Product-to-market fit is an elusive concept for most startups, but Shreyas doshi achieved it for holders like Google, Twitter and Stripe Many times.
Its secret is simple: make sure you try to solve a problem that is in the top three of the customer’s business priority list.
Shreyas only recently stepped down as a product manager at Stripe and now works as a product advisor to budding startups. He says product-market fit is highly contextual and there is no single framework that all companies can blindly follow.
He develops the strategy to find the product-market fit by referring to his vast experience, with incumbents and start-ups. He says product managers typically ask companies what issues they are facing right now and then create a product to address that issue. Three months later, when the product is ready and the product manager presents the solution to the customer, the response is usually, âOh, the product is great, but we’re not looking to fix this right now. This is repeated six months later and the priorities of any business keep shifting.
Shreyas feels instead, product managers should try to determine the main issues who have been constantly harassing customers for quite some time.
âI follow the technique of ranking the customer problem stack to understand their top three priorities. I ask various questions to find out about general issues the client is facing then rank them according to the customer’s business priorities. Then I’m looking to create a product that will solve one of those main problems, âhe says of his technique for finding a suitable product for the market.
No model available
Shreyas is clear that there is no specific model and that an entrepreneur should not have one because it “shifts the focus from quality to quantity”.
âBasic questions like how you do your job or what problems you have should start the conversation. From there, you have to pay attention to the most surprising thing the customer says during the conversation. This can become your starting point for creating the right product for the customer.
He shares a unique observation on the purchasing habits of customers, particularly in the context of B2B and SaaS.
” I saw that whether you can offer an incentive with your product that makes the buying decision easier, your product is almost always successful. For example, if your product can prevent the customer-side decision maker from getting fired, you’re almost always certain to make a sale, âhe says.
Achieve product-market fit
Once you’ve identified the problem you need to solve, building the product to the product-market fit stage is a whole other journey.
Here, Shreyas’ strategy is to build an adorable minimum product rather than a viable minimum product. He does this by simulating a conversation between the client and his friend.
âSuppose the customer of your product is having a conversation with a friend in a casual setting. And the friend reveals a personal or business problem that your product can solve. What is that statement your customer will say to introduce your product to their friend? ” he asks.
Once you have the answer, Shreyas recommends that you build your product around this statement and try to achieve this description., simultaneously addressing the table issues that you absolutely must include in the product.
To learn more about Shreyas’ take on product and market fit, listen to the podcast here