Product-Market Fit (PMF) means, being in a good market with a product that can satisfy that market.
This is a rather vague definition.
It gets even weirder – you can always feel when product/market fit isn’t happening. And you can always feel product/market fit when it’s happening.
No wonder, there are several commonly believed but false ideas around PMF.
This article looks at four of these myths closely here.
Myth #1: Product market fit is always a discrete, big bang event
Some companies achieve primary product market fit in one big bang.
Most don’t, instead of getting there through partial fits and a few false alarms.
Many times, you get is for some subset of the market segment, while you are still struggling in other.
Myth #2: It’s patently obvious when you have product market fit
Some exceptional few know when they achieve product-market fit, but it’s far murkier for most startups.
How many customers (or site visits or monthly active unique or booked revenue dollars, etc.) must you have to prove the point?
There is no fixed benchmark for this.
It Is really driven by how your product is engaging with your customers (or vice a versa).
Myth #3: Once you achieve product-market fit, you can’t lose it
You slog out for months (if you are a B2B startup, it’s more months) to get a PMF.
Can you then relax once you get it?
These days markets are moving/changing at an accelerating pace. As your market moves, your product needs to move with it making product/market fit a pulse that you need to constantly keep your thumb on.
Additionally, when you try to expand your target audiences to new segments, you need to step through this process again.
Myth #4: Once you have product-market fit, you don’t have to sweat the competition
It’s fine to stay lean if you are not quite sure that you have a product-market fit and there are no competitors in your face every day. But usually, there are. In fact, the best markets are usually the ones in which competition is fierce because the opportunity is big. How long should you stay lean before attacking? Again, there is no formula that works in all (or even most) cases.
So, stay away from these myths about PMF!