A product-market fit happens when you have a definition of your target market and a product that serves them. The pre-requisite to reaching a product-market fit is understanding your target customer, their pain points, how they feel grappling with the problem, and your approach to solving the problem.
It isn’t uncommon for startups to stay on the lookout for a product-market fit two years into their startup journey, as this is the most challenging phase in a startup’s lifecycle.
David Rusenko, Co-founder of Weebly, discusses finding product-market fit in this video, referenced for this piece.
Not having product-market fit isn’t a roadblock but an opportunity to assess your startup and find the sweet spot where users sign up consistently and stay with you. Product-market fit is a key milestone in any startup’s journey and a place where many startups dwindle.
Let’s explore the process of finding product/market.
Here are the stages a startup goes through-
The first four stages of getting from idea to traction is the search for product-market fit, while the final two stages are the refinement of the product-market fit.
Related: 5 Ways to Develop Rapid Digital Prototypes for Your Startup
All the hard work in finding product-market fit is around learning a primary customer pain and then coming up with the right solution to approach and solve the problem.
Often, the need isn’t apparent but hidden. Users don’t know what they don’t know. Henry Ford said it best- “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses!” The need for cars was hidden. The pain was in being unable to travel faster. But the solution wasn’t faster horses.
All too often, a need exists in the market without the awareness of people around it. For Weebly, it looked like people wanted to design their own websites at a time when you had to know how to code to build a website.
The need was for the ability to build a website easily. However, the solution didn’t exist yet, and the need was hidden. Weebly unearthed that need and built a service to enable people to build websites without writing code.
It’s also critical to note that the best companies create a market, such as Airbnb and Dropbox. By definition, market research doesn’t help as people don’t know what they don’t know. So, the key is to find the need first, separate from the solution to approach to solve it.
Another frequent phenomenon is startup founders offer something to a select group of customers but get pulled in a different direction by them. When this happens, it begs attention. The idea isn’t to push people to use your product but to find that pull factor so that they automatically come to it.
Once you unearth the deep need that exists within a market, you can iterate inexpensively to reach the product-market fit stage.
Related: Step-by-Step Roadmap to Developing an MVP
Related: 10 Tips to Improve Your e-Commerce Website Accessibility
Three key metrics that point toward product-market fit are-
Striking product-market fit is one of the most challenging parts of establishing a successful startup. So, make sure you have the right team and mentors by your side. Learn more about KiwiTech’s startup ecosystem and mentorship program here.