Market Fit

Once you confirm your ICP (Ideal Customer Profile), launch your MVP with early adopters, and adapt it based on market feedback, you are now at the Market Fit stage.

At this stage you should prioritize your development pipeline based upon feedback collected from early adopters. Use this to craft the scope of your Version 1.0. And most importantly, continue to also grow your customer base.

Overview

At this stage your product will start becoming more refined and you will start to figure out how your product best fits into the market, for maximizing growth.  

You will move away from an MVP and into a first official version of your product.

Focus on increasing your product value, maturing the product and growing your customer base within a specific market niche.

Your objective is to find the best product market fit so you can achieve maximum growth.

Milestones

Depending on your startup’s nature you will be focusing more on outbound lead generation, inbound lead generation, or a hybrid approach. Tailor your marketing communication based upon your improved understanding of your ICP, their pain points, and how your product best brings them value.

Determine what features you will have in version 1.0 of your product, based upon all the market feedback you have received so far from your early adopters that best match your ICP (Ideal Customer Profile).

In this version 1.0, you need to also consider:

  • Ensuring high-quality craftmanship to minimize bugs and errors
  • Provide a great User Experience to keep users engaged and to increase user adoption
  • Keep cybersecurity in mind to ensure safety of business and customer data so you don’t damage your reputation and the trust of your customers 
  • Manage the level of technical debt you are incurring so you can move quick without jeopardizing your ability to scale in the future. 
  • Accept it won’t be possible to get every feature your customers request, into version 1.0. Maintain an organized backlog of requests so you can prioritize them for future releases.

Most likely you already had a small development team that helped you create an MVP. Now things are getting more complicated as your business and platform scales and the stakes have increased. You will need a wider variety of skillsets; for example: UX/UI designers, quality assurance engineers, DevOps engineers, Cybersecurity experts, Compliance experts, additional software engineers. However, you may not need them full-time at this point and you need flexibility with how you staff these resources and conserve your budget.

Based upon your Version 1.0 scope, you need to execute on developing your MVP into a Version 1.0, using an Agile development approach.

Warnings

Don’t change your ICP (Ideal Customer Profile)

You already validated your ICP and market demand. If you believe you need to change course, you need to redo some of the market research to ensure you are making the right decision. Changing direction and focus could jeopardize your ability to succeed.

Don’t allow scope creep

You should remain agile and maintain an ability to pivot, however, all pivots should be based on data you’ve collected from the MVP and your ICPs. Don’t allow yourself to veer off course from hearsay and anecdotal information.

Don’t neglect good user experiences

Depending on your niche, your ICP will expect a certain type of UX (User Experience). If you are not providing that UX, they could abandon your product. If you are not providing a UX that is at least higher than other embedded competitors in your industry provide, it could be more difficult to acquire customers. If you are providing enough value to compensate for a bad UX, this may not impact you as much, however, if you can have a good UX, this is one less objection you will see from potential customers.

Don’t neglect Cybersecurity

The market is the ultimate judge of the value of your product. If they are not happy, are confused, or don’t receive enough value, your startup is not going to be successful. It doesn’t mean customers should dictate how you build your product, however, you need to weigh and prioritize feedback carefully. As you receive feedback, make sure to capture it using a process, then place it into a backlog of requests so you can prioritize and react to it. Customers need to feel their needs are being considered and listened to.

Don’t neglect marketing

If your business model relies on marketing in any way, you should continue investing in marketing. Building a community of people interested in your product is very important. The impact of content marketing, for example, can take months or years to see. You need to identify as quickly as possible which marketing channels perform best for your company.

Required Expertise

  • Digital marketing
  • Business development
  • Technology platform development
  • Cybersecurity
  • QA
  • Project management
  • DevOps
  • Business analysis
  • Development

How do I know I can move to the next stage?

Once you have a stable version 1.0 of your product and continue seeing steady subscriber growth and high user engagement, you are ready to move to the next stage.

How much time the stage should take

Developing a version 1.0 could take from 3 to 12 months or more, depending on your resources and scope. If you are spending years working on a version 1.0, there is a concern.

Need help with challenges at this stage?

Startup Stages Guide Copilot

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