When you’re starting a business, one of the key steps is to figure out who your target market is. Whether it’s made up of consumers or businesses (as in B2B), no market is all-encompassing. That is, no business can be all things to all people. It’s important, as a potential business owner, that you define your market narrowly and specifically. This is called creating a niche, and is the key to success for all businesses, even big ones.
“Many people talk about ‘finding’ a niche as if it were […] ready-made. That’s nonsense,” The Niche Doctor, Lynda Falkenstein, says. A niche isn’t found; it’s created. Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of going “all over the map” and claiming they can be good at many things. These owners quickly learn that in business, smaller is bigger – and smaller means being highly focused.
You have to carefully craft your niche in order to succeed. Falkenstein shares her process for doing so:
Decide with whom exactly you want to do business, and be specific when you do. Identify the geographic location, gender, age range and type of customers you want to target. This way, you know with whom to make contact.
As mentioned, smaller is bigger, so clarify what you intend to sell. This process begins with assessing your own skills, achievements, lessons you’ve learned, and patterns that define your style. Your niche should arise organically from your own interests and experience.
Look at the world from their perspective, and you’ll be able to identify what they want from you. Of course, the best way to do this is by communicating with consumers themselves.
At this point, your niche should take shape as your ideas and the customers’ wants and needs combine. A good niche should conform to your long-term vision, be attractive to customers, be carefully planned, be one-of-a-kind, and evolve despite retaining your core business.
Now you can look beyond your market – you can assess your product or service to see if it actually fits the niche you want. If it doesn’t, modify the niche rather than the product – scrap ideas, and switch to better ones.
Once you’ve made a niche-product match, test-market what you have to offer. Provide product samples, or have people try out a recommended service. This shouldn’t cost you too much – as Falkenstein says, “If you spend huge amounts of money on the initial market test, you’re doing something wrong.”
For many entrepreneurs, implementing the idea is the hardest part. But if you did your homework and finished the previous steps effectively, entering the market won’t be a gamble – it’ll be a calculated risk, one you’re prepared for and that’s more likely to have good results.
Why not set up your own online shop to provide products and services to a niche market. Maximize the power of online and set up your online store with myWebsite!
Get access to all our exclusive member-only content