Product-Market-Fit: Should You Tweak Your Product or Market?

3 min read

So you want to attain product-market fit.

Product-market fit is attained when a niche solves their problems by purchasing and using your product, and you are able to unlock repetition = 1 niche x n customers.

In the pursuit of attaining product-market fit, should you iterate the product or market?

The answer depends whether you have an existing market that you're targeting and if you have an existing product.

Scenario A: If you iterate the product without an existing market

It means you're experimenting with a prototype and/or a new technology.

This is likely to be a technology-related hobby or a passion project like bendable screen. By all means, experiment and build prototypes! But if you decide to pursue this further, it might lead into a situation where you have a solution in search of a problem as you search for possible commercial applications.

Scenario B: If you iterate the market without an existing product

You are free to choose the problem worth solving for a niche.

If you're starting from 0 without attachments, this is the ideal situation you want to put yourself in. Your challenge is discover what problems are faced by the customers, and which ones have not been solved or under-solved.

Scenario C: If you iterate the product with an existing market

It means you are changing your solution to fit the needs of the niche.

This is an ideal scenario only if you know this market well enough, have access to the users and buyers, and could not deviate away from the niche. This could end up being a perfect opportunity to become everything for the niche.

Scenario D: If you iterate the market with an existing product

You end up in a situation where you have a solution in search of a problem that belongs to a niche.

This is a dangerous situation to be stuck in as you may end up finding a market that fits your product. It may take days or weeks if you're lucky. But get ready to fold your venture if you aren't able to search in the coming months or if you have strapped for cash to keep it alive.

Very often, achieving product-market fit is about tweaking either the product or market. Whether you iterate the product or market, it depends on which of the 4 scenarios that you're in.

Context is king.