How 4 questions can tell if you have Product/Market fit

Learn how to measure and optimise your product/market fit

How do I know if my product is taking off? It’s a common question we ask ourselves as we put what we’ve built in the hands of our users. We are aiming for product/market fit. But how do you even know you have fit?

There's a lot of opinions out there on the matter. Paul Graham and Marc Andreessen have spoken about this at length. But there isn't any actionable advice. You only know you have Product Market fit when you have it.

So how can you gauge and optimize for fit? Sean Ellis has great advice. Ask your users.

Here's a simple survey you can use today to get answers:

1. How would you feel if you could no longer use [product]?

  • Very disappointed
  • Somewhat disappointed
  • Not disappointed

2. What do you use [product] for?

3. What is the main benefit you receive from [product]?

4. How can I/we improve [product] for you?

You want to focus on the percentage of users who answer “very disappointed”. These users need your product. After testing this survey with hundreds of startups, Sean says 40% is the benchmark.

If 40% or more of your users answer “very disappointed”, you have created a "must-have" product.

It's brilliant. It gives you an accurate depiction of wether you have built a product your users need. And a benchmark to aim for in future product iterations.

So what are the steps for optimization?

Some actionable steps

1. Send the survey to a random sample of users who have

  • Experienced the primary features of your product
  • Used your product a couple times
  • Used your product recently

2. For the users that would be “very disappointed”, analyse their responses to question 2. This gives you an idea of what use-cases make your product a "must-have".

3. Segment the responses based on the answers to question 2 (What do you use [product] for?). Look for segments with the highest percentage of "very disappointed". You may find that some segments pass the 40% benchmark. This is the segment you should double-down on.

4. With that segment defined, look at their responses to question 3 (What is the main benefit you receive from [product]?). Group similar responses together, focus on the main benefits that are mentioned the most.

5. Work hard to improve the features and offerings that bring about these main benefits. This is what keeps your users glued.

6. Look at the "somewhat disappointed" group. Segment them by responses to question 3 that resonate with the main benefits you’ve identified above. Now look at their responses to question 4 (How can I/we improve [product] for you?). Run the same process as in step 4. Group the responses. Pick out the ones mentioned the most.

7. Add these responses to your product roadmap. These are improvements the "somewhat disappointed" group needs. Implement them and this group will now feel pain if they can no longer use your product.

8. Resend the survey a few days or weeks after making product changes. This depends on the frequency at which users interact with your app. After each survey, repeat the steps. Overtime you will see how your product changes affect your metric.

9. Don't send the survey to users that have already responded to it. This will skew results. You want to target a fresh batch of users to get an accurate view of how the responses improve.

That’s it! Thanks for reading, stay cozy
— Josh 👏

PS: Need help applying this to your own product? I'm an email or a tweet away

PPS: Know anyone that is struggling with Product/Market fit? Do us both a favour and share this with them!

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