resources thin across multiple channels, identify the channels that align best with your product and target audience. By mastering these channels, you can optimize your marketing efforts and drive sustainable growth.


The Time Value of Shipping concept and the three phases of the GTM strategy share common ground in terms of delivering value to customers promptly. By following a structured approach that encompasses customer research, effective messaging, and channel mastery, startups can navigate their GTM strategy successfully and drive growth. Ultimately, the key to startup success lies in understanding the importance of timely value delivery and aligning it with an effective GTM strategy.

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