October 9, 2019

The niche you would never target with your startup and why.

There are a lot of discussions about niches. Which one to target. This is the opposite question.
What is the niche/area you would never target with your startup and why?

My two are probably:

ToDo List (oversaturated in my opinion)
Project management tool (oversaturated in my opinion)

  1. 8

    Indiehackers 🙂

    • Typically avoid spending money on software

    • Usually, we (Indiehackers) think we can hack it together ourselves

    • Churn rate would be huge due to the overwhelming failure rate of startups with Indiehackers

    Of course, I have an open mind and would love to see a product that could go against the grain here and prove those points to be wrong.

    1. 1

      Very interesting point :) I'm looking at this as a niche.

      Does everyone agree with this? Am I in the wrong place :)))?

    2. 1

      Hah, you're probably right. But it depends. In my experience, about 80% of my friends think as you said. The rest is able to pay even for something that can be hacked together in 5 minutes :)

  2. 6

    I will stay out of any niche where I:

    • don't personally know people who work in it / use tools in it

    • don't understand the dynamics of the market

    • don't know at least a bit of history about

    • don't know who makes the purchasing decisions

    The great thing: all of these things can be overcome by research or just talking to people.

    1. 1

      The last point is huge - thanks for that

    2. 1

      I can just agree with you.

  3. 4

    Any niche that's resistant to technology and would require a lot of B2B sales to close. No thank you... Ideally, my target customer should already work on a computer for a living, pay for various SaaS software, and are tech-savvy enough to navigate and use any standard SaaS web app with minimal hand-holding.

    1. 2

      Yeah, seems like a recipe for a lifestyle business. That's awesome! Choosing the right niche for you. I wonder sometimes if I'm choosing the right market for the lifestyle I want to have.

      1. 2

        Yeah, seems like a recipe for a lifestyle business.

        I almost thought you meant it as an insult. Lol.

        But yes, it's a recipe for a lifestyle business.

        I don't believe in working for a business, but in a business working for me. I think there's way too much propaganda out there for entrepreneurs to kill themselves and sacrifice everything to chase the biggest ideas or markets, no matter how ill-equipped or ill-suited they are for such grand pursuits. Propaganda mostly perpetuated by people with vested interests, such as investors who hope to profit handsomely off founders...

        "Lifestyle business" was quite a dirty word in the startup world just a few years ago. Now, at least to me, it seems to make perfect sense. Life is too short to do something you don't want to do.

        1. 2

          No not an insult at all! It must be so much easier know exactly how (roughly) people use the net and where they hangout online, means you can reach them easier. I like the bit about "pay for various SaaS," totally makes sense. I think a big disconnect that I see, especially in brick and mortar businesses, is this. They'd rather pay a grand or two up front than pay $99/mo perpetually. They just can't see the benefits of never having to worry about the problem again, all they see is the dollar signs. Honestly "lifestyle business" is music to my ears, definitely the future as well imo.

    2. 1

      my target customer should already work on a computer for a living

      Oh boy. I remember with my first startup having to educate customers about the difference between a double click and a single click (mostly noticed as they double clicked their way through our webapp). 🤦🏻‍♂️

  4. 2

    "Local events" because Paul Graham said it's a "Perennial tarpit" in terms of startup ideas lol

    1. 1

      Pretty much any idea that starts with "wouldn't it be cool if ... ??"

      (Disclaimer: I started a local events company after college. Very hard to focus on a niche and too tempted to make it for everyone and therefore, no one)

  5. 2

    it's not about niches, it's about problems. If I'm not having the problem, I'm not going to solve it. I solve for myself first before anyone.

  6. 2

    Anything that is seasonal (no constant business), hype of the month/year/century (looking at you crypto :), rips people off (payday loans etc) and any other predatory niches.

  7. 2

    Niches are great because they’re fractal: when they get too big, smaller ones appear inside them :)

    ToDo lists are definitely commonplace (and making one would bore me) , but I can see a todo list geared toward a small subset of the population (young veterinarians, middle class single moms, amateur plane pilots, whatever....) working.

    But to answer the question, restaurant owners scare me a bit so wouldn’t do anything with them I guess

    1. 2

      Lol at the restaurant owners bit. It is a very tough market indeed, definitely hard to get through to them with technology offerings. A big reason they're so tough imo is that their margins are REALLY small, so it makes them frugal and slow to spend on anything that's not mission-critical. A successful restaurant can have a net profit of just 2.5 - 5%.

      I'm working on something for the specialty coffee market right now and I'm experiencing some of the same problems.

    2. 1

      I did 2 projects for restaurants and the biggest problem was the lack of knowledge on their side to describe me what they actually need. But this was like an agency project not a startup.

  8. 1

    100% agree on both... especially the PM tool... I've been a PM for over 15 years and have used pretty much every PM tool out there and find they are all nothing but a complete waste of time and money... always end up back in excel...lol