Validating your business & finding product-market fit

Antler Berlin and Future Females recently co-hosted a Clubhouse talk to discuss validating your idea and finding product-market fit. The panel had a mix of founders at different stages, as well as a VC perspective. Speakers included Lauren Dallas, co-founder of Future Females, Saira Gill, Associate Partner at Antler, Charlotte Zhao, co-founder of AVID, and Alicia Becht-Panagotides, founder of Akira.

Validating your idea can be elusive — there’s no one-size-fits-all.

As we all know, users’ general expectations have increased over the last decade. They expect a shiny new product that’s easy to use. Even still, it’s important to understand what features they specifically want before building things that no one will end up using. Along the same lines, all panelists agreed on validating the idea before building the entire product. Resources — time, talent, money — are limited, so use them wisely.

Charlotte, co-founder of AVID, an audio learning platform, began hacking together some tools and brought something basic out to test with users as soon as possible. Through this, the goal was to find the most crucial ingredients to implement with the resources currently available, while still giving the end-user a great experience.

Lauren, co-founder of Future Females, spent years consulting startups on growth marketing. She inevitably talked about the minimum viable experiment — picking one idea (and only one!) to help determine if this idea is worth pursuing. She taught and coached this, as well as used it herself to successfully build up Future Females.

Be hypothesis-driven — do research, build and test relevant hypotheses across segmented customer groups, gather feedback, iterate, and repeat. The more you do this, the closer you will become to not only validate the idea but also find product-market fit.

When beginning to test your product and interview users, see if you can take biases out of your decision-making. You may want to start with all the people you know, but this would be false validation, as it doesn’t really validate your business. Be smart with who you pick as testers — are they within your market segment? Secondly, it’s hard to target a whole market, as you won’t be reaching the right people, so stay focused on what market makes the most sense for your product.

With specific regards to product-market fit, some of the panelists argued that it’s a gut feeling. You’ll know when you’ve found product-market fit as it’ll be less effort to get customers — they will start coming to you and pulling the product out of your hand. Be wary of falling into the common trap of thinking product-market fit has been found by selling a few products. With the right marketing, anything will sell. Aim for organic sales instead to know you’ve hit the sweet spot.

Interested in founding a company alongside a high-caliber group of founders? Find out more and apply to Antler Berlin’s second program, starting October 4th, 2021.

Marketing Associate @ Antler Berlin

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