India is often referred to as the Poster child for emerging economies and the Startup Revolution given its vast potential for startups. It is perceived as being capable of offering an abundance of opportunities for startups.
A developing country is bound to have numerous gaps and clefts in the systems in place. These infrastructural gaps provide an untapped opportunity for emerging startups to capitalize on the insofar unfulfilled needs of the consumers. Building a business venture entails studying and navigating through constraints and missing services in the ecosystem, known as Institutional voids. These voids present themselves in the form of opportunities to an entrepreneur. That is where the product market fit comes into play!
Why is Product Market fit so important?
Let me start by reiterating, product will always stay at the core of the startup. Regardless of how great and motivated your team is, or how systematic and dogmatic the operations are. The success of your startup will depend only on the products you offer and Most startups fail to realise this.
A product market imbalance occurs when there is demand and supply are incongruous. Creating supply for a product having no demand would ultimately result in failure. Product market fit is probably one of the most imperative topics often overlooked by entrepreneurs.
Fear not, for it can be prevented!
When in doubt, ask yourself: ‘what are people forced to do now that your product doesn’t exist yet?’
If you get an alternative answer, that works perfectly fine, there exists no problem to be solved!
The article published by CNBC elaborates on how companies failed to crack the product market fit. Brands like Maxwell House tried to fix a problem that never existed, ultimately leading customers to pour in more effort than to simplify their tasks. Many of the larger brands have made similar mistakes and ultimately stopped production of those respective products. But as a startup founder you must be cautious given you do not have the safety cushion to fall on.
This does not mean an opportunity in the already tapped segment should not be explored. A thorough and incisive market research and stakeholders will enable you to target specific niches and Improve the existing solutions. Think of Swiggy; it joined in the race at 10-12th number in an overcrowded market. Swiggy’s focus on logistics and entire value chain of customer experience have triumphed over other competitors in the game, It became the leading bull in the industry.
Also read: Kickstart Your Entrepreneurial Journey
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What are some ways out of this?
I] Listen to your customers
Building traction before scaling up is paramount. Testing the waters and getting feedback from the customers of the attractiveness of your product will open doors for innovations and strategic planning. Inferences drawn from intriguing and stimulating customer surveys can go a long way in your business planning.
II] customer satisfaction makes your product viral
When people understand and resonate with your product, they tend to share their experiences within their networks increasing your reach without burrowing holes in your pockets on marketing spends. Customers would thus act as your salesmen, leading to exponential growth of business.
III] Focus on your Value proposition
Your Valuable proposition is arguable the most important proponent of your marketing efforts. It tells your prospects why they should invest in you rather than your competitors. A clear persuasive and well positioned value proposition certainly lends you a when you enter a crowded market with competitors.
You do not require an immense marketing or design budget to get your point through. Focusing on your upfront message would give you a boost enough to propel your success.
IV] Study your competitors
Presence of competitors validates the question of product market fit and thus confirming the presence of an underserved problem. Competitors can act as a source of information transfer, functioning as a yardstick against which you can measure your startup’s health and growth.
Learning from their mistake
Stirs up innovation
More competitions is directly related to more demand
Think twice about the price!
Before jumping into competitive prices, stop and think why others have higher prices. What kind of costs would be incurred and whether you would be able to offer those. Keep a close eye on them, without losing your focus off your own goals.
Some more ways for deeper competitive research could be:
Attending conferences where your competitors are involved.
Checking for social networks for any insights, customer complaint will help you develop your product
Research their founders and values propagated by the startup
Read the publications for your market targeting
As aptly summed up by Dharmesh Shah, co-founder and CTO of HubSpot,
“Most startups don’t lose to competition, but because they lose the will to fight.” Competition only makes you up the game and compels you to keep getting better at what you do lest you let the sense of supremacy get the better of you.”
It is often said that one should Begin from the market, not from the product. Even if your product doesn’t exist yet — explore the space.
Striking a balance between a precise plan and keeping room for flexibility accounting for the turbulence inherent to the market system can help you overcome these hiccups.
While striking the right PMF for your startup is a good starting point, you must be careful in your planning for a lot of things could go wrong. As your business grows and shifts, be sure to continually take a look at what the market demands so you can create the right fit.