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?
Practically this requires knowledge of the market but also customer feedback and validation from existing and potential customers. This is an important step to help refine the value proposition of your product or business concept and shape messaging. If you have multiple product offerings, it will enable you to decide which product will create the greatest impact in the new market.
This is a key inflection point in the assessment process as you may need to go back to the drawing board to enhance your product if a strong opportunity to scale growth has been identified. But it is also a time to put pen to paper and refine your value proposition and brand messaging. This is where the ‘all things to all people’ approach” does not work. Here the messaging should be targeted on specific features that are unique to your offering and fill the gaps that your target customers have identified.
Once you have updated your value proposition, its time to test it again either directly with potential customers or through indirect routes like contributing to industry blogs or networking in relevant industry associations. This feedback loop should become part of your business journey to help you stay ahead of trends and be better prepared to make changes as needed.
Whether you engage in product-market fit exercise internally or outsource to a company like Balmoral Advisory, you should not underestimate the advantages it brings to helping make the right strategic decisions, establishing credibility for your brand and setting your business up for long-term success. Closing off with some final sage advice from Edison: Anything that won’t sell, I don’t want to invent. Its sale is proof of utility, and utility is success.”
Written by: Donna Bales, the founder of Balmoral Advisory
For more information or to contact Balmoral Advisory: www.balmoraladvisorygroup.com
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.