Choosing between complex or simple business ideas


Having spent the last 2 years plotting business ideas and dreaming of the day I would resign I have finally given notice and am preparing to begin pursuing my dreams.

However I have reached an impasse with regards to which of my 10 or so business ideas to pursue.

Fundamentally looking at my ideas they seem to boil down to one of two categories.

  1. Ideas that meet a very specific niche and would require significant investment from competitors to enter the market but will take a significant software development effort on my part to implement; however these ideas seem to have the potential to grow to very large sizes and compete in very large markets that are usually willing to pay allot (ie: business customers).
  2. Ideas that have a much broader market appeal, can be implemented in short spaces of time but do not have a large barrier to entry from competitors and possibly no great or obvious monetization path (ie: public consumers).

My background is very much in the engineering side of things so my tendency is to want to create a piece of software that would be interesting to design and develop but the other side of me says that if I can build something quickly I can quickly see the results (or lack thereof) and move on if need be or potentially build multiple 'things' at the same time.

So what is generally the recommended path when considering such plans? Any input would be sincerely appreciated.

Software Business Model Market Analysis

asked Jan 30 '13 at 14:48
Maxim Gershkovich
234 points
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  • It depends on a variety of factors, which would differ from person to person, and for the same person, vary from situation to situation - like employment status, financial health, time on hand..., and would also vary depending on the various ideas available. Don't think it is a question that can be adequately answered without more information – Elssar 10 years ago
  • Apparently too late, but you should maybe have narrowed that list down a bit before quitting your job... – Joe Baker 10 years ago
  • @JoeBaker Please see post below! :-) – Maxim Gershkovich 10 years ago
  • Aha, scrolling is hard apparently. ;) – Joe Baker 10 years ago
  • The question is IMHO nonsensical. A business idea cannot be judge on whether it's 'complex' or 'simple'; that data simply does not support concluding on the question. Get *hard facts* on each business idea, using tools like the business model canvas, competitor research, etc. Also look at your own feelings and motivation. – Jesper Mortensen 10 years ago

2 Answers


I have a few suggestions for choosing an idea:

  • Sell to businesses, it's easier to get their money than consumers.
  • Choose something that you can launch a MVP quickly. How quickly depends on how much runway you have (time to survive before you run out of money).
  • Niche's are good, bigger markets have more competitors and are much harder to succeed in. Most niches are pretty big anyway compared to how many customers you need to succeed (ie. a SaaS app might only need 200 customers to be quite profitable).

With all of that said, it's concerning that you have already given notice and haven't even chosen an idea yet. It's very unlikely you have 10 amazing ideas that are going to succeed, really if one of them is great it should stand out or you should be passionate about it.

I just don't see any reason to have not chosen the idea first, it's not like you couldn't choose an idea while still working. What is holding you back? It might be something that needs to be dealt with.

answered Jan 30 '13 at 16:47
Joel Friedlaender
5,007 points
  • I agree with you that all things being equal, a B2B business makes more sense to start than a consumer product. But not all things are equal, especially not entrepreneurs. So that's why in this case I recommended building entrepreneurial experience fast and first. – Frenchie 10 years ago
  • Lol, I knew everyone was going to jump on me for quitting before I had picked an idea but what you need to understand was that I was going to continue to make excuses and end up being ‘That guy who spent his life talking about this or that business without ever actually doing anything about it.’ Its too easy to sit on a high income position (even if you’re miserable) and its nearly impossible to make any real decisions until you sit down and really invest some time into it (something I didn’t have the luxury of doing until now). Now I am forced to act! PS: I should also mention that I am 27yo – Maxim Gershkovich 10 years ago
  • PSS: Also I am definitely passionate about some of these ideas more than others but that makes it easier to be plagued by indecision, particularly when your startup ideas haven’t grown organically (which would obviously have been ideal) – Maxim Gershkovich 10 years ago
  • @MaximGershkovich I can understand needing real pressure to get something happening, that's how it worked for me. Only when I quit my job did I progress anything, but I did have a viable idea first. Just remember that making a bad decision on which idea to do could still end up as a successful business, but making no decision will certainly lead to failure. Choose one, start building. – Joel Friedlaender 10 years ago
  • @JoelFriedlaender Thank you Joel, many of your posts on this site have a been a source of inspiration to me. Its nice to see a fellow Melbournian doing well for himself with what looks like a very high quality product! 'Choose one, start building.' - I'm on to it!!! :-) – Maxim Gershkovich 10 years ago
  • @MaximGershkovich thanks Maxim. Good luck with it! – Joel Friedlaender 10 years ago


I would recommend you consider the idea that's quick to develop. I've learned that we each have our own and unique limits and that it's through experience, and particularly failure, that we become aware of them, and then fix them.

So since the odds are that you're going to fail at your first entrepreneurial venture, might as well fail fast and learn quick. And if instead you succeed, you'll have built a runway of cash and time to develop the idea that's longer to develop into an business.

answered Jan 30 '13 at 17:07
4,166 points
  • Almost exactly along the lines of my thinking, sincerely thank you for your input. – Maxim Gershkovich 10 years ago
  • I hate the fail fast and learn quick idea. I would focus much more on succeeding than thinking failure is not a bad result either. What do you learn from failing? You learn what not to do, not necessarily what you should do. – Joel Friedlaender 10 years ago
  • Of course failing isn't a desirable outcome but sometimes it happens. And then you build experience. I think in light of the question asked, getting experience seemed appropriate. And then may be it can also be a success, that's always an option too. – Frenchie 10 years ago

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