I've talked to a couple of people experienced in the recruitment industry and it appears that the contractor buddy business idea has some fatal flaws and is unlikely to succeed.
You might be surprised to hear that I consider this a success on my journey to startup success.
- I've had a business idea (not an easy thing to do!) which is more realistic than many of my previous ideas showing that my ability to spot such opportunities is improving. (It has a clear revenue model and its fairly easy to see how it could be built.)
- I've not become too attached to it to hear valid criticism.
- By putting it out there and discussing it openly with anyone willing to help me out I've rapidly found the flaws in it without wasting valuable time or money. (Imaging if I spent two years building it to then have the same flaws sink it.)
- I've managed to find contacts from a broad range of backgrounds who have helped me to crystallize my idea - this is entirely thanks to spending time at the fabulous co-working and startup community space grow@greenpark.
So what sank it?
- Even though the company would not be inserted into the financial transaction, they would still need to be a communication relay between employer/agent and candidate, and the received opinion is that this just won't fly.
- The number of contractors who could find this useful could be small, with the highly in-demand people not having to put in much work to get the next contract (therefore not gaining much value from the service), and the the not-in-demand contractors are not a market the business would want to be primarily associated with as it could become a by-word for low-quality talent. This leaves the middle ground which may not be enough of a market to support the business. Before I'd talked to anyone I'd assumed that all contractors would want this (based on sample size of one - me).
The investment required to prove/disprove these suppositions would be significant, as I think you'd basically have to build the functioning business to see what happens in reality. So on that basis, "I'm out!"
So what now?
Well there's my Sql Data Viewer that I haven't given up on (check it out, let me know what you think and join the mailing list).
There's also the possibility of a pivot. Maybe there's room for something to help contractors without getting in the middle? Maybe it could send mail using their real email address and handle responses? Maybe there's already something like that out there and I should just use it instead of trying to invent my own! Let me know in the comments if you know of anything or already have ways to ease the pain.
Thanks for listening.