Product Market Fit is a Challenge to Even the Best Entrepreneur

Product Market fit is the golden fleece of being an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurial ideas flow like rivers from the minds of genius’s and common folk alike. But unless there is a product market fit the ideas die on the floor of innovation.

The challenge is to find a market that has a problem and create a solution for that problem that people or business will pay to have. This is not an easy undertaking. Taking your entrepreneurial idea to the market place usually takes time, money and talent. The time alone that it takes can quash the spirit and resolve of even the most ardent entrepreneur. And perhaps that is what make for a robust marketplace. If every entrepreneurial idea made it to market we would be inundated with second-rate, half-baked products and services. Capitalism does not stop them all but none will survive without a good product market fit.

One of the first problem the entrepreneurs have to face is just how to define product market fit (PMF)? Don’t get bogged down in the details here. Start by asking what problem your product or service solves? The market wants products and services that solve problems and they will pay big money for them. Or, they will pay smaller amounts of money over and over again if it is a recurring problem. Think “aspirin.” An aspirin hardly costs anything but it defiantly solves a problem. But it doesn’t cure the problem. That isn’t a defect in the product. It is the nature of the problem. And aspirin has a distinct product market fit.

What is the problem your “aspirin” is going to fix? Maybe it is not an aspirin-type problem. The problem may be larger and non-recurring. Individuals or companies might only make a purchase once in a generation. Think of the MRI machine. These are not rolling off the assembly line like chocolate bars. And without the right product market fit, they would not be manufactured at all.

It takes a lot of work to determine whether you have the product market fit that is going to turn you into a billionaire or a bum. Design, production cost, distribution and more will have to be researched and considered before launching into manufacturing. If you have service it may be a bit easier to launch but unless there is a very good product market fit your business is not going to make it in the long run. None of this is written to discourage you. Instead it is designed to help you think through your entrepreneurial ideas before you rush to market.

The phrase product market fit was coined by Marc Andreessen, a Silicon Valley software engineer. Take a minute and do some more reading on this subject. I can’t cover it all here in one blog post. But do know that your entrepreneurial idea will never see a long life without a good product market fit.