How To Find Product-Market Fit

This is is part of my live-learning series! I will be updating this post as I continue through my journey. I apologize for any grammatical errors or incoherent thoughts. This is a practice to help me share things that are valuable without falling apart from the pressure of perfection. 

I have created this post at night after diving into some resources on how to find product-market fit. 

This is something I have been thinking about a lot in the last year and a half. I’ve been running a software company for several years now. They’ve been rocky years in the middle of the pandemic and at many times my personal and professional focus has been diluted. But, one thing that has continued to emerge over and over again is the need to find product-market fit. At Speak Ai, we don’t have it right now.

The Definition of Product-Market Fit

There are some great definitions out there. But, one of the common ideas behind it is that if you have it you know. Money is piling up. Customers keep coming. Referrals are driving sign-ups. There is minimal churn in your product. 

One of the ways people measure product-market fit is by sending out a survey that asks users about how they would feel if the application was to disappear. If less than 40% say they would be very disappointed, you have some work to do. We are planning on initiating this survey soon. I am guessing the results will be disappointing. I imagine we may not even get that many responses. 

The Vision of Speak Ai

Speak was an ambitious, blurry vision. The desire to build it came from many different things I saw in my life. Anyone who has heard me talk about the origin of Speak has heard about the gaps I saw in Evernote, missing information from phone calls coming into the marketing clients I was working with, the desire to rank my podcasts on search engines quickly and more. The need came from disparate problems and that’s led to a product that is often diluted and confusing. 

Limited Resources

We are doing our best to solve that but it is not easy. One thing that is hard to swallow is that as a young startup, you are limited in resources. That means money, talent, capacity, time and more. It means you have to radically prioritize and focus on a small niche and a very painful problem. A “light your hair on fire” problem. Until you do that, your efforts will often fail. If you’re lucky, you will grow slowly. 

That is why I am creating this post on how to find product-market fit. This is a mission I’m on. One that I’m stumbling through. But, one that I care about for my company Speak Ai. It’s something that I want to figure out in general. As I continue, I’ll share my updates with you and anything I learn along the way. 

If you have any tips, feedback, words of encouragement or thoughts, please feel encouraged to send them over. Appreciate you checking this out – truly. 

Organizing our NPS Survey

Some brainstorming:

We are going to offer users a chance to win $500 CAD. I hope that is a good enough incentive. We could also offer free hours of transcription or months free of our software. I’m not sure if those are valuable enough. We also need to show that whoever participates does really have a chance to win and also possibly announce the winner so that people are aware we fulfilled the promise.

I really like this Hubspot article on how to find product-market fit.

Survey Questions

The questions are laid out nicely:

How would you feel if you could no longer use this product?

A. Very disappointed

B. Somewhat disappointed

C. Not disappointed (it really isn’t that useful)

D. N/A — I no longer use [your product name]

A follow-up question to this is “Please help us understand why you selected that answer,” where customers can input their responses in a text box. Their responses will give a more in-depth understanding of why your product means so much to them or why it is not a must-have.

2. What would you use as an alternative if [your product or service name] was not available?

A. I probably wouldn’t use an alternative

B. I would use (empty text box for answer input)

The following questions are open-ended and can help you understand how well your product fits into the market based on your consumers’ individual experiences.

3. What is the main benefit that you get from using [your product name]?

4. What type of person do you think would benefit most from [your product name]?

5. How can we improve [your product name] to best meet your needs?

6. What motivated you to use our product?

7. Why are you using our product as opposed to other solutions?

8. What makes our product a must-have product?

We will use a Typeform to do this survey as it is the most intuitive. It would be nice to be able to use the embeddable recorder at Speak to do this but I’m not sure we are quite there yet. 

As we go through this process, I will share updates on how we figured out how to execute, what the results were, what we learned, and how we are iterating to improve this score. Ideally, we can build this into our process more and more and become a well-oiled feedback machine with a high net promoter score.

Branding Challenges

I’m not sure that Speak Ai is going to work as a brand for the software. We have and for some reason, that seems tighter to me. Speak Ai is nice to say and indicative of what we do but because we have the domain we often see people spell our company name wrong. 

To add more confusion, we refer to the product as Speak. So we get variations like:
Speak AI
Speak AI

I can’t tell you how painful it is to have your brand name consistently spelled wrong. If people can’t get that right, I’m not sure how you expect to execute on product-market fit. 

Making this change is definitely something I’ve been considering for a long time. honestly may not be the answer. I have some other ones I’ve brainstormed on. Ideally, a .com would be best. 

Before I do anything, I need more validation and data. The NPS survey will contribute to that. 

Some resources:

6 Steps to Finding Product Market Fit | Product Market Fit Metrics | Product Coalition
Where Do Product Ideas Come From? | Hacker Noon
How to Determine Product Market Fit in Your Industry
The Foolproof Formula for Finding Product-Market Fit – YouTube
What is Product-Market Fit? How to Find It | 2021 Startup Guide
12 Things about Product-Market Fit – Andreessen Horowitz
A Playbook for Achieving Product-Market Fit the Lean Way
How Superhuman Built an Engine to Find Product/Market Fit | First Round Review
1,000+ Best Software Photos · 100% Free Download · Pexels Stock Photos

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