There is nothing more challenging for a business or startup than finding product-market fit. Finding it, or lack thereof can be a complex, lengthy and expensive process.
Until recently finding product-market involved building a variant of your final product. Pushing it around your networks, throw a marketing budget at it, iterating on feedback then investing heavily in rebuilding the product from the ground up with this feedback.
It’s anything but.
Following the above process is guaranteed to take time (a rare commodity for founders) and due to lengthy feedback loops is likely to incur higher costs and go over budget.
Hardly the best start for any budding entrepreneur.
Thankfully for those embarking on a product build today, there are a greater range of tools, workshops, sprints and processes available to help you find product-market fit quickly and within budget
Firstly lets address the elephant in the room and debunk one major myth.
Your MVP doesn’t provide product-market fit.
If you embark on building an MVP in the knowledge you will build the real product down the line, you are testing proof of concept, not product-market fit.
Proof of concept is the process of proving that there is a sizeable audience that will consume, utilise or pay for the solution you wish to build.
To find your proof of concept, you can utilise a number of social networks and publish the following:
- Research Interviews
These are great to confirm or a reject idea or hypothesis, but, do little in providing product-market fit.
I have proof of concept, what next?
Finding product-market fit goes much further and throws up many more questions over and above answering if there is an audience for your product.
If you believe your idea has a market and your research has positively reinforced this, it’s time to go and get product-market fit.
There is no eureka moment or milestone when you achieve product-market fit, but if you can answer the below questions positively then you are well on the way.
What price point would customers pay for this?
Do they understand the value of the application?
Will the customers utilise the feature set correctly?
Can I acquire customers, cheaper than I can onboard them?
Is my on-boarding succinct in presenting the feature set?
Notice how the above questions centre around the products and not the concept.
To answer the above you may think that you need to build the product. This isn’t the case. You should be able to answer the above without writing one line of code or even building a bare-bones MVP
Those who jump the gun and go head first into product development after proof of concept, but without product-market fit or a design sprint, encounter two problems.
Problem 1 – The Product Death Spiral
Diving into development the costs escalate as you encounter a Design – Coding – Test loop. This is the equivalent of a product death spiral for any product or MVP. It’s expensive, time-consuming and developers hate it.
Problem 2 – Founders Fatigue Spiral
You proceed and build a bare-bones MVP know requires rebuilding to scale. You pour your heart and soul into this MVP before learning you cannot find product-market fit with a product that is nowhere close to the solution you set out to build. This we call the Founders Fatigue Spiral
Both problems have common traits, they are expensive, they take time, and they rarely result in a functional scalable product.
Stopping the Spiral
With the advances in prototyping software and user testing software, your audience can test the actual product without the need to write one line of code or pay for that development. In yesteryear, it used to be impossible to test aspects like on-boarding, feature sets and measure user behaviour without physically building the product.
But as Bob Dylan said, “Times they are a changing.”
Today, you can validate assumptions and test features, ideas and concepts then measure exactly how the end user would respond before developing.
A superior way to build a product.
This helps to refine your feature set, but can also highlights feature ommissions, or uncover hidden insights that may go on to become USPS.
A Design Sprint helps you test the product and concept in this manner. It goes deeper than proving a hypothesis as correct or incorrect, it provides tangible feedback on product onboarding, product features set, gestures, swipes and in-app behaviours. Essentially it’s a must in the process of finding product-market fit.
What tools help me find product market fit?
At Jyst we use Figma to build prototypes. As a tool, it provides the required flexibility to ideate and prototype. Post prototype we run user testing with Userberry which allows you to centralise user feedback and relay this to your UI/UX Designers, Product Manager, Researchers and Team.
This workflow allows you to design, test, then code. A far superior workflow flow to, design, code, then test.
At Jyst we predict this workflow saves you over 30% in development time and costs.
So what are you waiting for?
Start building your digital product, minus the fear today