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How to evaluate markets?


#21

Another update…

I spoke to a local clinic who said they are very happy with their current solution (their website is from the 90s, can’t imagine what their software is like) and will not be switching, but said I am welcome to come and check it out for an hour, how they use it, and why they don’t want to change.

I imagine convincing people to change their system is quite a difficult task in itself. I don’t actually have any software at the minute so I’m going to go down purely on a research basis. Didn’t realise cold-calling could be so effective! :slight_smile: Do you think it would be worth hitting the pavement in the future? There seems to be an immediate conflict over the phone when someone thinks you’re trying to sell something. They ‘accidentally’ put the phone down on me the first time. Persistence pays off :slight_smile:

I’d be interested to hear if there is a better way I can frame this to increase my chances of getting a “yes” through to the operations room? At the moment, I’m babbling something like “I’m in the process of building appointment booking software for clinics and am currently looking to work with a local clinic to identify any problems you might have”. It’s very rough. I need to change it, maybe to something that screams “research”?

Not just that, how might I best make use of the time I spend there? I am taking a notepad, recording the whole thing on my phone, doing research into competition this week, doing research into the clinic I’m visiting, preparing a couple of questions, and keeping my eyes open for those pain points. Any other suggestions?


#22

Perhaps this will be an interesting read:

https://blog.asmartbear.com/vetting-startup-ideas.html

And afterward this one:

https://blog.asmartbear.com/stop-customer-interviews.html


#23

Another better market than haircut salons are the small gyms with private training. Yes, they charge less than vets, but I take my cat to vet once a year, and I pay my trainer at least CAD 80 a week, often double and triple.

What I noticed is that all vet clinics already have some software. Probably not the best one, but some, and it is working. I am yet to see a small gym owner that schedules visits and sends updates via a software. Them can get profits from proper notification channels - i.e. sending a reminder that a particular class is opening next week, so more of the clients show up. Accidental scheduling conflicts are not uncommon, too.

Just saying.


#24

Seems sensible. I do have more indirect connections in terms of small gym owners (friends of friends) than veterinary clinic owners. Having said that, do you think there is a reason they aren’t using software? Perhaps the general day-to-day running is all that high maintenance? It would seem “all vet clinics already have some software” is true because all vet clinics require software to operate with any kind of effectiveness?

Thanks for the ideas! There are so many opportunities out there at the minute. :s

Thanks! Will give them a read! I’m a big fan of asmartbear. I’m sure I’ll read all of his posts over the coming months.


#25

I don’t know how it works with personal trainers, but over here regular gym usage is you pay monthly/weekly and it’s up to you to come. They’re not particularly sad if you paid but don’t show up :slight_smile:

Also, people usually go to gyms as part of their daily/weekly routine, they always go let’s say Mo/We/Fr at 8:00. It’s not appointment out of their standard schedule that you should remind them about.

If they need reminders at all, that would be reminders at the end of month to pay for next month :slight_smile:


#26

It’s a good point. It would seem appointment reminders finds their value when managing irregular appointments. If an appointment is part of a routine, I don’t really need reminding about it. Having said that, the reminders are only one aspect of appointment management software.


#27

In a previous life I built software for vets (now free to good home https://github.com/omer2/radvet) and did actually spend a hell of a lot of time sitting at reception and back office of my local clinic :slight_smile:


#28

They are too busy to stop and install/configure one. My boxing trainer is busy 7am to 8pm, with barely time for lunch on the go. He schedules appointments via SMS and puts the notes about them on some piece of paper on his table. When he schedules a sparring class (something that I’m interested to attend), if I do not have a one-on-one that week, I do not know about that class - because all the announcements are in person, not even email.

You know that joke? Two guys are sawing a tree with an old dull saw. A third tells them “Hey, you need to sharpen your saw!”, and they reply “No time for sharpening, we need to continue sawing!”. So that’s about describes that business :slight_smile:

No, that is a totally different beast. Regular gyms:

  • Already have the software
  • Aren’t interested in you coming, because they always over-book the space - most of their clients stop coming after short time anyway, but do pay the monthly fee. That’s their business model. In small gyms the trainer gets paid only when you come.

#29

Is there any particular reason you opensourced it and didn’t end up running with it like you did with the hair salons?


#30

There was a breakdown in relationships between the founders :frowning:


#31

I got awesome idea, inspired by me spending half an hour yesterday playing with AWS machine learning service (https://aws.amazon.com/machine-learning/).

We, as a group, should build SaaS which will be answering a single question: does my startup/business idea suck?

The input would be a short description of the startup, demographic data (age, occupation, family, etc), how much time you are willing to spend per week, etc. The output is - yes/no. Once we build large enough ML model this thing will be flawless - close to 100% prediction rate.

Than we can add Alexa skill (https://developer.amazon.com/alexa-skills-kit), so everyone with Alexa will be able to evaluate business idea right from the couch. The conversation starts from “Alexa, does my business idea suck?” Followed by questionnaire. At the end Alexa answers original question.

Still working on how to monetize this thing.


#32

Work also on what to do when you get sued for “you told me it will work, and it did not. I lost $15000.”


#33

BIG FLASHING DISCLAIMER on a landing page. And I checkbox that you do this on your own risk.

Alexa skill will require spoken consent.


#34

I’m not sure about monetization, but that would be a nice side service for this forum.

Thinking of that, every thread on this forum is such a machine, just not formalized.


#35

@Damien I think that @amyhoy’s sales safari is the answer. Either that, or you get an advisor like jonathan stark and learn to make your first consulting sale, then go from there (if 1 person buys, there are more waiting for you).

Note: I haven’t ever bought any of amy’s stuff, although I plan to buy 30x500 soon.
Links: https://30x500.com/academy/ http://yearofhustle.com/ / https://expensiveproblem.com/

= mini-article I wrote to myself the other day =
Why do I think sales safari’s work?

Audience/watering-hole questions are the ultimate combination of positioning and niching, b/c they give you:

  • specific language to re-use later
  • specific problem OR specific problem they encountered while pursuing a particular fix
  • specific solution they are pursuing
  • specific business outcome they want
  • (maybe) specific dream of theirs
  • specific mix of prospect size/revenue/whatever other defining characteristics which converge into a market positioning
  • specific person who definitely needs your help/advice
  • specific person who needs at least the lowest tier of solution-ing from you. lowest value: tell them how to solve; medium value: software to help them solve; highest value: solve it for them. (idea via @patio11)
  • (maybe) urgency; in which watering hole it occurred to them to ask the question
  • ??? (more stuff here probably that I haven’t noticed yet) ???

I think this is probably the heart of why research/sales-safari/30x500 works so well.

Related idea: how to find watering holes: look at a question that you have seen asked in one watering hole by someone who runs a business you are researching. B/c google works, you google it, then find other places that people have asked this question.

Another idea: look for lists of book recommendations for the people in a given niche to figure out what they care about and want to learn. If they don’t desire the business and life outcomes of what you’re selling… you will never sell.

Another idea: anything that can answer one of the brain audit testimonial† questions is a great thing to swipe for a sales page later.

https://brainaudit.com/ by Sean De’Souza (I’ve bought 4 copies for myself and friends and clients)


#36

Indeed, why? Do you have a statistics on what is the success rate?

I mean, there are obviously success stories, but how common are they? I do not hear from those taken the course and failed.


#37

I hope you are joking. Otherwise it reminds me of the guys who thought they could solve machine vision as a summer project. That was 50 years ago. ;0)


#38

Of course I’m joking! The story about me evaluating Amazon ML (for unrelated to business project) is real, though.