One way a startup can iterate and find product-market fit quickly is by using the “Build-Measure-Learn” loop popularized by Eric Ries in his book “The Lean Startup.” This approach involves:
- Building a minimum viable product (MVP) that has just enough features to test a hypothesis about the target market’s needs.
- Measuring the performance of the MVP by gathering feedback from customers and analyzing data on usage and engagement.
- Learning from the feedback and data to inform the next iteration of the product.
Another way to find product-market fit quickly is to conduct customer development through interviewing potential customers, validating assumptions and gathering feedback, testing pricing and value proposition, and using that feedback to improve the product.
Additionally, it is important to be flexible and open to pivot if you are not seeing traction with your current approach. This can mean changing your target market, business model, or even the problem you are trying to solve.
There are several methods a start-up can use to pivot quickly:
- Customer Development: This method involves regularly interacting with customers to gather feedback and validate assumptions about their needs and preferences. This can help a start-up identify new opportunities and pivot their product or business model as needed.
- A/B Testing: This method involves creating two or more variations of a product or service and testing them with a small group of customers to see which one performs better. This can help a start-up quickly identify which features or elements of their product are most appealing to customers.
- Rapid Prototyping: This method involves creating a series of simple, rapidly-created prototypes to test different aspects of a product or service. This can help a start-up quickly iterate on their ideas and gather feedback from customers before investing a lot of time and resources in a final product.
- Pivot-or-Perish: This is a term used to describe the process of recognizing when the current business model is not working and making a quick decision to pivot to a new one before running out of resources.
- Agile Development: Agile development is a project management approach that emphasizes flexibility and adaptability, allowing teams to pivot quickly as needed. A key methodology within this from a start-up context is the ability to move quickly & balance achievable vs revolutionary.
It’s worth noting that pivoting doesn’t mean a complete change of direction, it could be a minor adjustment, but it is important to have a clear understanding of the problem, the customer and the market, because a pivot that is not well-informed can lead to a waste of time and resources.
Pivots have been used to incredible effect, whether in large corporates prioritising the future vs their staple such as Nintendo as well as firms such as Jasper.AI launching their marketing product following a large pivot.