How to Determine a Startup’s *Necessary* Product/Market Fit Needed Before Scaling

As you may recall from last month’s post, we have been making improvements to our website based on a lot of user feedback. We will soon be rolling out a few big changes (Spanish or Chinese anyone?) and will continue to deploy – and remove – new features in the coming months. Our goal is to achieve the right, or necessary, product/market fit as quickly as possible before we officially launch and attempt to scale our business.

The concept of scaling after achieving product/market fit is fairly straightforward: if you scale too early, you will burn cash like a champ and your startup will fall off a cliff. If you scale after achieving product/market fit, however, your startup will become the next Instagram. A few folks like Sean Ellis have written about the subject and have even come up with their own rule of thumb regarding product/market fit indicators http://startup-marketing.com/the-startup-pyramid/.

[caption id="attachment_1083" align="alignright" width="150"] "startup-marketing.com's Startup Pyramid"[/caption]

This all makes utterly, unequivocally, 100% sense to me. One big problem: I still have no clear idea what determines the right product/market fit for HuliHealth . It certainly is not an exact science, especially when facing a 2-sided market (in our case, patients and doctors spanning several countries and continents). What should we do? Continue to run experiments to obtain more user feedback? Assume we’ve achieved the necessary fit and attempt to scale both sides of the market in parallel? Scale one side of the market first, seek validation, and then scale the other side?

I don’t believe there is a right answer, but after taking into account 1) the patient/doctor validation we’ve received thus far, 2) our website’s progress to date, and 3) our team’s eagerness, I believe we’re ready to give it a whirl. In addition to the continuous improvements to our website, with the help of our doctor advisory board, this month we will focus on identifying the top doctors in several specialties in Costa Rica, Panama and Taiwan. In subsequent months, we will begin adding these top doctors to our website and use their help to recruit other doctors. This breadth of doctors and specialties will provide us with the critical mass necessary to provide relevant, transparent information to our patients.

I guess you can say we’ll be following the good ol’ “micro-scaling, step-function approach” to help us reach our product/market fit ;). We’re still not sure how many – or how big – the steps will be… but at least we’ll be a few steps closer to our goal!

Cheers,

Alejandro

PS.  Please check out this cool video (in several language versions) that our very own, Andrew Krumtinger, with the help of our extremely supportive friend, Andrey Spyrison, put together. This video is now prominently displayed on our beta website (beta.hulihealth.com)!

English -  [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TY7yK3eTuIg&feature=g-all-u[/youtube]

Spanish -  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJOSlPtfzmA&feature=relmfu

Chinese -  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-YKTIfOk_A&feature=youtu.be

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