In a previous post, we discussed how to identify your target audience. Closely related to the subject is finding your business niche. Finding your niche is all about finding what makes your product unique, great, special.
First, think about your definition of a successful business. Is it one that makes a lot of money? Has a lot of repeat customers? Does a lot of good for the community? The answer is probably “All three”. To be a success as a niche business, you usually have to provide something where there is nothing. In other words, you notice a need that isn’t being met by any other competitors (or by very few). And this becomes your niche.
You may think that finding your niche is all about starting small. However, that’s not always the case. To find your niche, start with the big question:
- What do I do? Are you developing an online business? Narrow it down further. Suppose you wanted to get into web design. Great! Your business is web design.
Now, you may have noticed that there are a lot of web design businesses out there. And we mean a lot. What you do next? You figure out
2. What makes me unique? You can, of course, try to be all things to all people. For small businesses, this can backfire. You may need to heavily research your major area – in this case, web design – to find out where there is an opportunity. So think about what makes your web design business different than others. Perhaps you choose to specialize in creating websites for the medical supply industry, where you formerly worked. Good! That’s going to help you narrow down your niche even further. Add in positive service aspects like timely delivery, good customer service, and other things that will be attractive to potential clients, and you’re well on your way.
A word of caution here. Don’t confuse what makes you unique in terms of talent or personality with your business. Don’t tell yourself, I’m going to create web design business that specializes in postmodern design elements or My web design business is all about my personal artistic vision. This is that not what we mean when we talk about finding your niche. By all means, develop your own design style (or whatever the equivalent is for your business). But when you think about what makes you unique, think about it from your customer’s perspective, not from your own. Often, developing a niche goes hand-in-hand with identifying your target audience.
3. Have a plan. So you’ve seen an area of your local commerce that’s underserved. And you have the skills to fill it. And you know what makes you different from any competitors. Next, you need a plan that pulls everything together. Very few people consider writing a business plan a smashing good weekend of fun, but putting your goals and a timeline down on paper – along with what you, after adequate research, think you’ll need to do to meet them – will help you stay on track in finding and filling your business niche.
Does your startup have a small marketing budget? Read this post for cost-effective marketing ideas!
If you haven’t already, be sure to read our post on finding your target audience. And check back with us often, as we continue to talk about topics – IT- related and not – that are relevant for small businesses.
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