The Sean Ellis Test

Sean Ellis ran a consulting company, 12in6, that specialized in helping startups during their growth transition stage (post Product/Market Fit). As a condition to taking on a client, he conducted a qualitative survey across a sampling of the company’s users to determine if their product had achieved Product/Market Fit.

The key question on the survey was:

How would you feel if you could no longer use [product]?

  • Very disappointed
  • Somewhat disappointed
  • Not disappointed (it isn’t really that useful)
  • N/A – I no longer use [product]

If you find that over 40% of your users are saying that they would be “very disappointed” without your product, there is a great chance you can build sustainable, scalable customer acquisition growth on this “must have” product.

This 40% benchmark was determined by comparing results across 100s startups. Those that were above 40% are generally able to sustainably scale the businesses; those significantly below 40% always seem to struggle.

Source

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