Archive for September, 2013

Finding ‘Product-to-Market Fit’ starts at ideation

In the course of interacting with so many start-ups I have found one common factor. Problem with articulating the problem statement. If you have understood the problem completely then defining it in two sentences should not be a problem at all. But therein lies the problem!

A problem is a problem only if it is recognized as a problem and this is where I find most entrepreneurs getting confused. You may think there is a problem, but does the prospective customer think it is a problem? Is it actually a problem for him or a way of life?

Typically, any product or service helps to:

  • Alleviate a pain point
  • Enhance a pleasure point
  • Achieve an aspiration

There is also a fourth type of product or service that helps to improve business benefits by disrupting existing practices and processes. Here articulation is very critical because you are seeking to change status quo. You need to understand what is the change, why the change and how the change will benefit the customer.

So what does your product do? As an entrepreneur you need to clearly identify what is it that your product or service will bring to the table for the customer. What is it that will make the customer put money on the table? At the end of the day, any idea is a great idea only if it has a happy customer!

Start with the customer. You have an idea but let the idea take shape from the customer’s perspective. For example, you want to start an online store. Here the questions that need to be answered before you even start manifesting the idea are:

  1. What category of products do you want to cater to?
  2. Do these category of products require ‘touch & feel’ before buying or just a description will be enough for someone to buy?
  3. Why the need for an online store for these products?
  4. Are there brick and mortar stores for these products?
  5. How will you compete with these stores?
  6. What will you offer that will make the customer buy from your online store?
  7. What is your customer profile for those products? – geographic, demographic, psychographic etc.
  8. Will this profile of customers actually buy online?
  9. Do they have access to internet?
  10. What will you do to ensure repeat visits and purchases? Repeat visitors and customers are the lifeline of any online store, as continually getting new customers will mean having deep pockets for marketing.

These are some of the questions that need to be dealt with in detail before you start devoting any more time to the idea. This is applicable for every type of product or service.

Most important question to be answered is ‘How will the customer benefit and why?’ Your product or service should evolve only from the customer’s perspective. Only then will you have a product that will have a customer. Once you have your first set of paying customers, because you have done your homework well, then the product or service can actually go through the product-to-market fit using real time experience.

Unfortunately most entrepreneurs start this process after having manifested their idea into a product or service and then go through the pain of having to revamp their offering almost completely or actually revisit the original idea itself.

The author, Srikanth Vasuraj, is a Business Consultant focused on helping start-ups to grow. He can be reached at +91-98454 78585 or . Please visit for more information.

Ideas Pitched / Prototyped at In50hrs Pune 5

1. InstaMe
Digital Business cards that are easy to share via Mobile – aimed at freelance professionals who want to build a following, the less tech-savvy way. They prototyped a way to build and share a passbook file that you can keep on your phone and share.

The app even lets you track how many people have your contact on their phones – and you can update/send a message if you are doing a new dance class batch etc.

2. LetsshareRide
A mobile app that allows anyone – with a car or motorbike to become a carpooler, on the go. Turn on “Carpool mode” and commuters can coordinate with you for a pickup and share a ride.

3. Slambook
Nostalgic about the slambook era where friends wrote about their fond memories of you? Well, now its online in Digital form.

4. Pracly
Pracly allows entrepreneurs, product managers and anyone who is creating value to find the right support they require, by connecting them to mentors and experts. You book a time, pay for it, and you get a fixed timeslot with a mentor/expert to get personal advice for a specific issue. Live at

5. OfferBol
Allows you to find deals of local stores nearby.

6. Obhiyo
Been in a situation where a friend sold his used book. And you went and bought the same book for new and didnt know someone in your own network had it for sale? Well, Obhiyo aims to solve that.

7. Hackreward
Hackreward is solving the problem of recruitment and talent search by leveraging the github repository, setup by companies, aiding applicants to collaboratively build “systems”, not write modular code or solve mathematical algorithms and use the community to spot the best talent. Live at (the final codebase yet to be uploaded)

8. Narad
A Hardware based prototype that is like a portable NAS (Network Attached Storage) that you can use to move files between SD Cards, USB drives, Camera , Mobile Etc. What do they solve – well those times when your camera is running full and you need to dump it into a storage device, but cant do it without a PC nearby.

Next Event – in Chennai on Sept 27th (


The Three Ideas that didn’t move to the Prototype Stage.

1. A Solution for screening Fraudulent Resumes
2. A peer to peer rental platform
3. A Local platform for buyers/sellers

The teams will be announcing when the prototypes go live, via the In50hrs Facebook Group – you can join, if you’d like to be kept updated and want to give feedback to the teams.

Integrated Sales Process — Pictorial View