There is a lot of talk about achieving product-market fit, but what about the company-product fit?
Product-market fit is when your value proposition holds true and your product addresses and solves the needs of your target market, and you’ve shared it in the correct channels that will sustain your business and bring you the success you’re looking for. It’s a scenario in which a product satisfies customer needs in a way that alternative products do not.
Marc Andreesen, who coined the term in 2007, believes companies who have achieved this ideal state can feel it because money is piling up, and investment bankers are staking out the company. On the other hand, companies who haven’t achieved product-market fit can feel it because word of mouth isn’t spreading, deals aren’t closing, and press reviews are flat.
However, what about a company-product fit?
During one of my interim assignments, an employee told me he was supposed to attend a course to learn about LED technology and how to design a lighting plan for buildings. I wondered why, because the client was selling software licenses and to my knowledge, nobody was an expert on LED technology or knew how to engage with building designers.
So I asked the director why he had selected this particular product line. He found it to be an opportunity because he could buy LED lighting and fixtures really cheap, allowing the business to make a solid profit. But without any expertise or relevant capabilities, I wondered, wasn’t he concerned with the capabilities gap? ‘Yes,’ he responded, ‘that’s why I’ve sent them on a course.’
The next day, I noticed that the trainees were in total shock. Following the course, they had realized that they knew nothing about the product, the technology, or the market and had no idea what was expected of them, let alone consider their ability to fit the new functional requirements. luckily I managed to talk the CEO out of it.
Whether a product is a good fit for the company, in my opinion, is as big a challenge as finding a product-market fit.
Yet, I could not find a single article on the subject of a company-product fit. Enough is said on the gaps and constraints that may hamper the execution of a business strategy. However, determining the likelihood of establishing both a company-product fit (Q: Can we do it?) as well as a product-market fit (Q: Will they love it?) seems to be a blind spot.
The next image is a first attempt to describe some of the issues related to determining the probability of what I would like to call the Perfect Fit™.