A friend recently spoke to me about an idea from helping clients work out tedious real estate issues. He worked with several clients who had poor management of a particular aspect of the business. Most of the work was done painstakingly in Excel, if any process was instilled. 
Like any idea, there are several risks. However, we talked about early mitigations:
  • Risk: As a standalone tool for a single “client”, usage would be infrequent. For one client, the problem occurs every several weeks. Mitigation: The target customer is an entity that manages several clients. This enables more frequency of the problem and exponentially increasing the pain. Thus, the benefit, too, exponentially increases.
  • Risk: Explicit pain could be felt with management of several spreadsheets. However, quantifying the impact of pain could be difficult. Mitigation: Benefits start with both monetary and legal exposure. As added bonus, there was a time-saving component. Stick to benefits that get closer to the wallet.
  • Risk: Is this a big enough opportunity? Are there competitors/ monetized solutions today? Mitigation: My friend had a colleague who left his company to start his own – similar services for clients. Meanwhile, my friend’s clients are large institutions and just a few of the large firms in Atlanta. Additionally, macro-economic environment points to a growing trend.
  • Risk: Introduction of a new solution to companies/ employees – adoption. Mitigation: the pain seems explicit and with good benefit potential. Many of my friend’s current clients are using incumbent solutions (i.e. spreadsheets). This also could enable an “import” process addressing empty-state issues.

A good early step is doing customer discovery. While doing so, ask prospects to agree to pilots of an MVP.