So I wanted to start a marketplace where businesses like restaurants or cafes or bakeries can sell off unused or old machines/equipment they no longer use. Would it make sense to be so niche or should I just be a marketplace where businesses can sell whatever unused/old inventory they have? Like unsold clothes?
Good question. Which idea makes more sense? You could organize a survey to be distributed to a small group of people that represent your potential clients. See where the demand is and make your decision on that. The less-niche approach sounds sort of like Craigslist, which might be hard to compete with. For that reason, I'd probably go with the first idea. But you may want to survey your audience first.
This is a good idea. I think it’s great to have variety based on what you’re trying to do. Definitely would sound like a site people can sign up on and list their unsold items and with the right SEO you can attract these people and sell them memberships.
First, let me say I think you have a good idea. I think starting out, you should focus on niche. Considering your idea, the riche market you're going after seems to be quite broad (think of all the bakeries/cafes etc. you can find in just one major city).
By going niche, you can quickly become the "go-to" expert in the field. This will help with word of mouth advertising, referrals and especially Google.
Once you've mastered that model, you can consider branching out (including more categories) or duplicating the model for another niche.
If you go broad, you'll be competing with Craigslist, Amazon, Facebook, and a variety of other "generic competitors.
Great idea - good luck with it!
It's easier to build out than retrench. It this isn't your first startup you already know how hard it is to get off the ground. If this is your first, I suggest beginning with a narrow scope to hone your messaging, delivery, get more direct feedback for market research and tweaks. Scale up with food service equipment first. Then it's simple to add another specific product category later. Get the first niche successful and ticking along, then branch out. You'll have profit from the first niche to invest in expansion and you'll know the precise steps to take for great success. You'll also have testimonials and existing customers to recommend you.
Feel free to reach out if you'd like to talk about the benefits of leveraging the success of beginning small rather than with a wider audience and never really knowing why it (perhaps) didn't work. At the beginning you test, test, tweak, and test some more. The narrower the niche the easier it is to get the right answer.
A business ideal with a good cause!
Either niche or a general marketplace depends on many factors:
1. how much money you have or can raise.
2. the management team's capabilities & networks
3. the outcome of the product-market fitness test
4. the level of operating challenges in handling the old items
5. Make a choice between going straight to build a business or split some resources to keep the company survive while slow down the building of the business.
6. The business environment that worth to consider
The points above not exhaustive, but relatively important to help you to answer your question.