We all have a common desire to start a company.
It’s our dream to take a chance and build a product that will help improve lives, acquire customers, and create something new.
I think it’s fair to say that most people will start out with the best of intentions. There are always some who can’t resist the allure of “making it big” in Silicon Valley. They end up losing everything they worked so hard for.
The ones who succeed are the ones who understand how to build a product that solves a real-world problem. And they know how to do it right.
In the early days of our startup, we built a product that helped people list their classes and lessons online. We weren’t sure if we had “product market fit” at all.
But we kept building, and after months of work, we finally had something people wanted to use. That’s when we knew Product Market Fit was real.
Before we learn about the signs of product-market fit, here are the lessons that I have learnt while reaching it.
This post is a culmination of everything I’ve learned throughout our journey as anentrepreneur. From building a product, to managing a team, to growing our company.
Here’s what I’ve learned:
1. Take your time and build something people want to use.
Don’t rush into building just any product. It takes a long time to be successful in the startup world — and it takes even longer to get there. You need the right kind of product for your users and your company.
It’s important to build something people need, not just want. For us, the product was a place where teachers could easily list their classes and lessons and students could search for available classes.
We didn’t build our product to make money. We built it to help teachers and students. That was our main goal: to solve a problem that mattered and benefit people in our community.
Engineers love to build things that solve problems, so let them do it!
2. Hire the right people for your company.
The three most important things we did to build Product Market Fit were hire the right people, manage our time, and work hard.
Hiring the right kind of people is a huge part of product market fit. You need to surround yourself with people who share your vision and who are passionate about what you’re doing. These are your teammates and friends in the trenches. They’ll push you to work harder and smarter, and they’ll succeed with you.
To get the right people, you need to build a team that’s unified. If you’re a lone-wolf developer or designer, don’t hire them just because they have a great name. If one of your teammates is struggling, it’s important that someone on the team speaks up.
3. Managing your time is critical when building Product Market Fit.
You need to push yourself to work harder and smarter.
You don’t want your business to be a burden on your family or your personal life. You can’t take it easy and let the business run itself. You have to learn how to balance work and family, so that you don’t burn out or lose your mind in the process.
To keep our company small, we didn’t want to hire too many people. That meant we had to work smart.
We knew that building a product is a lot of work, so we needed to build it in small chunks. We knew we had to work hard because it would take a long time to get to Product Market Fit.
What are the signs of product-market fit?
Each product is different, with its own unique set of business goals, costs, and features.
So when you’re starting out, it can be really hard to know if you’ve found your product market fit. Some startups are lucky enough to have users right away. Other startups are slow to get the word out and don’t start getting traction until months into their product launches.
That said, here are some key signs that you might have found Product Market Fit:
1. You’re Getting a Lot of Inquiries from Potential Customers
If you’re getting a lot of inquiries about your product, you might have Product Market Fit. Users know your product exists and are asking to learn more. You’ve started to get some traction and people are taking notice. A good benchmark number is to get a hundred inquiries per month.
2. You Don’t Need to Ask Customers for Signups
If you’re getting a lot of emails from users interested in your product, Product Market Fit might be close at hand. Users know your product exists and are asking to learn more. You’ve started to get some traction and people are taking notice. A good benchmark number is to get 10 signups per day or 50 per week.
3. You’re Getting Lots of Intuitive Feedback
If you’re getting a lot of suggestions or feedback on your product, Product Market Fit might be close at hand. Users know your product exists and are asking to learn more. You’ve started to get some traction and people are taking notice. A good benchmark number is to get 20–30 suggestions or 10–20 feature requests per day.
4. Your Users are Getting More Productive with Your Product
If your users are getting more productive with your product, Product Market Fit might be close at hand. Users know your product exists and are asking to learn more. You’ve started to get some traction and people are taking notice. A good benchmark number is to see 10% of users making 10% of their spend or 1 out of every 20 customers taking 1 out of every 10 purchases.
Product Market Fit is one of the most important things to be discovered through your startup journey. The only way to know if you’ve found Product Market Fit is by starting to get some traction. If you’re getting a lot of inquiries from potential customers, you could be on the right path.
About the Author
I am the Founder of Cudy Technologies (www.cudy.co), a full-stack EdTech startup helping teachers and students learn better. I am also a mentor and angel investor in other Startups of my other interests (Proptech, Fintech, HRtech, Ride-hailing, C2C marketplaces, and SaaS). You can also find me on Cudy for early-stage Startup Founder mentorship and advice.
You can connect with me on Linkedin (https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexanderlhk) and let me know that you are a reader of my Medium posts in your invitation message.