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Integrated solution value proposition


#1

Hello,

After doing some research I think I found a niche with a problem worth solving but I’m not sure about its viability to build a product. I’m working with someone who is in that niche (let’s call him “the domain expert”) and I plan to build a solution for him, and then try to sell it to his colleagues. Here is my dilemma:

The app I want to build is basically project management for a very specific niche. I’ve done some research, I found a two or three tools that do project management for that niche, and proposed them to my domain expert. He told me that the apps didn’t really meet his needs, he even showed me an excel sheet made by him and his colleagues and told me that he needed an improved version of that excel spreadsheet. That was of course very good for me, now the problem:

Project management requires several functionalities that can be found elsewhere (for example, notes in a project can be taken care by Evernote, shared files by dropbox, Gantt charts by Omni plan). My value proposition will then be: domain knowledge (i.e. the app thinks like you think) and integration between all the views of the project (one app to rule them all). The downside is that my functionalities won’t be as polished as specialized apps (specially not at the beginning).

Here is the question: Do you think integration and domain knowledge are a compelling enough value proposition? What else could I do improve my value proposition?


#2

[quote=“phdsolopreneur, post:1, topic:685”]
The app I want to build is basically project management for a very specific niche. I’ve done some research, I found a two or three tools that do project management for that niche, and proposed them to my domain expert. He told me that the apps didn’t really meet his needs […][/quote]

My questions at this point would be 1) what exactly does he want that is different than the existing solutions, and 2) is what he wants sufficiently compelling to be worth building and selling?


#3

In general I think having a focused web app is a good thing and so is the leveraging of other systems. I think the question you might want to ask yourself is whether you can make it easy enough so that it’s actually easier than just using all those components yourself in a certain way. If the answer is yes, the amount of value would be how much easier it would be. If you can really make life a lot easier for some people than that should be all the value you’d need. And is making it that easy feasible or would it just be a lot of work for 4 people to use it?


#4

Thanks a lot for your comments.


#5

One potential pitfall is if your domain expert is telling you what he wants, but what he wants isn’t a viable product. (This has happened to me) The only people who can tell you if a product is worth buying is the people who actually buy it.

Also, can you reach these folks easily? How much will it cost you to make your first 100 sales, and how much will those be worth?

…it’s not what you asked about, but I see the market as way more important than whatever product you actually build. Do you have a realistic idea of how you can get your first 500 customers?


#6

Thanks for your answer, my domain expert belongs to the group of people who would like to have the product. Other people who would like to buy the products are his colleagues. Of course, it is possible that his problem is only specific to him, but he told me that his peers have exactly the same problem.

Anyways, I think that you are right about the fact that I NEED a plan for customer acquisition before having the product (and I had not yet thought how will I get my first 500 customers). Thanks for the advice, I’ll try to design such a plan and try to validate through some calls to potential customers.