It is human nature to seek and value opinions. We all do it in many different types of situations – we seek recommendations for restaurants, our next holiday destination, tax and legal advice, the best schools for our children. We do this because we feel a level of uncertainty and we want assurance from an expert but most importantly, we do this because it saves time.
I recently heard a story about a business algorithm that malfunctioned causing unnecessary financial ramifications. The business had used in-house testers to evaluate their model and they simply did not pick up the fault. Perhaps they were too close to the situation, and they lost their objectivity or maybe their testers had unrealistic timelines and were rushed. Regardless, that algorithm would have benefited from a fresh pair of eyes.
It is quite common for businesses to seek external experts in areas such as legal, accounting, or human resources; however, it is far less common when it comes to product and business strategy. This is surprising because a misguided product development effort or business strategy can have wide reaching consequences for a business. Launching a product that fails to meet market and customer needs will waste resources and prove costly, in terms of dollars and cents and lost opportunity.
Thomas Edison is known for his many inventions, but he is also well-known for his hard work, ethics, and perseverance. His quotes are often used to inspire and motivate. For many years I used his quote in my marketing material: “Good Fortune is what happens when opportunity meets with planning.”
Edison is known as a great thinker, but he also believed that hard work and preparation was the key to success. This belief is expressed in another of his famous quotes “A genius is often merely a talented person who has done all of his or her homework.”
Edison understood that his inventions had to not only work but they had to be something that the market wants. One way to do this is to assess the product-market fit. In a nutshell, product-market fit means you are offering something the market needs. Yet, defining product-market fit is not as easy as it sounds as it requires a deep understanding of the market you want to enter.
Although it’s not an easy task and it takes time to do, finding product-market fit changes your product development process and will set up your business for success.
Key components of a product-market fit assessment are understanding your target customer and then evaluating the alignment of the new product or business idea with buyer demand. This requires understanding who that customer is but more importantly what are their challenges. For example, what business or regulatory challenges is the product or service solving? What is impeding its success? Are their multiple solutions the customer can choose from? or is there a unique need?
About dONNA bALES
Trusted leader with over 20 years capital-markets experience in market structure, regulation and product-management, gained from time working in Canada, the US, Europe and Asia. Recognized for leading early concept initiatives that require critical and creative thinking, an entrepreneurial mindset and ability to adapt to changing business dynamics. Recognized thought leader and speaker on Regulatory Compliance and Technology – co-founded the Canadian Regulatory Technology Association; author of white papers and tailored reports on industry trends such as technology innovation, business transformation and regulatory compliance. Most recent paper: Safeguarding AI Use Through Human Centred Design.