I recently got some interest for micro-ISV projects (micro independent software vendor). These are small products/startups that require minimal time and financial investment, and generate small but steady revenue. The idea is that I would not build it myself, I would outsource it so that I can focus on other things than code. The time investment I am aiming at is around 4-6 hours per week. I am now researching niche markets in an attempt to create my first micro-ISV.
The paths followed by successful micro-ISVs have similarities, as they all include testing the market before doing anything else. Testing can take various forms, it can be a sales website, a prototype, or even a shadow product (faking the product and doing the computer’s work by hand before spending time actually coding the product). I recently had a couple of ideas for micro-ISVs and I wanted to test them before building anything, instead of wasting time coding something nobody wants. So here is at the story of how I tested and rejected two niche markets using online surveys. Please note that I am not explaining how I designed the surveys, but just what was the process of using surveys as a way to test niche markets. I will cover survey design in a future article.