What Every Founder Should Know to Find Product-Market Fit

It takes a wild mindset to launch a startup. Why? Given the fact that about 90% of startups fail in their early stages, it takes guts to stand against the stats and launch your own business.

There are various reasons why startups fail. One of the most frequent reasons is not finding product-market fit.

However, as with a lot of frameworks, it’s frequently misused and wrongly defined. Let’s figure out what product-market is fit and why it still matters.
What is product-market fit?
Product-market fit is the stage where a company has successfully identified a target audience and serves their needs with the right product. It’s the perfect balance of a company’s value proposition, customers, and distribution channels. Simply put, the business achieves product-market fit when a product satisfies the customers on the market.
Common myths about product-market fit
Myth #1: Product market fit is always a big bang event that’s easy to identify.
Myth #2: Once you have product-market fit, you can’t lose it.
Myth #3: Once you achieve product-market fit, you don’t have to work on outpacing the competition.
How to measure product-market fit
You can measure product-market fit usingcustomer surveys to identify how many users consider the product you sell a ‘must-have’. Services like Delighted and others can help you automate the process of collecting and analyzing user feedback.

However, product-market fit is less about hypothetical numbers and more about an in-depth understanding of who your customers are and how they feel about your product.
The road to product/market fit is usually driven by finding customers via word-of-mouth before scaling user acquisition.

As an early-stage company, your product will probably satisfy a small market segment. As you grow, your customer profile might evolve.
Usual benchmarks to measure product-market fit
1. Do your customers recommend your products to their network?
This might include metrics like Net Promoter Score (NPS).
2. How many customers leave, how soon, and why.
Some marketers define product-market fit based on customer retention and churn.
3. Repeat usage and engagement metrics
Some specialists validate product-market fit based on how often customers use the product over a given time.
Key indicators of product-market fit
To find out whether your product achieves product-market fit, you need to combine qualitative and quantitative measurements.

1. Qualitative indicators
The starting point with measuring product-market fit is deploying qualitative indicators.

To get a qualitative understanding, the Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a great metric to start with. If the product truly solves the audience’s problem, then they should be willing to recommend it to others. The main downside with qualitative information is that it carries a probability for generating a false-positive result.

2. Quantitative indicators
There are two basic metrics to understand product-market fit: retention curve and direct traffic. In simple terms, flat retention curves typically indicate product-market fit. Direct traffic is typically the signal of word-of-mouth working.

You can also take a look at these three signals:

1. Retention. 20-40% of users should regard your product or service as a must-have.

2. Referrals. You have referrals brought to your company by existing users or from organic marketing campaigns instead of paid marketing campaigns. Shoot for acquiring at least 50% of your users with referrals or non-paid campaigns.

2. Growth channels: You have at least 3 growth channels with positive economic units that are not only identified but tested. Why 3 growth channels at once? Growth is not something that comes from a silver bullet. It has a limited life span. Make sure to have multiple growth channels.

Here is one of the most popular tests of product-market fit: ask people who use your product frequently enough one particular question.«If this was to be taken from you, would that be a problem? Would your life be worse?». If at least 40% of users say it would be a problem for them, the product has real product-market fit.
Searching for product-market fit the right way
The most common mistake when trying to achieve product-market fit is focusing on the product first. Here are four main market elements you should take a look at:
— Category. What category of products is your product in?
— Target audience. Who are the users within the product category?
— Problems. What problems does your target audience have?
— Motivations. Why are those problems significant to your target audience?

Here are additional elements that are crucial to define before generating product hypotheses:
— Core value. What is the core value proposition of the product? How is it tied to the user problem?
— Time to value. How quickly can you get users to experience value?
— Stickiness. Why will customers stick around? What are the retention mechanisms of the product?
Products that have achieved product-market fit bring real value to users. Eventually, products that don’t bring value are not sustainable.

Product-market fit is strongly connected with referrals and word-of-mouth. If the product solves a real need in someone’s life, it’s natural for them to talk to other people about it and recommend it to others.

Do not try to scale your business before you hit product-market fit. Otherwise, you will run into the leaky bucket phenomenon. All that effort you put to bring people to the product will be a waste of time and resources as users will just end up churning. So make sure your product achieves product-market fit before you turn to scaling.

The key takeaways
Start with the market problem rather than the product solution. Not the other way around.
Create your market hypothesis defining product category, target audience, user problems and motivations.
Create your product hypothesis defining core value, time to value, stickiness.
To achieve product-market fit, combine the qualitative and quantitative indicators.
Use benchmarks to measure product-market fit.

Author’s bio: Anna Grechko is a marketing enthusiast and knows the field inside out. She is the marketing specialist at Smart IT. Sharing knowledge is a big part of her career, so Anna actively seeks to spread good vibes, and collaborates with the great tech and marketing minds of the world.

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What you should know about online reviews as a business owner

Even though collecting online reviews have been around for some time, there are business owners and other individuals who are yet to fully get the hang of the concept. Daily, more and more people and businesses are getting online presence and doing more of their activities digitally. Thus, businesses need to know how online review systems like US Reviews can affect their business. You can be sure that review systems are not going to fade away, they are only going to get even more popular. This article discusses how online reviews can affect your business.

Customers don’t care about your information about your business
If a journalist was to ask you about your business, are you going to tell them about the fight you had with a customer the previous week where you thought the customer was at fault, only to later find out that you are the one who is at fault? The obvious answer is that you are not going to tell them. Thus, every business owner will only give positive information about their businesses every time even if it means lying or exaggerating the truth. This is why it would be difficult for customers to believe what you have to say about your business. The only way that the information on your website can serve your customers is that they provide your customers with something to hold you to. Thus, when customers find reviews on your website or your Facebook page, they know it could have been posted by you, and even if not, they have no way of being sure, thus it does not mean much to them.

Online reviews are highly trusted by customers
A study discovered that 84 percent of customers in the United States consult online reviews, friends and family members when they want to know about a service or product. Furthermore, 76 percent of the respondent stated that they checked online reviews before deciding if they would go ahead to patronize a local company or not. 85 percent of respondents in another study said they only patronize services or products for which they can find online recommendations, while 70 percent of the respondents said they believe in online reviews in the same vein they trust recommendations from people they know. This shows the influence of online reviews and the fact that over 70 percent of your sales could be influenced by online reviews.

Your sales can be influenced by your reputation online
Even though a lot of small businesses claim they do not care about reviews left for them online, online reviews can make or mar their businesses. This also applies to big businesses as well. A significant number of negative reviews about your business or no review at all is enough to discourage prospective customers from patronizing you. You would thus, be losing a high number of new customers that could turn out to become loyal customers and referrers of other new customers.

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Are you a business owner in constantly changing times, and it seems very difficult to get a sales process down because the methods keep changing every year?

Well, while the methods of sales/marketing and human idiosyncrasies could change very fast, the very principles of sales/persuasion do not change. From my research, and after a quick study of the book Influence by Robert Cialdini, I have realized that Relationship Building, Authority/Consensus and Value Proposition are three principles of sales you can be sure to always work for your business, regardless of the systems or methods you use to actualize them.

In this article, I will break down exactly how to use these 3 sales principles to increase your sales either in your brick and mortar store or online space. Keep in mind that there are many principles embedded in each of these principles I’ll be sharing, and there are many more triggers or factors that could affect a person’s buying decision, so many we couldn’t possibly satisfy all of them.

The principles mentioned in this article are therefore not the only ones but are some of the strongest and most consistent principles you can be sure will always work regardless of what you sell.

Now a disclaimer: This should go without saying, but I am writing these principles in this article for people who have actual businesses (products and services) which are beneficial to people. If you are selling scammy products, this is not for you.      

With all this in mind, let’s get started.


The principle of Authority (my definition) states that you should follow an expert, especially in a field you know little about.

The principle of Consensus is a bit similar, and it states that you should look to see what the tribe (people who are exactly like you) is doing and do the same.

While these principles are different and often taught differently, I have put them together in this article because they are the principles that involve using other people’s influence to sell your product, service or idea.

If you just learned about personal development yesterday, and you do not know which books you should start reading or which guru you should start following, the first thing you’d probably do is a Google search which would look like:

“Which personal development books are the best?”

“Which personal development workshop can I attend in Ohio?”

“Which online personal development coach should I work with?”

When you get the search results, you’ll either browse through some recommendations on Google or in a top community like reddit or Quora and pick the most recommended. Why?

Because if so many people can vouch for them, then they must be the best. It is the same reason a person seems to be more attractive when he/she gets featured in a fashion magazine, or when they have many of your friends calling them attractive.

So how do you use these strong principles for selling?

  1. Provide good knowledge

If you become famous on Twitter for providing industry specific knowledge that works for your followers, they are going to view you as an authority, and buy your products when the time comes.

  1. Mingle with other top authorities

If you can get top authorities in your industry to endorse you, you will sell more. You can get top authorities to endorse you by building a relationship with them, doing quality work for them, referencing them when you share content and so on.

Relationship Building

If, as a girl, you met a guy today, would you be open to marrying him immediately? I doubt it. No matter how much you like him, you’d want to spend some time building a relationship, getting to know him better before you make that life changing decision.

This principle of relationship building is simply a little combination of the principles of Liking, Reciprocity and Commitment.

While the choice of who to buy from might be less important than the choice of a partner for lifelong commitment, the principles behind them are the same:

People are more likely to buy from people they know, like and trust.

How do people learn to like and trust you?

  1. By making yourself relatable

The reason why rags to riches stories work in personal development is because a lot of people seeking personal development can relate to them. The can relate to being broke, out of shape, being a misfit, etc., and they think “Oh, if this guy who was just like me could do it, then I can too! I just need to learn what he knows!”

Spend some time researching your target clients and understanding their life as it is to them, then use words that describe their lives even better than they can describe it themselves.

  1. By giving them something first

If you can help your target client with something of value that benefits them, they are more likely to like you and want to give back to you.

Value Proposition

The value of your product, and how you present this value to your target customer is very important in influencing their buying decision.

This principle is based on the principles of scarcity and contrast.

If you can show that your product is better than the other options your customer has seen, and you can demonstrate scarcity, then you’ll be more likely to attract more customers fast.

How do you achieve this?

  1. By giving your customer every piece of knowledge they need

A car is sometimes a lifelong decision. Before you can sell a car to someone, there must be enough information to help the person make that buying decision. I’m not saying your sales content should be too long, I’m only saying it should be complete.

Include every single nitty-gritty of your product that is important to help the customer make the right decision and add it to your sales content.

  1. By listing features and benefits

Find out the features that your product has and tie them to the benefits your target clients are looking for. Don’t just waste away a sales opportunity by listing only the features. Include the transformation they are sure to get if they use your product or service and make them dream about having that transformation.

  1. By having a well-defined Unique Selling Proposition

You must find out that important element in your product or service that makes it better than the other products your target customers would normally see. When you find it, describe it properly and present it to your customer the best way possible.

  1. By injecting some scarcity

Humans like doing things on deadline day. It is therefore you give them a time or space deadline to prompt a quick response and give the idea of scarcity in the sales of your product.


The system you use to market to your prospect doesn’t matter, as long as they use the principles of marketing. Now, this is not a 100% guarantee that you will get every single person you attempt these principles with, but it will improve your sales considerably.

Also, it is important that you use these tips nobly and only when you have a truly valuable service to sell. If you use these principles to scam people (and you can), you’ll be a con man, not a businessman or salesman, and that cannot sustain you in the long run.


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4 of the best ways to print on custom paper bags

Paper bags are used in a wide variety of businesses as a way to promote more environmentally friendly practices and spread brand awareness. However, this can only be done if the print quality is good and the bag has a long reusable life. Here are 5 of the ways that manufacturers print on paper bags and how to know which one is best for your business needs.


  1. Digital printing

This printing method is becoming one of the most popular in the industry. It removes the need for a printing plate making it far more cost-effective. The designs are created on digital files which can then be printed directly on your custom paper bags.

Digital printing is good if you are looking to create complex designs with multiple colourways. This is one of the most popular methods of printing on modern custom paper bags.


  1. Litho printing

Litho printing requires more human input in the initial printing and design process. The image of the design is placed on a plate with the ink applied before being used for printing.

The increased human input in litho printing means the lead times are longer than on the digital process, so if you require a quicker turn around on your custom printed paper bags we recommend opting for another method.


  1. Screen printing

This highly popular printing technique uses a frame with the design printed onto a sheet. Screen printing is good for custom paper bags as a variety of different designs can be placed onto the finished product.

The solid ink printing method of screen printing came into mainstream use in 1986 and has since led to a boom in the popularity of custom printed paper bags.


  1. Foil printing

Foil printing is one of the more specialist printing techniques. Metallic paper is used in a combination of heat and pressure to create shiny designs on your custom printed paper bags. Needless to say if you want a more reflective design on your product this is the method you should go for.


Find a manufacturer who can print all the different types

Getting the right method of printing for your custom printed paper bag is crucial if you are to get a product you are happy with. Part of the challenge as a customer is finding expert custom printed paper bag suppliers that can deliver to you on a consistent basis. To rise to the challenge, make sure you do your research.

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Business Management Tips For The Young Leader

You may physically be young, or you may simply be young in the world of business management.  Either way, there’s a sharp learning curve when you’re the one in charge. Managing an office is one thing, but managing the whole business is another.  

Your job description expands quite a bit when you’re the head honcho of the whole operation.  Check out this brief look at some business management tips for the young leader, and take a few notes along the way.  Equip yourself to take on the world.  

Know-how is not enough 

Knowing all the technical knowledge about your career is excellent, but you can’t succeed on knowledge alone.  Expertise in your field may give you a heads up on the competition, but consumers can’t invest in what they know nothing about.  

Delve into the various aspects of good marketing and administration skills.  These two perks will give you a good foundation to succeed in your new role as a leader.  

Be particular when hiring

Pay close attention to the professionals you choose to hire for your business.  Don’t hire family members, unless it’s a family-run business. Working with family is a challenge all on its own.  Consider hiring remote professionals, as they require less overhead and maintenance. 

Use the tools the internet provides to sift through qualified applicants.  Platforms like Indeed and LinkedIn are a good place to start vetting the best professionals for your successful team.  

Financial management is always a priority

Proper handling and management of the company’s finances is essential.  Make sure you always have the best team of professionals handling the money for your business, and keep a close eye on every dime that moves in and out of your operation.  A monthly budget template is a valuable tool for managing finances.

Make sure your professionals have the tools to succeed, and invest in the latest and greatest financial software for your business.  Don’t make your professionals work with outdated tools.  

Planning is everything in business

You should avoid making rash or speedy decisions as the manager of a business.  Practice the 24 hour rule, and give yourself time to contemplate all dimensions of a big decision in the company.  

One bad decision could really leave your operation damaged, so always choose wisely.  Don’t be afraid to make big changes and take chances, just take the time to consider all the angles.  

Hone your people skills 

Working in business will always mean working with people.  Honing your people skills will always be a proper way to spend your time/money.  Learn to actively listen.  

Learn to allow others the room to shine, and learn empathy.  These most valuable people skills will take you far in any industry of business.  

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How a simple tagline could be key to branding across platforms

With some taglines, you only have to see or hear them to instantly recall the brand that conceived it. For example, you probably don’t need us to spell out which companies coined the slogans “Just do it”, “I’m lovin’ it” and “Exceedingly good cakes”, such is the power of the well-crafted tagline.

However, slogans like these aren’t just for big-name companies. Smaller brands can urgently need taglines for succinctly and memorably summarising their mission, as Forbes points out. This gets to the heart of why even just one tagline can work well across multiple marketing platforms…

What core purpose should your tagline serve?

Today, even if you run a small company with scarce economic resources, you still have a wide range of good-value marketing means at your ready disposal. For example, any business can, for free, register accounts on various social media sites and start posting to these accounts regularly.

However, as many of the world’s best-known taglines significantly predated the social media age, it’s clear that the likes of Facebook and Twitter haven’t spurred the proliferation of taglines. In essence and any age, a tagline should take no more than a few words to encapsulate your brand’s nature.  

That doesn’t give you a huge amount of leeway for creating something memorable – and, indeed, it’s no wonder that taglines can too easily slide into trite or unpredictable territory. Just think of KFC’s “So Good” slogan, which has been derided as “hollow-sounding”, as Inc. makes clear.

What works in a tagline and what doesn’t?

Such is the variety of taglines that it can be difficult to tease out definite dos and don’ts when it comes to creating one. However, we can probably all recall various examples of slogans which have long endured in the memory, perhaps even after the brands in question have stopped using them.

Many such taglines have been highlighted by Econsultancy, with HSBC’s “The world’s local bank” showing the financial services institution’s down-to-earth approach despite its clearly multinational reach. Similarly, Tesco’s “Every little helps” reaffirms the retail giant’s ultimate focus on the customer – though, of course, value for money comes into the equation here, too.

What, then, should you actually avoid doing? In general, puns don’t tend to work well, at least if they aren’t genuinely clever, though the “Shave time, shave money” slogan used by Dollar Shave Club does faithfully reflect the company’s witty and self-deprecating approach to advertising.

How could you find a tagline for your company?

The fact that certain slogans have stood the test of time for decades shows that the essentials of a good tagline remain much as they were generations ago. Nonetheless, in 2019, you could focus on coming up with a tagline easy to imagine looking good not just on print materials but also on digital platforms including websites, social media and apps.

Hence, you could benefit from tasking copywriters with coining your tagline in tandem with other digital marketing services helping you to spread the word far and wide online.

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