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Niche software without a million features


#1

I’ve been looking for some decent time tracking software that fulfils my needs as a day rate contractor. Most of the tools are aimed at people who bill hourly, so it means I have to do a bit of coercing to get them to work correctly for my needs. On top of that my accountant provides a platform that handles invoices so I don’t need something to generate those. I asked on Reddit for recommendations and the two main tools are Harvest and Pancake. These appear to have the same issue as my current solution, FreshBooks - having a million features but not the ones I need.

One idea of a product I’ve been thinking about is quite a narrow type of HR software. There are a few competing products, but most look like they haven’t been touched since 2001. I put it past a friend who runs a business that would be the target customer and he said it sounds good, but he would want something that does more HR stuff than just this single part. There are tools that do more like he would want, but they don’t do this single part very well - which is the problem in the first place.

So onto the discussion. Is it possible to target a very narrow niche, with a very specific product, that does only one or two things and does it well? Sure down the road you could have a suite of products under the same brand, but to start with how do you go about getting customers who want everything when you have only got this one thing? How would you handle pricing for something that does one thing well, when you can get something else that does that ok and much more for an already low price point?


#2

I think that kind of niche sounds great. The main thing to me though is to really figure out how you’re going to reach them. If you’ve got a solid idea for the marketing side then do it.

I wouldn’t worry about pricing that much until you have some marketing angles down. That said, niche products often command a higher price than generic alternatives if they’re doing one thing really well and people need that one thing very badly (and it saves them/makes them a lot of money).


#3

It seems like you’re defining a niche by your feature-set. I would think of a niche of contractors as “seo consultants” or “rails developers” or whatever. People identify as those things. I’ve never heard someone self-identify as a “day rate contractor”. For example, where can you buy ads that target day-rate contractors, without also targeting every other contractor in the world?


#6

With pricing, go two times higher than you are really comfortable with and see how it goes. People will pay for an easy life and it’s always easier to drop prices than increase them.

Plus low paying customers are always the ones who end up being a massive time suck on support for some reason. Bless them all ;0)

This might be of interest as it is also along these lines:
https://training.kalzumeus.com/newsletters/archive/saas_pricing