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Should I pause product building and do market testing while I've started building out the product? (More to this)

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p31

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Hello everyone, I don't know if this is the right thread but I thought I'd try posting here - I'll move it to a more correct section if you suggest me to.

I have some questions that I really need some answers for. I'm a wantrepreneur trying hard to start something, after 4 years of "hiatus" and living the scripted life (building out career, salary, financial due deligence, changed jobs, helping out family, etc).

Thanks in advance! :)

Setting:
  • Building out a hyper-local niched delivery platform to put restaurant owners first, for my hometown.
  • Due to insane commission these companies take, I know there's a pain point.
  • I know competitors exist due to my research, and I also know there are other hyper-local players in other states in the US.
  • So I started developing the product, but now I've come to a point where I can't decide how to make the UX flow - I need more input.
  • I'm super shy (heavy introvert), and scared others would run over me or I'll tank my social circle if I ask for help.
  • I know rampant building without market demand research is recipe for failure.
  • I'm a software engineer, who joined a startup wearing many hats so I know somewhat of marketing, billing, customer support work.
  • My financial goal on this project is not huge. Enough to pay living expenses. Later on I plan deploy to other cities, and scale that way, via E-Myth Revisited methodologies.
Question:
  • Should I make a landing page and direct traffic to it via buying some focused Google/ Facebook Ads, like MJ suggested (and many others, namely Rob Walling of "Start Small, Stay Small")? Even though I know that there is a huge gap, competitors exist, and it's a proven model in other parts of the states?
    • I'm afraid my momentum in building out the product will tank if I pivot my focus.
    • I don't know how to make a compelling landing page.
    • I am uncertain if that is the best way to go. Maybe I should ask around local restaurant owners rather than spending ads. Which is my next question..
    • I feel worried if I'm being gullible again, when I should trust my instinct and keep maintaining the product building momentum.
  • If I should actually ask the restaurant owners, then how should I approach these stressed out souls amidst the pandemic?
    • I am afraid I might ruin their day by being that annoying customer, like yet another sales person peddling yet another restaurant software - which I realized this industry is inundated with
    • I suck at talking to people
    • There's a pandemic going on. What if I catch COVID...
  • Analysis paralysis is eating me alive. How can I go past this?
    • 5 years past since I read Millionaire Fastlane, which triggered me to go down this path.
    • Two failed launches of businesses, mostly because I got scared to spending money (~$1000's on a low salary junior developer)
    • 1 year past since I first read Unscripted, and I just re-listened recently
    • Not to mention countless other books, videos, courses I bought
    • Finally I am making some momentum building out this product every night. I changed my job (left that startup) to save some mental resource for me, to a job that pays a bit more, and works a bit less.
    • When I walk, I get panic attacks that I'll just end up dreaming about starting businesses until I reach past my prime age.
 

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MJ DeMarco

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Building out a hyper-local niched delivery platform to put restaurant owners first, for my hometown.

Sounds like a HUGE project for someone going it alone -- and as a first project.

Are you in the US?

Why this particular market which seems quite saturated?

Is your value skew only that your service would be better for restaurants?
 

Einfamilienhaus

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Market Research First, Product Building Second.

Always try to keep in your mind: It is not about the product you like. It is about the product others feel comfortable and necessary to use it.

The earlier your users start to interact with your product, the better is your output later.

About your other personal points of being shy, having panic attacks and so on...to feel pain as an entrepreneur in a not life threatening way is a positive feeling. It shows you that you are about to reach your personal limit. If you want to be successful you have to learn to overcome this limit.

Don't worry about looking good. Be more worry about your results. This is the only thing matters when it is about your goal.
 

Andy Black

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Get some market feedback asap. And some quick wins.

The market doesn’t pay for activity.

Maybe this might help:
 

p31

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Sounds like a HUGE project for someone going it alone -- and as a first project.

Are you in the US?

Why this particular market which seems quite saturated?

Is your value skew only that your service would be better for restaurants?
Woah I gotta say it's a bit weird (but in an awesome way) interacting with the actual author haha!

Yup I'm in the US. Southern California.

And yes, there are multiple big players operating at the national level.
However, some observations led me to believe there's still a chance for me to carve out some pie:
  • what I observed (reddit/r/restaurateur, and some key articles lately) is that there's a subset of restaurant owners who want something else instead of a cookie cutter approach of managing delivery on top of exorbitant service charges nearing 30% (marketing fees being the so-called reason for it)
  • Me personally don't like text-only menus - I want pictures of what I am buying!
  • I found 3, 4 companies that do it like this - one of those uses outdated .NET/ASP tech in the Southern California region for 25 years and still going strong. One operates in the Iowa area.
  • There's also another successful cookie company operating in just two cities up in Northern California, where they built out their own delivery platform. They are successful. (This was the impulse for me to try)
  • Family friend works at a local restaurant using 4 different delivery platforms, who shared an incident: after constant barrage of phone orders, pings from tablets - the manager/owner just pulled the plug on all of them. That got me thinking. There's a max cap of order processing per time unit. Why not enforce that on orders, and that way introduce scarcity as selling point? Like in thirty minute time frame - you know maximum output. Realtime countdown of the "order train" during that time range (the cookie company's delivery platform does this).
Lastly, technology changed in the last 7 years. Elixir/Phoenix happened.

There's this new programming + framework making headway in circles that aspire for craftsmanship-worthy web product development. It started as extension of how to make Ruby efficient, and then the creator tapped in a 30 year old language that supports massively concurrent phone dispatching called Erlang, under background of Ericsson.

Elixir can make maintainable code that is far more scalable than any other technology out there, using less resources. Less code, less dependencies. That's why I was learning Elixir by creating something for myself - and I chose the delivery problem, because it involves real-time processing, which Elixir / Phoenix(web framework for Elixir) is really good at. WhatsApp is built on top of Erlang, and also Discord (Elixir).

Paul Graham once attributed Lisp as such a game changer for his success in his early startup, and I believe Elixir will be too.

Also one more thing - @MJ DeMarco - is saturation something we should consider? Isn't competition good? At which point should we factor in and say this is actually way too saturated and not a good market to be in?
 

p31

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Market Research First, Product Building Second.

Always try to keep in your mind: It is not about the product you like. It is about the product others feel comfortable and necessary to use it.

The earlier your users start to interact with your product, the better is your output later.

About your other personal points of being shy, having panic attacks and so on...to feel pain as an entrepreneur in a not life threatening way is a positive feeling. It shows you that you are about to reach your personal limit. If you want to be successful you have to learn to overcome this limit.

Don't worry about looking good. Be more worry about your results. This is the only thing matters when it is about your goal.
Thank you. Appreciate it. I might have to pause then and evaluate.. sigh the thing is I don't really know how to market research. Do I go and ask the restaurant owners? Just straight up go and ask?

My goal was to finish a prototype by end of the year. Perhaps I can do market research then? Would that be too late? I know that the product might not be what customers want, but I can't just stop working on the project, and have yet another project I didn't finish.
 

p31

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Get some market feedback asap. And some quick wins.

The market doesn’t pay for activity.

Maybe this might help:
Thank you.
What are some examples of quick wins? Sorry my brain just works better on examples.

I'll definitely read the post! Thanks for it.
 

Andy Black

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Einfamilienhaus

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Thank you. Appreciate it. I might have to pause then and evaluate.. sigh the thing is I don't really know how to market research. Do I go and ask the restaurant owners? Just straight up go and ask?

My goal was to finish a prototype by end of the year. Perhaps I can do market research then? Would that be too late? I know that the product might not be what customers want, but I can't just stop working on the project, and have yet another project I didn't finish.

I would recommend you to develop a lean product with the core functions and to offer it for your target group for free. And from this point to see where it goes.

Unfortunately I don't have much insights into your idea what kind of product you want to offer especially. Different target groups are hiding between different bushes. If you know what I mean.
 

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