Product Market Fit: Part 3 – Riding the Rodeo

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This is part 3 (and the final part) in a series of posts about product-market fit. 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.


Part 1 was about ‘the problem’ and emphasised the importance of starting with a genuine problem your startup can solve. 


Part 2 was about how you might ‘design’ the way to fit rather than simply finding it. Planning your way through MVP and demand generation through to sustainable demand that incorporates processes for retention and profitable business. 


This final part centres on what happens ‘after’ the fit. You kick back and watch the money roll in, right?


No. For me, the concept of product-market fit is not a constant that once you have it, it stays with you. It’s more an ever-changing amorphous beast that you have to constantly battle hard to stay on the right side of. 


What’s going to impact the nature of your own product-market fit bucking bronco?


The competition

The existing competition in your market are unlikely to stand still and watch what others do. The impact of the market leaders, their level of clout, will very likely impact your business model. What happens when they launch new products and services, open up new pricing models and throw promotional events?


If that wasn’t enough, what about the new competition? The disruptors who have also spotted the opportunity you’re now enjoying. How many new players will  enter the market with a new way to build a business and attract (ie steal) your audience?


Your business

As you grow, you’ll be targeting new customer segments, entering new markets and crossing over into new sectors. Each time you’ll very likely need to re-calibrate to maintain your product-market fit. Think about the transference of moving from early adopters to early mainstream to late mainstream for example – a whole different set of needs, motivations, triggers and price expectations. 


Sh!t outside of your control

There’s a clear risk attached to finding product-market fit. The risk of losing it. What’s on your risk register that might affect your fine-tuned balance of pmf? Things like regulatory changes in the market, war in Europe, macro economic factors and alike.


So much more to product-market fit than I have squeezed into 3 short blog posts – and this is, of course, just the view from the world of market research. 


Thanks for reading.


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