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Really stuck for an idea


#1

Been lurking for a while and really want to start something now every time I have an idea… I find 25 solutions already on the market for it… albeit a little different of how I would go about doing it… but still…

I run a non profit, and naturally in that space there are tons of offerings with regards to SAAS… What is your take on entering a crowded market… proof there are customers?

Is there such thing as the holy grail of ideas or should I just start something and learn…


#2

Hey Serge! I would generally err on the side of just starting something myself. That said it depends a little on how long you’ve been thinking of ideas and not starting anything. If it’s been a month, that’s not necessarily too long - you can keep thinking of ideas. If it’s been 2 years, then yeah you should definitely just start on something already :slightly_smiling:

Best of luck!


#3

Hi Serge,

Having competitors is a great thing as it shows there is a market. In fact I like competing against companies with valuations in the hundreds of millions. Then all you have to do is read every possible customer review of those competitors and distill it into an underserved angle that becomes your MVP.

So my advice would be to start with a niche angle in a large market, rather than go for a niche market.


#4

A crowded market means that there are customers willing to spend money for solutions. However, to enter a crowded market, I would need at least one of the following to be true, in addition to being passionate about serving the customers in that market.

  1. I can significantly differentiate my offering from all the others in the space and have that as my competitive advantage.

  2. I can target a niche segment within the target market, that the current competitors are ignoring.

  3. I have an existing and large customer base in the same market, so my marketing spend to reach out to new customers will be a lot lower.

  4. I have existing authority in the specific market (seen as an expert or influencer)


#5

Interesting view… I never thought of that…


#6

Oh man, I have been thinking about it for years… never finding something good enough… I am sure you know the feeling… It’s like idea paralysis…

And all this time doing nothing is basically wasted… I am starting to think that I should start… just to get me feet wet…


#7

One of the problem I have with my current area of expertise is that it is within Electric Utilities… Long sales cycles, syndrome of not buying from small companies… I have been in this market all my working life and know it enough to not want to go there… (My previous venture was in that space, although successful, I missed my exit… )…

So I guess my next move is going to be trial and error…


#8

Gotcha. Yeah man definitely just pick something and dive in. You can always adjust but the momentum that you get from actually putting something out into the world is huge. You might want to check out the 7 day startup book - https://wpcurve.com/the-7-day-startup/ - have heard good things about it - gives you a framework to get something out the door quickly.


#9

Also, Amy Hoy’s material is gold for finding something that people are willing to pay for, using the “Sales Safari” technique:


#10

You can always try out a new market, as long as you apply a logical process to find the best market for you personally. I’m jotting down a simple brain-storming process below to help you get started. It’s best to do this with someone who knows you very well (spouse, sibling, best friend) as this helps you not cheat yourself into getting into a “cool” yet “unprofitable” market.

Finding the right market for you:

I’d suggest you make the following lists of target markets

  1. List of markets that you are passionate about (hobbies, interests)

  2. List of markets that you are connected with (family and friends in the specific market)

  3. List of markets that you have worked with directly (based on current and previous jobs)

Looking at these sets, find those markets that are common to all and run them through the algorithm below.

  1. Do the target customers buy online? (are there enough successful companies in this space)

  2. Can the target customers be found at any place online? (specific forums around that industry, targeted through facebook)

  3. Do the target customers spend enough online? (look at price points and numbers of successful companies - are they driving enough revenue)

Based on this choose a single target market.

Validate if this market is right for you : For the next 1 month, spend all free time meeting members of this community. Join and participate in forums, engage with them on twitter. If you enjoy spending time with the people you meet, then you continue with this market. If you find yourself not motivated anymore after a month, go back and pick the next target market.

What to do next? : Start building an audience. Do not think Product for at least 6 months. Spend time engaging with the community, start a blog and publish relevant content (any type of content), start capturing email addresses. Spending time with the community will lead you to the list of pain points, which will lead you to the product.