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Ask HN: How to validate a market opportunity in a cost effective way?
9 points by coo1k 5 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 6 comments
tldr; I’m looking for some kind of signal before I spend significant amount of time building something.

I want to build a competing software product for a particular type of small biz. I see in reviews that people are not happy with the leading software provider for that niche. But how should I validate that there is a market opportunity for it and people will actually be interested in it? I tried creating a survey and posting a link on Facebook but nobody took the survey. Survey monkey has a service to get responses(don’t know how they do that) but it’s very costly I.e. $100 for just 100 responses. What are the other cost effective & reliable ways? I’m pretty sure I’m not the first person facing this problem.

Here's the way that I do it. Copied from a previous comment:

Keywords, Google keyword tool, forum chats, Reddit comments. Use tools like these to find EVIDENCE that people are trying to find a solution (similar to yours) to the problem they have.

If you find this evidence, it proves that:

1. There is an inefficiency present (opportunity is simply inefficiency by another name).

2. It shows that the problem is painful enough that people are trying to find a way to solve it. And..

3. It proves that the customer is aware enough of the problem to be able to see you as a likely solution (so you don't have to educate them).

I used this process to come up with my own successful ideas. One of which being: https://myapptemplates.com.

This video will help shed more light on the above https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exMoRoaxKtQ

Thank you for the advice

Build a database of possible interested parties in your neighborough and cold call them to get their view and make a pitch... if enough interest arises, build an mvp and call again for a follow-on in person with your mvp and a demo.

That’s what I’ll eventually do. Right now I don’t have a product at all. Just want to evaluate the idea.

Not having a product yet is good! You don't need a product to make these calls. The point is to better understand the product they're wishing they had, which becomes the product you build.

Where the OP said "pitch", take it in the sense that you can pitch these leads on you and your commitment to meeting their needs. This warms them up for when you call them again in 2 or 6 or 12 months with that product. They'll be excited to hear from you and invested in learning more about the product.

Got it. Good advice. I’ll try that.

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