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How to start small when your application relies on a network?

Hello, I am working on a platform that matches people who need help to people that can offer help. One main feature is matching. I'm not sure how I can get our first users if the number of helpers aren't signed up yet. It's like chicken/egg problem. We can get people who offer help signed up, but what do they do on our platform while no one needs help? Or should we release our application and whole both helpers and people who need help sign up in a simultaneous manner?


3 Replies

Michael Brill
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Michael Brill Entrepreneur
Technology startup exec focused on AI-driven products
Hey Michael, type in "chicken and egg" on the search bar on the top of this page and you'll see a few really good threads already on this topic. There are several approaches but the punchline is that you need to provide value to one side of the network and build that up first.
Ema Chuku
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Ema Chuku Entrepreneur
Designer. Product Developer. Founder @ NuPad
Anyone question is ok, but it pays to do a little research before asking or atleast ask a detailed one. Go to google and type in chicken-egg startup. There are hundreds of articles and discussions on that issue.

In your case, it doesn't look like you have your biz-idea polished since you are asking for ideas on what users will be doing on your platform.

Here's my 2 cents, pick a small area, I'm assuming you know a bit on the solutions to the problems other users might need, so have a network of friends or people you know who can atleast satisfy some of the needs signed up and start participating. Disregard the time it will take to meet a need since your goal is to make sure a need is solved (satisfied need = word of mouth spread). From there, start reaching out to other end users (needs-satisfiers) and start recruiting them, vice versa.

Hint: before Uber drivers network grew, the founders were actually giving rides themselves.
Neil Licht - HereWeAre
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Want To find-close Business Online without competition Before They Google Search? We solve this problem 1(508)-481-8567
Re you thinking you have a needs-supplier/resource matchmaker platform that can be marketed and make money for you from the offerer and or the searcher - Please Consider these "reality checks and efforts needed" before you even think of realising the product:

  • I can Google for nearly anything or service i might need so why is a Matchmaker app such as yours worthwhile let alone worth paying for? Whats different that could lead folks to pay for your app
  • Did you do some "ideal prospect" type research on this idea? If you did, you should have found a need and with it many target audiences that could logically use an app like yours that you could go directly to re capturing sellers/buyers and of course folks who might willingly pay for your matchmaking platform service.
  • You need to find where these ideal prospects are say-home owners and landscapers for instance as an example and then announce your app to these folks.
Apps dont get found easily so the marketing side I suggested needs to identify ideal target audiences, whatthey care about as in services and the like then get your new app into the places they go for information, conversation, where they discuss services needed, or how to find likely prospects for services they offer, the issues that your matching service can resolve for them.

Then join in with your app as an idea for resolving what theses ideal prospects are discussing.

Thats work upfront but its work that will get you the path to proactively marketing your new app.

BTW, how do you know anyone would pay you as the matchmaker? Where's your evidence that they would and if so, why, how much?
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