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Company Market Fit
Digitization of all business has changed competitive strategy.
Start up CEO’s can no longer just think about Product Market Fit, and then scaling up once they find it. They now need to consider *Company Market Fit*. Which I define as maximizing the value of the ecosystem surrounding your business to gain most-favored-nation status for your specific solution. This involves your service or products being consumed easily in multiple channels, wherever and however the customer chooses, on their preferred platforms, enhancing the value to other companies in the value chain at the same time.
What has changed?
Getting turned into a feature or devalued is a constant threat
A bigger tech platform can turn your business into a free feature overnight. Example Microsoft made Teams free and put a serious dent in Slack’s business. They can also partner your competitor; powering up your competition’s utility to customers, and reducing yours. Creating reduction in the attractiveness of your business. Not a preferred Salesforce partner? Sorry, we will buy from your competitor.
Digitization of business makes competitive barriers fall
As digital business pervades every aspect of society, adjacent markets are no longer the heavy investment they used to be. It’s easier than ever for competitor’s to enter your space, especially if they pick a good channel-partner to your customers attention. It’s also easier than ever to test demand and spin up complimentary propositions to solve more aspects of a customers problem. So we may have the same customer, and I decide to try to take your share of their spend too! Intuit & Stripe are great examples of this, constantly adding new services that extend their value to small businesses.
APIs have made connecting complimentary services to build new value propositions speedy & easier than ever. Product managers and development teams no longer have to build everything and their services can sit within other companies products & services too. They naturally look for partner-solutions as they develop their own products & solutions. Meaning you can have many more routes to market by enabling your services to be embedded with others, and vice versa.
No Code needed
Buyers are more comfortable with tech than ever, and so the rise of No code tools like Zapier and Airtable are enabling them to feel empowered to build their own solutions. Can they plug your service themselves to their other tools? If not, you may want to work out how they could.
How to achieve Company Market Fit?
I don’t know. But here are some clues:
Get network aware
Couple of things I wrote about previously worth reviewing. Understanding how you fit in to a wider network and literally mapping it:
*How can we connect your users, suppliers, partners, influencers; in meaningful ways where they will serve your purpose, make it their own, and direct more energy to you as part of the network?*
Job to Be Done
Get close to your customer and understand the extended tasks they are doing where your solution is only part of a much bigger job to be done. For example if you sell marketing content management tech. Work out what else happens before and after you supply the content that involves your buyer, and your buyers colleagues. Who else would one day sell your product or benefit from a partnerships?
Become known in your market by players bigger than you, and by compliments, and adjacent potential partners, and your suppliers CEO. Winning awards is a good approach. So is speaking on panels, sharing integration news of your latest partnership or tech integrations, writing and sharing publicly about the wider market and its direction. Become known by your ecosystem as an expert company and an important part of the market.
Think about your company as the product, and the ecosystem of companies around you as the customers. Get your Company Market Fit not just Product Market fit.
How to measure it
A leading indicator that you have captured most favored nation status, could be: a review of the number of technical integrations and partnerships you have vs. your top 10 competitors. And weighting them in size of partner importance, usage, and how much your users (or their colleagues) use or care about those integrations. To be continued..
Company Market Fit: Maximizing the value of the ecosystem surrounding your business to gain most-favored-nation status for your specific solution.