Does product market fit matter? Time and time again history has proved that when it comes to delivering a great product to market, money and expertise are not the ultimate key factors. One of the most famous examples of it is Iridium. It was a $5bln startup funded by Motorola, with their original idea to offer global telephone services in a form of block phone priced at $3000.
With such large capital funding, and experience (as well as name recognition) from Motorola, what could go wrong? Well, perhaps it was not such a good idea to have a 12 year business plan set in stone and never revising it through time. Iridium simply forgot to keep track of the market developments, and to check in with potential customers if their product idea was still of any use. By the time it got to market, customers no longer needed it as other technology advanced far enough to offer suitable, and much cheaper alternatives.
With large upfront investments, and a long product development period, this was one of the biggest failures of engineering vision vs market need. How to make sure you do not fall in the same path with your own product?
Sure, chances are the stakes are not so high for you, as a $5bln upfront investment. However, it is always frustrating and potentially deadly to spend time and money working on a product that the market will pass on. We have identified 3 key ideas to keep in mind, in order to minimize the risk of poor market fit for your product.
Make hypothesis instead of assumptions
Try to stay clear from assuming you know what the market needs. All of us have individual bias, but at the end of the day, you are not going to be buying your product from you, but others. Therefore, first make a hypothesis about what you think the market may need as a solution, and then head over to the next idea.
Validate and pivot if needed
After you have got your hypotheses about possible products. Go out and get real validation from your target market. At this stage, you may realize that you need to add extra features, or perhaps start from scratch all together. Even though it will be demotivating and harsh, it is better to pivot and adjust at this point, rather than going further and having to incur greater possible losses. However, it is important to sufficiently validate your hypothesis, because a small response sample may lead to a false conclusion (regardless if it is positive or negative). This will not only confirm your vision for the market state, but also give you more confidence in your product as well as insights into some areas of the market you may have not considered prior.
Stay agile to the market developments
Once you have your idea sufficiently validated and proceed to the development phase, do not “isolate” yourself from the market environment. Always stay on top of new products/improvements introduced in the space. Perhaps, even check in every now and then with your target customer group if their problem has been solved or evolved into a different issue. Implement your observations from the market into your product in an agile manner. Doing so, will ensure that upon release, your product is up-to-date and does not follow the same fate as Iridium’s product did.
Do you have any other ideas in mind? If so, let us know so we can spread the word about it too! Additionally, feel free to check out our blogs on the main site, or any of the videos on our Youtube channel.