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Trevor Hatfield3/22/16 12:21 PM2 min read

Why You Can’t Skip Steps When Working Toward Product-Market Fit


Regardless of your experience level, putting together a new business venture is never an easy task. In fact, the road ahead is so uncertain, so perilous and so rife with challenges that even the most seasoned veterans might be tempted to take a shortcut in the early phases of developing a startup. After all, one step closer to market means one step closer to reaping the benefits of all your hard labor.

However, building the foundation of a new business requires such precision and forethought -- not to mention a detailed plan of action -- that restlessness must be halted if one is to provide a startup with a solid launching pad to success. Here are the top priorities to take into consideration while developing your SaaS startup.

Cultivate problem-solution fit

Long before fleshing out its objective, a startup should first pinpoint the problem or customer need it aims to fulfill. This goal is often known as finding the “problem-solution fit” and allows the team behind the startup to be sure that it has truly determined how its product will fit into the marketplace. 

If you want more insight on working through this stage, download our eBook, "Pre-Marketing SaaS Initiatives: Working Through Problem-Solution Fit". To that end, it’s wise to conduct some testing during this stage to verify this hypothesis through interviews with potential customers.

Identify the market

A key element of turning your product into a success story is to identify the market that you’ll be entering into once you officially launch. More than providing you with a greater understanding of how you fit into the marketplace, this step will help you gauge who your competition is and, by extension, which consumers you’re looking to target with your product. Entering into some form of market and product research at this stage is a good idea, as is looking into how buyer personas work.

Understand your customers

Even when you have a solid idea of what market your product will target, that doesn’t mean your startup magically has all the answers at its fingertips. Now, more than ever, customers are overwhelmed with options to solve their specific needs. So, adopting the customer development model -- which emphasizes fostering a customer base during the product development phase -- can help you gain a better grasp of your customers even before you finalize your company’s structure.

Validate your product

At a certain point, a startup may feel as if its product is ready to hit market; but before that crucial step takes place, don’t forget to determine if you’ve reached your optimum product-market fit. While you may have identified the problem your product can solve, and gained a firm grasp on your customer base, you still need to investigate just how well you have managed to satisfy their needs with your product. You might be more eager than ever to leap to market, but take the time to do the necessary research to ascertain product-market fit first.

If you are interested in learning more about the customer development model, check out our post that explains the importance of customer development for startups.

For more SaaS marketing ideas as well as invaluable insight into how you should approach your startup, check out our new eBook, “Pre-Marketing SaaS Initiatives: Working Through Problem-Solution Fit.

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Trevor Hatfield

Trevor Hatfield is the founder of Inturact and strives to create highly tuned marketing machines for their clients websites, products, and apps. While also constantly keeping up with technology and building a team of multifaceted and dedicated professionals.