Product Market Fit: Part 2 – Designing the Fit

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This is part 2 in a series of posts about product-market fit.

 

Part 1 was about ‘the problem’ and emphasised the importance of starting with a genuine problem your startup can solve. Also to emphasise, I am not writing this as a multi-exited founder who’s found pmf multiple times. I am writing this as someone with long career in customer and market research looking at the concept of pmf from a curious perspective.

 

So this part is called ‘designing’ pmf rather than ‘finding’ it. I don’t believe you find it – like you stumble across it one day. I do believe you design your way to pmf through good planning and incredible execution. 

 

So much advice is out there about how to build your startup – the lean method, design thinking etc. 

 

Building an MVP > testing it with customers > focusing on a key feature set that delivers value to customers > generating high levels of demand through word-of-mouth are all solid ways to develop your business.

 

Along the way to getting to product-market fit, I would suggest you consider: 

 

Sustainable demand

One aspect of pmf that is most often emphasised is that it’s about demand. Sure, it’s about demand but you can create demand in unsustainable and sustainable ways. 

 

It feels that unless you have insane levels of demand for your product or service, you’re never going to get to pmf. I don’t think that’s the point at all. 

 

For instance, how much of your insane levels of demand are due to the fact you’ve got your pricing wrong? Maybe we’d all be able to make our product fly if it was way under-priced.

 

How profitable is this insane demand? How much is it costing you to generate this kind of demand and how is that affecting your net margin?

 

Operationally, how long can you sustain this level of demand? Is your supply chain solid enough to cope? Are your team able to satisfy the demand you’re creating for long periods? 

 

What about repeat customers? What % of your customers are coming back for more? What’s your churn rate? Why is it at that level and do you know how to reduce it?

 

I feel that these kind of questions, and many other similar questions, all need to be addressed to allow you to design your way to pmf – and crucially sustainble pmf.

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