I’ve been through other posts here regarding market research, been through many of the blogs on software entrepreneurship, taken on a lot of the advice and suggestions there, which usually are a flavour of:
- look at your experience/expertise/communities you’re involved in
- target narrow customers (niche) – focus on ‘boring’ software as oppose to ‘cool’ software
- build an audience
- build small products for that audience
- leverage, etc, etc,
I taught myself programming about 8 years ago, freelanced for the first 5 years, got a job which I held down for 3 years, quit that a few months ago and have returned to contracting, and now have 30+ hours a week free time to build my own products.
Have been heavy into self-improvement for the last 15 years, I enjoy photography and love motorbikes.
Looking at all of this, it would make sense for me to build products to help the following:
- Self-taught programmers
- People heavy into self-improvement
These are all related to crowded markets.
So I decided to branch out a little. I went on Capterra and G2Crowd and some other business software listing websites. I literally went through every category on Capterra to note the number of competing products. Found a few categories which didn’t have that many options – Art Gallery Management Software was one of those categories.
Also found other categories that, though I’d love to enter, seem very over-crowded - Dog Kennel Management Software and gang (pet grooming, catteries, etc). Went through all of the reviews on some of the big players and noted down all the “cons”, which would seem like a great place to start.
…but all of this has me back at square one - perpetually stuck in research mode. Every time I go to build something, talk to potential customers, even if I setup an application, build out the data model, integrate a template for the frontend etc, there is ALWAYS a point where it seems like it just isn’t going to work because the market is too competitive, and yet the competition is what is validating the idea, so obviously it cannot be avoided.
What is the solution? It seems there is a fine balance between adequate research and a “just ship it” mentality.
I’ve considered perhaps looking for a partner who already has the beginnings of something and running with that, because it appears without direction and faced with mountains of opportunity, I just cannot step forward.