The problem with finding product-market fit
Companies that find product-market fit typically want to aggressively chase that newfound demand. Particularly after an often-lengthy period of having a difficult time bringing on customers, it can be a somewhat euphoric and addicting experience to finally be tapping into the demand in market for the product.
The problem with trying to tap into this demand is that it often comes at the expense of building the company’s infrastructure to support that additional business. Processes, like customer onboarding, and internal tools, like a company’s CRM, may have worked well when adding 5 or 10 customers a month. But they may not work nearly as well when adding 50 or 100. Without also scaling up their operational capabilities, many fast-growing companies end up overextended and unable to effectively manage this increased demand. Quality quickly decreases, which creates headwinds for long-term growth, and those same scalability requirements remain, only now they’re harder and more costly to solve.
What can company leaders do to ensure their organizations are equipped to handle all this demand? The answer may not be the same for every company, but it probably falls into one of these three buckets:
Create planned pauses in growth to allow for the company to “catch up” in its organizational and operational capabilities
Invest in people who are more likely to create scalable infrastructure in their orgs from the get-go – opt for hiring strategic thinkers and not just fast executors
Dramatically simplify the product offering to reduce complexity in the business and make scaling easier – it’s almost always better to have unmet demand than to be servicing too many customers poorly