#138 – Businesses I HATE with Jim Flannery – bar apps and bachelorette parties

Show notes from Episode #138 of the Sweaty Startup Podcast.

In the first podcast of this series, Jim and Nick touched on the difficulty in passion projects but also the opportunity that lies with them, specifically around online coaching. Now, they discuss the classic venture pitch–”I have an app to fix [problem]”. Whether bachelorette parties organization or getting a drink at the bar, there are pain points that are yet unsolved, but are they worth a venture?

One of a Million

In his work at University of Georgia, Jim sees plenty of repeating popular ideas in his business planning courses and accelerator programs. One that he hears particularly often is offering a service and/or app to help plan bachelorette parties. Bachelorette parties provide all the pain points in getting together a diverse group of people–scheduling, communication, coordination, payment, etc. On its face, these seem small and inconsequential, but they can become problematic. For example, one frequent problem is going over budget and one person coming up short on their end of the bill, typically sticking it with the organizer.

This falls into the trope of trying to offer an app or service that provides a silver bullet solution to a common problem. Nick likens this to the inefficient and unenjoyable process of getting a drink at a busy bar, and brainstorms solutions that have been well-tried.


  • Bachelorette parties are easy to target
    • Until the wedding industry as a whole declines, the problem in organizing these parties will be constant and universal.
      • People tend to make their engagements and upcoming weddings very public.
    • You can establish connections with the whole industry of wedding services (photographers, caterers, venues, etc.) and they can refer clients to your service.
  • These parties are willing to pay
    • Bachelorette parties can be expensive, and if people are cumulatively spending thousands of dollars on one, they won’t bat an eye at paying for a service that will make the experience seamless.
    • As a similar concept, Jim talks about how he’s part of a date planning service with his wife, where he pays a flat fee for a date and all planning and logistics is handled for them. While he’s sure he’s paying a premium over if he would plan them himself, he says it’s worth it for the convenience.
  • Marketing is viral
    • If you’re in a wedding party that uses the app or service, you’ll be recommending it for every other wedding party that you find yourself in. Word of mouth spreads your service exponentially.

Landing on Success

  • Limit unfamiliarities
    • Only a few things about your service should be innovative or game-changing.
      • Thinking about Netflix or Spotify, the innovation is in a subscription-based streaming model, but there’s nothing unique or ground breaking in consuming music and movies.
    • The pain in planning bachelorette parties isn’t a novel idea, this is a problem people have had for decades.
      • Consider the small simplification you can provide, like Venmo did with splitting payments, rather than a silver bullet technique of managing the whole party process.
  • Any idea you have, there should be somebody already doing it. That’s your market research.
    • Very rarely does the first attempt at solving a problem succeed.
  • Think about what the person paying you wants.
    • In a bachelorette party, this may be the Maid of Honor. If you’re organizing an app or service for a bar, this is the bar owner.
    • Too many people think about consumers that are benefitting from the service but not the ones paying for it.
  • Don’t assume rationality, and don’t assume you know what people want.
    • A bartender’s primary goal may be to spend more time with their family or to cut operating expenses, and offering to increase revenue won’t be helpful there.
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About Me

I started the Sweaty Startup in December of 2018 because I believe the Shark Tank and Tech Crunch culture is ruining the real spirit of low-risk entrepreneurship.